The WB is celebrating 10 years on the air this season. Next season, one of its shows will be able to do the same.

The network has picked up a 10th season of “7th Heaven,” the longest-running show in The WB’s history and its most reliable ratings performer. The WB says the pickup will make the show the longest-running family drama in television history, surpassing the nine seasons for “The Waltons” and “Little House on the Prairie.”

There’s room for quibbling there. One could argue, for instance, that “Bonanza,” which spanned 14 seasons and more than 400 episodes, was a family drama. And “The Waltons” aired 221 episodes over its nine seasons, a number “7th Heaven” won’t pass until near the end of its 10th year.

Still, 10 years is an impressive accomplishment for any series. Of all the scripted series currently on the six broadcast nets, only four – “The Simpsons,” “Law & Order,” “NYPD Blue” and “JAG” – have enjoyed longer runs. (Several newsmagazine shows have been on for longer as well.)

“This is a great day for everyone involved with this historic series, especially the loyal fans that have made this appointment television on Monday nights for almost a decade,” says David Janollari, president of WB Entertainment. “The longevity and consistent quality of “7th Heaven’ is a testament to the commitment to excellence of Aaron Spelling, Duke Vincent, series creator Brenda Hampton and a fabulous ensemble cast led by Stephen Collins.”

Collins, who plays the Rev. Eric Camden on the show, says a day rarely goes by when someone doesn’t tell him what the show means to families.

“They also tell me we make them laugh and cry,” he says. “It’s a gift to work on this show, and to know that we’ll break a record or two is the icing on the cake.”

As it has been for much of its life, “7th Heaven” is The WB’s most-watched show this season, drawing just under 6 million viewers per week.

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