Although cable TV has been around since 1948, the first network cable station started in 1976 with Ted Turner’s TBS. Since then the cable stations have numbered in the hundreds. Listed below you will find ten of the most popular cable TV shows of all time.
- The Real World. Known as the first reality show, MTV started this series in 1992. The show puts a group of strangers in close living quarters where they live, work and eat together. This was America’s first glimpse in reality voyeurism and led the nation in their quest for reality shows.
- American Idol. Airing for the first time in 2002, American Idol has spun off into other shows in other countries. This reality based singing competition has captivated audiences and allowed for interaction by allowing the viewing public to vote for the winner.
- Larry King Live. Known for his suspenders and get to the point questions, Larry King has been on CNN for over 20 years. He has interviewed just about everyone on his show and even introduced Ross Perot’s candidacy for president in 1992. Public figures know that they have made it big when Larry King wants to interview them.
- SpongeBob SquarePants. Around since 1999, SpongeBob has appeared in the top 40 watched list almost every week since. The title character’s underwater sea adventures have been turned into full feature movies and merchandised enough that just about everyone from ages 2 and up can recite the theme song.
- The Simpsons. Popular because of the satire geared toward working class America, the show was originally created as a series of animated shorts appearing on the Tracy Ullman Show. The Simpsons was turned into a half hour prime time show for FOX in 1989 and has now surpassed Gunsmoke as the longest running series.
- The Sopranos. Known as one of the greatest series of all time, The Sopranos is also one of the most lucrative cable shows of all time. Centered around mob boss Tony Soprano and his conflictions between running the mafia and running his family, the show has won twenty one Emmys and five Golden Globes.
- SportsCenter. Known for its highlight reel and being a one stop shop for sports news, SportsCenter was originally a daily show for ESPN. Now shown up to twelve times a day it features scores and highlights from a variety of major sporting events along with commentary and previews.
- The X –Files. This science fiction hit on FOX ran from 1993 to 2002 and captivated audiences with both its characters and slogans. This show is known for grabbing its audience with its mistrust of government and embracing conspiracy theories while trying to prove the existence of extraterrestrial life.
- Monk. Debuting in 2002, Monk has been credited with increasing the USA channel’s popularity. This detective drama follows the lead character with his OCD compulsions and phobias as he tries to uncover information on his wife’s death, the one case he has been unable to solve.
- Malcolm in the Middle. Another popular FOX show, Malcolm in the Middle ran for seven years. The series started out by focusing on the lead character whose superior intelligence led to mocking by his peers. After the first year the show branched out to focus on the rest of the family as well.
With all the different cable networks out there just about everyone’s hobby or muse has been captured in one of the shows available. If you haven’t had the chance to view one of these shows check your local listings for new episodes or reruns to catch up so you are up to date with the latest water cooler talk of popular cable TV shows.
Taken From Cable TV Providers