60 Minutes (CBS)
Age: 45 seasons, the longest-running prime time broadcast series.
Senior Power: Averaging 14 million viewers, the news magazine has finished among the week’s Top 10 most-watched programs six times this season, and its 18-49 ratings are strong too.
Survival Secret: Some news organizations mix reporting and partisanship, or seek splashy new ways to deliver bite-sized info. 60 Minutes garners big ratings decade after decade with a simple format that’s as unusual today as it was when the show launched: Lengthy well-researched segments on compelling news topics by reporters who are unafraid to assign blame for a problem if such a conclusion is supported by the facts.
Life Expectancy: CBS owns the program, which routinely refreshes its lineup with new reporting talent. Ratings are strong (and what other series could thrive at 7 p.m. on a Sunday?). Expect 60 Minutes to outlive most of its audience.
Runners-up: The more tabloid-driven 20/20 on ABC (34 seasons) and Dateline (20 seasons) on NBC.