TOTALLY OFF-MESSAGE FRIDAY AFTERNOON POST. Some of my old New York friends and I have gotten into a discussion about the most popular television shows of all time. I made the case for The Flintstones. Hear me out.

Fred & Crew debuted in 1960 as a prime-time sitcom -- the first prime-time cartoon in TV history. It ran for six seasons on ABC, with 166 episodes produced. Since then, it has never been off the air. Ever. In fact, Rick discovered with some quick Googling that the Bedrock gang is on television in 80 different countries in 22 languages. Every single second of every single day, somewhere in the world, The Flintstones is airing.

Rick countered with I Love Lucy, and I confess that he may well have a point. Lucy debuted in October 1951 and, according to Rick�s research on the TV Land Web site, it has never been off the air since then.

But I wonder: Is Lucy on every second of every day? I kinda doubt it. So I think I�m on reasonably solid ground, although the nine years� head start is obviously formidable.

So, what think you? I don�t know how these things are measured (or if they can be). If I had to guess the five most popular TV shows of all time, I�d stick to my guns and say: 1. The Flintstones; 2. I Love Lucy; 3. The Honeymooners; 4. The Andy Griffith Show; and 5. M*A*S*H. Discuss.

--Michael Tomasky