Soap operas are there for fans to live vicariously through the characters. The plots are complex and dramatic – more dramatic than one could ever imagine. They are fabulous and fantastic, and add a lot of enjoyment to one’s day. In fact, soap operas are broadcast all over the world and draw in millions of viewers, who take their favorite character’s lives very seriously.
In this list, we cover the top soap operas of all time, loved by viewers generation after generation. It is thanks to these soap operas that mothers and daughters (and even fathers and sons sometimes) bond, and families gather over many family meals to watch. These are the soap operas that fill up our lives. Here is the list:
Emmerdale is a British soap opera. The lives of the people within this soapie take place in Emmerdale, which is a fictional town in the Yorkshire Dales. The soapie was also known as Emmerdale Farm from 1972 until 1989. It aired in 1972 and is currently available in America through the BritBox streaming service.
The cast includes Danny Miller, Lucy Pargeter, Emma Atkins, Matthew Wolfenden, Claire King, Samantha Giles, Roxy Shahidi, Michelle Hardwick, Fiona Wade, and Andrew Scarborough, among others. The creator of the show, Kevin Laffan, was amazed by farm life, and wanted to explore stories surrounding that. The show was a bit slow in the beginning but has become more glamorous and dramatic since. It has even had a viewership of 18 million at one point.
39. Bright Promise
NBC’s Bright Promise ran from the 29th of September, 1969, until the 31st of March, 1972. The cast included Dana Andrews, Susan Brown, Gail Kobe, Anthony Geary, Dabney Coleman, Sherry Alberoni, Coleen Gray, Mark Miller, and more. It was about the students and teachers of a fictional college called Bancroft College.
The main character of the show was the president of the college, played by actor Dana Andrews. It centered also around the Jones and Pierce families. Sandra Jones had become the main character, who got married to a Pierce after college. The soapie was created by the same team that had created the massively successful General Hospital – Frank and Doris Hursley. They retired after creating this. It was an interesting soap opera as it concentrated on the youth, the “bright promise of tomorrow.”
38. From These Roots
NBC’s From These Roots aired from the 30th of June, 1958, until the 29th of December, 1961. The cast included Ann Flood, Robert Mandan, Julie Bovasso, Joseph Mascolo, Audra Lindley, and more. The show centered around Liz Fraser Allen, who was an accomplished writer, and had to return home to run her family’s newspaper. The reason for this being medical reasons – her father had suffered a heart attack, and therefore she had to step in.
The family included her brother Ben, who worked on the family farm, married to the lovely Italian Rose Corelli. Together they had three children. There were many famous actors on the show, but it was eventually cancelled as it did not do very well with viewers. At the end, all storylines ended happily.
37. Love Is A Many Splendored Thing
CBS’s Love Is A Many Splendored Thing was, in essence, an attempt at a sequel to the 1955 movie, Love Is A Many Splendored Thing. The storyline centered around Mia Elliot, who was a Korean immigrant who was in love with two men, namely Doctor Jim Abbott, and Paul Bradley.
The cast included Donna Mills, Susan Lucci, David Birney, Constance Towers, Leslie Charleson, and Susan Browning, among others. The soapie was also about the lives and the loves of people who lived in San Francisco, California. Love Is A Many Splendored Thing is original that it was created from a movie, and it was well known for its use of using a lot of young and attractive actors. The soapie achieved four Emmy Award nominations, and did quite well in its ratings.
36. The Brighter Day
CBS’s The Brighter Day ran from the 4th of January, 1954, until the 28th of September, 1962. It was specifically made for radio but spilled over to TV, and from 1954 until 1956, both versions ran at the same time. The cast included Mona Bruns, Patty Duke (mother of Sean Astin), James Noble, Lois Nettleton, Hal Holbrook, and Lanna Saunders, among others.
The Brighter Day centered around the Dennis family. Originally, there were five Dennis children, but when the television version began, the oldest child, Liz, married and left the family. The show took place in a place called Three Rivers, but the Dennis family relocated to a new place due to a flood, called New Hope. Eventually they moved to the college town, Columbus. This was one of the few soap operas that began on radio and ended up on television.
35. Where The Heart Is
CBS’s Where The Heart Is ran from the 8th of September, 1969, to the 23rd of March, 1973. It always ran for 25 minutes, with the last 5 dedicated to a CBS news break. It starred Louise Shaffer, Rue McClanahan, Marsha Mason, Ron Harper, Diana Van der Vlis, James Mitchell, Alice Drummond, and more.
The stories took place in the fictional town of Northcross, in Connecticut. It focused on issues of a sexual and psychological nature of the Hathaway family, who were quite dysfunctional. The storylines were quite daring for the time, focusing on adultery, incestuous love triangles, babies being born to unmarried parents, and the like. It was one of the lowest rated soap operas of CBS, and didn’t do that well with viewers, even though it did have its own fan base.
NBC had a few names for this soap opera. It was called Somerset, as well as Another World in Somerset, and Another World: Somerset. It ran from the 30th of March, 1970, until the 31st of December, 1976. It was a spin-off of NBC’s hit soap opera Another World.
The cast starred Sigourney Weaver as Avis Ryan, Audrey Landers, JoBeth Williams, Ted Danson, Joel Crothers, and more. In the beginning, the show was centered around three popular characters from Another World, namely Sam Lucas, Missy Palmer Matthews, and Lahoma Vane Lucas. It was an interesting soap opera that dealt with heavy storylines like the Mafia, and serious crime, making it rather interesting indeed. After the final episode aired a special message followed thanking the viewers for watching the show the past few years, and wishing them all a happy New Year.
NBC’s Texas aired from the 4th of August, 1980, until the 31st of December, 1982. The cast included Beverlee McKinsey, Carla Borelli, Pam Long, Catherine Hickland, Morgan Freeman, and more. It was another spin-off of Another World, the other spin-off being Somerset.
The show began with Iris Cory Bancroft stepping onto a plane and leaving for Houston, after visiting Dennis who was her son. Dennis had moved to Texas with the love of his life to open a beautiful art gallery. The story focused on the development within the lives of the wealthy Bellmans and Wheelers, and middle-class Marshalls, and all their interest in the ranching and oil industries.This soap opera was a bit different as certain musical artists, as well as politicians appeared as guests.
32. Port Charles
ABC’s Port Charles starred Michael Easton, Kelly Monaco, Kimberlin Brown Pelzer, and more. The first episode aired June the 1st, 1997 and the last aired October the 3rd, 2003. It was a spin-off of the highly popular and successful General Hospital. Everything occurred in a fictional city called Port Charles, in New York.
There were certain recognizable characters from General Hospital, such as Kevin Collins, Lucy Coe, Scott Baldwin, and Karen Wexler, as well as the addition of new characters. They all interned in a medical school program that was highly competitive. There were themes of a medical nature, but towards the end the show, thrilling supernatural storylines appeared. The soapie was nominated for a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series in 2003. Although it was nominated for this, the show never did incredibly well with viewers, and never had the enormous success that General Hospital had achieved.
NBC’s Generations filmed from the 27th of March, 1989, until the 25th of January 1991. It starred Vivica A. Fox, Kelly Rutherford, James Reynolds, the late Kristoff St.John, and more. It was an important soap opera as it was the first to feature a family that was African-American.
The soap opera was about two families of different color (black and white) and how they interacted with one another. The two families were based in Chicago, and were the Marshalls, and the Whitmores. The story lines were that of marriage, business ownership, stolen inheritance and studying at a mature age. It was nominated for many awards, and won the 1990 Creative Arts Emmy Award for Outstanding Graphics and Title Design. Generations had over 2 million viewers and changed the way people saw soap operas, as many of the main stars were African-American.
30. The City
ABC’s The City starred the very beautiful Morgan Fairchild, Jane Elliot, Debbi Morgan, Roscoe Born, Catherine Hickland, Joseph Sirola, and Jennifer Esposito, among others. It ran from the 13th of November, 1995, to the 28th of March, 1997.
The story lines in the soapie were quite original and modern, including a daring story around a transsexual. The characters that appeared in the beginning of the show were the survivors from the serial killer from the successful soap opera Loving. The City won two Daytime Emmy Awards but never really did extremely well with ratings and viewership. Well-known actress Morgan Fairchild only stayed on the soap opera for one year, as that was per her contract. She was then replaced with actress Jane Elliot.
29. The Secret Storm
The cast of CBS’s The Secret Storm included Jada Rowland, Joan Crawford, Ken Kercheval, Roy Schneider, and Audrey Landers, among others. It ran from the 1st of February, 1954, until the the 8th of February, 1974. The story was centered around the Ames family, a well-to-do family in the fictional town of Woodbridge, later identified as located in New York.
It followed the story of Peter Ames raising his three children Susan, Amy and Jerry alone, as his wife Ellen is killed in the very first episode. Peter ends up getting remarried twice.Oscar winner Joan Crawford, partook in this soapie, and was very well-known in the industry. From 1954 until 1962, the soapie ran for fifteen minutes, until 1962, where it carried on running for 30 minutes.
The cast of Capitol included Teri Hatcher, Carolyn Jones, Debrah Farentino, Rory Calhoun, Catherine Hickland, Billy Warlock, Kimberlin Brown Pelzer, and Rodney Saulsberry, among others. This CBS soap opera aired its first episode on the 29th of March, 1982, and finished filming on the 20th of March, 1987. The story was about the political interests of people who lived in Washington, D.C.
The families involved in Capitol were the McCandless, Denning, and Clegg families who resided in the fictional suburb of Jeffersonia, in Washington, D.C. Topics that were covered in this soapie were war heroes, presidency, love, gambling, agoraphobia, and a “Romeo & Juliet” type story between the characters Tyler and Julie. Capitol had average ratings, staying in the middle of viewership between other more popular soapies.
27. Love Of Life
CBS’s Love Of Life ran from the 24th of September , 1951, until the 1st of February , 1980. The soapie began as 15 minutes and expanded to 30 minutes. It originally covered the theme of good vs. evil, through sisters Vanessa Dale and Meg Dale. Vanessa was the “good” girl and sister Meg was a scheming “bad girl.”
It started out in the fictional town of Barrowsville and moved to Rosehill. The cast included Christopher Reeve, Peggy McCay, Audrey Peters, John Aniston, Marsha Manson, Roy Schneider, and Dana Delany, among others. There was a strong theme of love and marriage, divorce and time in prison due to bigamy. Unlike many soap operas of its time, it was not split up into segments. All the advertising occurred before and after the show due to the fact that American Home Products was licensed to CBS.
26. Search For Tomorrow
This soap opera included the actors Mary Stuart, Larry Haines, Lisa Peluso, Jane Krakowski, Don Knotts, Kevin Bacon, Morgan Fairchild, Susan Sarandon, John Aniston, John Glover, Viggo Mortensen, and Will Patton, among others. CBS’s Search For Tomorrow first aired on the 3rd of September, 1951, and ran for a long 35 years until the 26th of December, 1986.
All the happenings of the show took place in a fictional town called Henderson. It was focused mainly around the character Joanne, played by Mary Stuart. The show was nominated for a few awards, mainly taken home by actor Larry Haines, who played Stu Bergman. The soapie began as a 15 minute show and was finally extended to 30 minutes. Procter & Gamble Productions used it to advertise household cleaning products.
This soap opera included Jesse Metcalfe, who went on to Desperate Housewives fame as well as the gorgeous James Hyde. NBC’s Passions first aired on the 5th of July 1999 and its last episode was on the 7th of September 2007. It covered the lives and loves of the people of a place called Harmony. It even has paranormal events occurring in the soapie.
It’s was an interesting soap opera as it had many multiracial main families in it. There were the half-Mexican, half-Irish Lopez-Fitzgeralds, African American Russells and the Caucasian Cranes and Bennetts. There was also a supernatural story line including a witch and her doll which came to life, which is quite creepy! The soapie did incredibly well for the female age, 12-17 group and was nominated for many Daytime Emmy Awards.
24. Sunset Beach
NBC’s Sunset Beach aired on January the 6th and finished filming on the 31st of December, 1999. The cast included Susan Ward, Eddie Cibrian, Clive Robertson, Lesley-Anne Down, Sarah G. Buxton, Jason Winston George, Adrienne Frantz, and more.
This was a soap opera aimed at a younger audience and it worked! Teens and young adults loved the riveting story lines, yet so did the older audience. Everything happens on the coast of California, in an area called Sunset Beach. The story line was very romantically based where it featured cheating and jealousy and plots to win the hearts of taken men. There was even a supernatural story interwoven in the mix. The show won two Daytime Emmy Awards and has 22 nominations over a plethora of different award shows.
23. Home and Away
Certain Australian soap operas gave rise to major stars who made it in Hollywood. Home and Away paved the way to fame for Chris Hemsworth, Isla Fischer, the late Heath Ledger, Naomi Watts, Julian McMahon, Danii Minogue, and Guy Pearce. It certainly did a lot of good as some of these actors, like Chris Hemsworth, are one of the highest paid in Hollywood.
Home and Away was first broadcast on the 17th of January, 1988. The story line is around the people living in a fictional seaside town in New South Wales. The soap opera has covered many controversial topics such as teen pregnancy, addiction to substances, overdoses and attempts to end one’s life. It is seen in over 80 countries all over the globe, making it one of Australia’s most popular exports next to the soap opera Neighbours.
What do Guy Pearce, Margot Robbie, Holly Valance, Natalie Imbruglia, Kylie Minogue, Delta Goodrem, Russell Crowe, Liam Hemsworth, Chris Hemsworth and Jason Donovan all have in common? They all starred in one of Australia’s biggest soapies, Neighbours. It aired for the first time on the 18th of March, 1985.
The theme of the soap opera was about realistic stories played out by both adults and teens who get to solve problems together. It focuses on a fictional street called Ramsay, in a fictional suburb of Melbourne. This soap opera is seen in over 60 countries, including America and is one of Australia’s most successful exports. It exposes stories about family issues, school problems, as well as inter-generational clashes, romances and domestic issues. It has won many awards. Margot Robbie had actually asked the producers to kill off her character when she left for Hollywood, but they refused as they thought she might return. Little did they know what lay ahead for beautiful Margot.
21. The Doctors
The Doctors starred Elizabeth Hubbard, James Pritchett, Kathleen Turner, Alec Baldwin, Terry O’Quinn, Ellen Burnstyn, Ian Ziering, Kathy Bates, Ted Danson, Carol Potter, Larry Riley, Vanessa Johnston, and more. The Doctors belonged to NBC and ran from the 1st of April, 1963 until the 31st of December, 1982.
The soapie first debuted as an anthology series, which was very original for its time. Eventually it was extended to a soap opera. The doctors in the soapie stuck to many of its story lines within the confines of the hospital, and covered risque topics for its day. The show won two Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Daytime Drama, in both 1971 and 1972. Towards its last years of filming it focused more on traditional soap opera themes that weren’t so realistic.
20. Guiding Light
CBS’s Guiding Light was the longest-running soap opera on TV, in the history of American TV. It first aired in 1952, and ran until 2009. It started off on the radio (in Chicago and Hollywood), and was carried through onto TV, where it was shot in New York. The cast included Hayden Panettiere, Kevin Bacon, Kim Zimmer, Beth Chamberlin, Crystal Chappell, Tom Pelphrey, Justin Deas, and more.
The soap opera was based around the Bauers, who were a German immigrant family, with not much financial status or earnings. It often centered around Bill Bauer and his wife, who worked hard to be successful. The head writer of the show was Irna Phillips. It won numerous Daytime Emmy Awards and had millions of viewers.
19. Twin Peaks
Twin Peaks was an interesting ABC soap opera that incorporated mystery and horror with drama. It created quite the cult following, although it was cancelled after 2 seasons. It was created by Mark Frost and David Lynch (Dune, The Elephant Man) and aired on the 8th of April 1990.
The soapie is about the murder of a homecoming queen, played by Sheryl Lee, and the FBI investigation around it. Some of the more famous actors that starred in this were Kyle MacLachlan, Sherilyn Fenn, Lara Flynn Boyle, and the stunning Mädchen Amick. It had almost a million viewers. Not many people are aware of this but Sherilyn Fenn was quite a bombshell back in the day and was engaged to A-lister Johnny Depp, but they never got married.
18. Knots Landing
CBS’s Knots Landing had a cast of really interesting characters. Some of the cast members included Donna Mills, Michele Lee, Joan Van Ark, William Devane, Nicollette Sheridan, and Alec Baldwin. It was a spinoff of Dallas, which covered the life of Gary Ewing and his wife settling into California to leave behind all that was in Texas.
It aired on the 27th of December, 1979 and ran until its final episode on the 13th of May 1993. It was an intriguing soap opera that included topics like criminal investigations, rape, murder, assassinations, drug smuggling and corporate intrigue. It had over 14 million viewers. In 2005, the documentary Knots Landing Reunion: Together Again aired on CBS on the 2nd of December at night.
17. Melrose Place
Melrose Place was an exciting Fox soap opera that covered the lives of tenants living in an apartment block in Melrose Place, West Hollywood, California. It had a cast of very good looking, talented actors such as Heather Locklear, Courtney Thorne-Smith, and Grant Show. The show also starred redheads Marcia Cross and Laura Leighton.
The show aired on the 8th of July 1992 and ran until the 24th of May 1999. It covered topics such as homosexuality, sexual harassment, and unemployment. Heather Locklear received four Golden Globe Award nominations for her role as Amanda Woodward. TV guide stated that her character was the nastiest woman on TV, after Joan Collins’ Dynasty character, Alexis. The first season had 11.9 million viewers and the final episode had 8.4 million.
16. Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara was very famous for two main things – it featured Robin Wright and one episode with Leonardo DiCaprio. It was a NBC soap opera that first aired on the 30th of July 1984, and ran until the 15th of January, 1993. The show had a central plot revolving around murder and redemption. There is a big theme of getting to the answer of who the actual murderer is.
The series followed the story of the wealthy Capwell family who resided in Santa Barbara, located in California. The show won a massive 24 Daytime Emmy Awards and 18 Soap Opera Digest Awards. Other cast members included A Martinez, Lane Davies, Marcy Walker, Todd McKee, Jed Allan, Nancy Lee Grahn, and more.
ABC’s Loving ran from the 26th of June, 1983, until the 10th of November, 1995. As its name suggests, romance would feature greatly in this soap opera. It took place in a fictional town, and the plot was around the working class family the Donovans, and the Aldens who had a very high social status. The show only won one Emmy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Bernard Burrow won this in 1991 for his role as Louie Slavinsky.
The cast included the beautiful Susan Walters, Rebecca Gayheart, Rena Sofer, Perry Stephens, Jessica Collins, Noelle Beck, Bryan Cranston, Luke Perry, and Lisa Peluso. It covered very serious issues, such as alcoholism, incest and PTS (post-traumatic stress syndrome) of Vietnam. The final big storyline of the soapie was that of a serial killer.
14. As The World Turns
CBS’s soap opera As The World Turns ran from the 2nd of April 1956 to the 17th of September, 2010, which was an exceptionally long time for any soap opera to run. It was set in a town that doesn’t exist – Oakdale, in Illinois. Famous actors who were part of this show are Meg Ryan, Julianne Moore, Amanda Seyfried, and Lesli Kay.
From 1958-1978, it was the most watched daytime drama with a massive ten million viewers watching every day. At the end of its run, it cancelled due to low ratings. The stories within this soap opera were rich centered around families who were involved in medical and legal professions. Actress Helen Wagner said the first lines in this soap opera and stayed there until 2010.
13. Dark Shadows
ABC’s Dark Shadows was a soap opera with a difference. It was a gothic soap opera and ran from the 27th of June 1966, until the 2nd of April, 1971. It was very interesting and fun and included time travel, a parallel universe, werewolves, zombies, witches, man-made monsters and warlocks.
Dark Shadows was so popular, that there was even a Dark Shadows comic strip. Two board games came out of the show, as well as some coloring books and two jigsaw puzzles. It really had a fantastic cult following. The cast included Kate Jackson, Jonathan Frid, and Alexandra Isles among others. It was simply fantastic. In 2012 the movie version came out with Johnny Depp playing the main character, and the stunning Eva Green playing temptress Angelique Bouchard.
12. Ryan’s Hope
ABC’s Ryan’s Hope aired on July 7th, 1975 and ran until January 13th, 1989. It was all about the happenings that went on in a big Irish-American family in New York City. In the soapie there is a bar called Ryan’s which lies across the street from a fictitious hospital called Riverside Hospital.
The main families involved in the story were the Ryans and the uber-rich Coleridges. The cast included Kate Mulgrew, Marg Helgenberger, the stunning Yasmine Bleeth, as well as the ever-handsome Grant Show. Morgan Freeman, Angela Bassett, and Mary-Louise Parker were also on the show. It won many awards, including the Daytime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Drama Series in 1977 and 1979. In 1976 the soapie was rated second place on ABC’s roster after All My Children.
11. The Edge Of Night
CBS’s The Edge of Night soap opera debuted on the 2nd of April 1956, and ran until the 28th of November 1975. It eventually moved to ABC and ran until 1984. Apparently, many well-known people were fans including first lady Eleanor Roosevelt, actresses Bette Davis and Tallulah Bankhead, songwriter Cole Porter, and writer P.G. Wodehouse.
It was a crime-focused soap opera, and covered district attorneys, the police, and medical examiners, who all dealt with blackmailers, drug dealers, corrupt politicians, gangsters and psychopaths. It was awarded the Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America, had an immense number of male actors, and balanced its heavy crime-centered theme with great and clever humor. It won many Daytime Emmy Awards, and won a Primetime Emmy Award as well.
Dallas was a fabulous CBS soap opera that featured actors Larry Hagman (as J.R. Ewing), Patrick Duffy (as brother Bobby), Priscilla Presley (as Jenna Wade), and Linda Gray (as Sue Ellen Ewing). The fictitious show takes place in Texas in Dallas County. It ran from 1978 until 1991 and was popular in many countries around the world.
The show centers around the Ewings, who are the owners of the oil company Ewing Oil and part of the land of Southfork, where they tend to cattle. Dallas had diverse and rich characters. Fans loved hating J.R. Ewing for his scrupulous ways. The show made the 100 best TV shows ever in Time magazine. The final episode was watched by 33.3 million viewers.
9. Beverly Hills 90210
The original Beverly Hills 90210 was a very exciting Fox teen drama soap opera for its time. It covered the lives of twins Brandon and Brenda Walsh, played by Jason Priestley and Shannen Doherty. Luke Perry played Dylan McKay, a main character in the show, and friend of Brandon Walsh. A-list actress Hilary Swank was also in this show.
The show aired on the 4th of October,1990 and its final episode aired on the 17th of May, 2000. It covered many topics such as suicide, date rape, teenage pregnancy, and drug abuse. Aaron Spelling produced the show and his daughter Tori played one of the main characters, Donna Martin. The first season brought in 14.2 million viewers and the final episode had 8.33 million viewers.
Dynasty followed the lives of the very wealthy family the Carringtons, who lived in Denver, Colorado. John Forsythe played oil magate Blake Carrington and his stunning blond wife Krystle was played by Linda Evans. Joan Collins played Alexis, his ex wife. It was always exciting to see the friction created when the two were in the room together. The soapie is famous for the physical catfights between Krystle and Alexis.
The show first aired in 1981, and ended in 1989. It was exceptionally popular. Heather Locklear featured on this show, as well as the lovely Catherine Oxenberg, and Stephanie Beacham. The last episode pulled in 10.5 million viewers. Currently, Netflix has a revamped series of the show which seems to be quite popular.
7. General Hospital
General Hospital is famous for being in the Guinness World Records for running over a span of so many years. It first aired on the 1st of April 1963. Most stories took place on the 7th floor of the General Hospital. The story revolves around Dr. Steve Hardy and his friend, Nurse Jessie Brewer. The cast included Elizabeth Taylor, Sean Kanan, George Hamilton, Eva Longoria, and James Franco, among others.
The show is famous for its hour-long wedding show of couple elite Luke Spencer (played by Anthony Geary) and Laura Webber (played by Genie Francis), that occured on the 16th of November, 1981. It was the most-watched event to ever occur in the history of daytime soap operas, watched by 30 million viewers.
6. Another World
NBC’s Another World ran from the 4th of May, 1964 until the 25th of June, 1999. The soapie was centered around extreme melodrama between families who came from different classes and had different philosophies. One of its themes that it covered was the sensitive topic of abortion, the first soap opera to do so.
It also dealt with murder and trials. Another World focused a lot around the character Rachel Davis who could be quite deceptive in order to raise herself from poverty. It had a strong theme of a love triangle between the characters Alice, Steve, and Rachel. The cast included a young Brad Pitt, Ray Liotta, Lindsay Lohan, Morgan Freeman, Eric Roberts, Ving Rhames, and Joan Rivers. It won many Daytime Emmy Awards.
5. Days Of Our Lives
It seems that NBC’s Days Of Our Lives has been running forever. The first episode aired on the 8th of November, 1965. The main families in this wonderful soapie are the Bradys and the Hortons. The story lines are very daring, even covering topics like possession, such as when Marlena became completely possessed and needed to be exorcised.
The show follows interesting love stories and love triangles. In 1992, Days Of Our Lives started to introduce younger actors so as to appeal to a younger audience, and it worked. There are many villains in the show such as Stefano DiMera and Vivian Alamain, to keep people hooked and on their toes. John Aniston (father of Jennifer Aniston) has played Victor Kiriakis since 1985. It is a gripping soapie that keeps people coming back day after day. The show has 2.1 million viewers.
4. One Life To Live
ABC’s One Life To Live debuted on the 15th of July, 1968, and ran until the 13th of January, 2012. It carried on as a web series until 2013. The show mainly centered around the Lord family. Its main actress was Erika Slezak, who played the character Victoria Lord. She won 6 Daytime Emmy Awards for her role.
The soapie shows what happens between four main families – the wealthy Lords, the working-class, salt-of-the-earth Polish American Woleks, the Irish Catholic Rileys, and the African-American Grays. It emphasized many ethnic types, lots of funny situations, many social issues, and male characters with a lot of depth. It won many awards through its time, including 9 Directors Guild of America Awards. One Life To Live had 2.762 million viewers.
3. All My Children
All My Children was a popular ABC soap opera that ran from the 5th of January, 1970, until the 2nd of September, 2013. In the original season, actress Susan Lucci played one of television’s most popular roles, Erica Kane, who got married a numerous amount of times on the show. Talk show host Kelly Ripa met her husband Mark Consuelos on the show.
It was the first daytime soap opera to debut in the ‘70s. At one time, it was the most popular soapie in America, and even boasted a massive 30% male audience. The show’s original plots were based on young love. It discussed the Vietnam war and an Emmy Award was given to actress Mary Fickett for her character, Ruth Brent’s, protest speech in 1972. No other soap opera actor had won this award before her. Its final episode was watched by 3.5 million people.
2. The Bold and The Beautiful
CBS’s soap opera The Bold and The Beautiful has been running since the ‘80s. It covers the lives of the Forrester family and their fashion empire. There have been many love stories running through this soap opera, the main being that of Brooke Logan, a total outsider from humble beginnings and Ridge Forrester, the playboy of the family.
Throughout the show many themes were covered such as mental illness, divorce, poverty, cancer, love of children, and deep and divine love. Many marriages and many beautiful births occur. The show has been running for such a long time, that most of the children brought up by Brooke and Ridge, and other characters in the show, are now the soapie’s main stars. The show has 3.48 million viewers, and is watched all over the world.
1. The Young and The Restless
The Young and The Restless is a CBS show that first aired on the 26th of March, 1973. Actors Tom Selleck and David Hasselhoff acted on this show before hitting it big in Magnum P.I. and Knight Rider, respectively. Other cast members include Eileen Davidson, Sharon Case, Victor Newman, Shemar Moore, and Mishael Morgan, among others.
The soapie first centered around two families that were quite different from one another. The first was the Brooks family who were very wealthy, and the Foster family who came from more humble beginnings. It has won 10 Daytime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Drama Series, and is currently the number one soap opera on television. It has 4.3 million viewers and its international audience includes Canada, Australia, and South Africa, among many other countries.