Don Draper's been away for 17 months, but he's got nothing on Basil Fawlty
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"Doctor Who" (16 years)
"Doctor Who": The BBC brought the initial incarnation of the beloved sci-fi series to a close in December of 1989. If you don't count FOX's attempt to revive the property with a TV-movie that would have become a series with better ratings, then the show was off the air for 16 years before "Queer as Folk" creator Russell T. Davies was given the keys to the TARDIS and hired Christopher Eccleston as the new Doctor. It's not a remake, as all of the Doctor's previous adventures — including, yes, the FOX movie — have been acknowledged as being part of this character's past.