Watchworthy

The Best '80s Daytime Soap Operas 

Ranker TV
Updated September 13, 2019 5.1k votes 805 voters 49.7k views 19 items

List Rules Daytime soap operas that aired on television during the 1980s

During the 80s, there were more people watching soap operas than ever before. Soaps like "General Hospital" were averaging 14 million viewers an episode at its peak. There were also more soap operas on the air than ever before, with as many as 15 daytime soaps airing during a week. The top soaps of the decade were" General Hospital", "All My Children," and "One Life to Live." This list of the best daytime soap operas that aired during 1980-1989, has been voted on a ranked by the community.

While many old soap operas continued to flourish during the 80s, some soaps saw their last years. "Love of Life" ended in 1980, "Search for Tomorrow" ended in 1982, and "The Edge of Night" ended in 1984, among many others.

New soap operas also premiered, including "Generations," "Texas," "The Bold and the Beautiful," and "Santa Barbara." Although primetime soaps like "Dallas" and "Dynasty" were gaining popularity at this time, daytime soaps didn’t lose any of their status or popularity.

What are the best daytime soap operas from the 80s? Vote up the best 1980s daytime soap operas below and see where the soaps you loved to watch during the 80s rank.

Data-driven recommendations based on voting from over 40 million monthly visits to Ranker. Try the free app
list ordered by
1
General Hospital is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best '80s Daytime Soap Operas
Eva Longoria, James Franco, Kelly Monaco

Premiered: 1963

General Hospital is an American daytime television medical drama that is listed in Guinness World Records as the longest-running American soap opera in production and the third longest-running ...more

More General Hospital 

The Best General Hospital Characters #3 of 60 The Best Daytime TV Showslisted on Longest Running US Soap Operas

2
All My Children is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best '80s Daytime Soap Operas
Cameron Mathison, Michael E. Knight, Alicia Minshew

Premiered: 1970

All My Children is an American television soap opera that aired on ABC for 41 years, from January 5, 1970, to September 23, 2011, and on The Online Network from April 29, 2013, to September 2, ...more

More All My Children 

#241 of 571 TV Shows Canceled Before Their Time #20 of 60 The Best Daytime TV Showslisted on Longest Running US Soap Operas

3
Days of Our Lives is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best '80s Daytime Soap Operas
Kristian Alfonso, Matthew Ashford, Mary Beth Evans

Premiered: 1965

Days of Our Lives (NBC, 1965) is an American daytime soap opera created by Ted and Betty Corday. A chronicle of the lives, loves, trials and tribulations of the citizens of the fictional city of ...more

More Days of Our Lives 

#2 of 60 The Best Daytime TV Shows #212 of 1,317 The Best Guilty Pleasure TV Showslisted on Longest Running US Soap Operas

4
One Life to Live is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best '80s Daytime Soap Operas
Hayden Panettiere, Kourtney Kardashian, Marcia Cross

Premiered: 1968

One Life to Live is an American soap opera broadcast on the ABC television network for more than 43 years, from July 15, 1968, to January 13, 2012, and then on the internet as a web series on ...more

More One Life to Live 

#19 of 60 The Best Daytime TV Shows #11 of 222 The Greatest Soap Operas of All Timelisted on Longest Running US Soap Operas

5
Santa Barbara is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best '80s Daytime Soap Operas
Leonardo DiCaprio, Robin Wright, Judith Anderson

Premiered: 1984

Santa Barbara is an American television soap opera, first broadcast in the United States on NBC on July 30, 1984, and last aired on January 15, 1993. The show revolves around the eventful lives ...more

More Santa Barbara 

#22 of 60 The Best Daytime TV Shows #18 of 222 The Greatest Soap Operas of All Timelisted on Longest Running US Soap Operas

6
Another World is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best '80s Daytime Soap Operas
Victoria Wyndham, Constance Ford, Hugh Marlowe

Premiered: 1964

Another World is an American television soap opera that ran on NBC for 35 years from May 4, 1964 to June 25, 1999. It was created by Irna Phillips along with William J. Bell, and was produced by ...more

More Another World 

#306 of 590 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time #13 of 60 The Best Daytime TV Showslisted on Longest Running US Soap Operas

7
Guiding Light is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best '80s Daytime Soap Operas
Hayden Panettiere, Matt Bomer, Brittany Snow

Premiered: 1937

Guiding Light is an American television soap opera that is listed in Guinness World Records as the longest-running drama in television in American history, broadcast on CBS for 57 years from ...more

More Guiding Light 

#18 of 60 The Best Daytime TV Shows #8 of 222 The Greatest Soap Operas of All Timelisted on Longest Running US Soap Operas

8
Ryan's Hope is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best '80s Daytime Soap Operas
Morgan Freeman, Angela Bassett, Mary-Louise Parker

Premiered: 1975

Ryan's Hope is an American soap opera created by Claire Labine and Paul Avila Mayer, originally airing for 13 years on ABC from July 7, 1975 to January 13, 1989. It revolves around the trials ...more

More Ryan's Hope 

#33 of 60 The Best Daytime TV Shows #9 of 222 The Greatest Soap Operas of All Timelisted on Longest Running US Soap Operas

9
The Young and the Restle... is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best '80s Daytime Soap Operas
Eva Longoria, Shemar Moore, Tatyana Ali

Premiered: 1973

The Young and the Restless is an American television soap opera created by William J. Bell and Lee Phillip Bell for CBS. The show is set in a fictional Wisconsin town called Genoa City, which is ...more

More The Young and the Restless 

#4 of 60 The Best Daytime TV Shows #6 of 222 The Greatest Soap Operas of All Timelisted on Longest Running US Soap Operas

10
As the World Turns is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best '80s Daytime Soap Operas
Julianne Moore, Sarah Hyland, Ming-Na Wen

Premiered: 1956

As the World Turns is an American television soap opera that aired on CBS for 54 years from April 2, 1956 to September 17, 2010. Irna Phillips created As the World Turns as a sister show to her ...more

More As the World Turns 

#31 of 60 The Best Daytime TV Shows #14 of 222 The Greatest Soap Operas of All Timelisted on Longest Running US Soap Operas

11
The Bold and the Beautif... is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best '80s Daytime Soap Operas
John McCook, Katherine Kelly Lang, Matthew Atkinson

Premiered: 1987

The Bold and the Beautiful (CBS, 1987) is an American television soap opera created by William J. Bell and Lee Phillip Bell. The saga of high fashion glamour, honor, romance, passion, and most ...more

More The Bold and the Beautiful 

#16 of 60 The Best Daytime TV Shows #13 of 222 The Greatest Soap Operas of All Timelisted on Longest Running US Soap Operas

12
Generations is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best '80s Daytime Soap Operas
Amy Yasbeck, Kelly Rutherford, Richard Roundtree

Premiered: 1989

Generations is an American soap opera that aired on NBC from March 27, 1989, to January 25, 1991. The show was groundbreaking in that it was the first soap opera to feature from its inception an ...more

More Generations 

#55 of 222 The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time #20 of 31 The All Time Greatest Daytime Soap Operaslisted on Longest Running US Soap Operas

13
Texas is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best '80s Daytime Soap Operas
Texas is an American daytime soap opera which aired on NBC from August 4, 1980, until December 31, 1982, sponsored and produced by Procter & Gamble Productions at NBC Studios in Brooklyn, ...more

More Texas 

#25 of 31 The All Time Greatest Daytime Soap Operaslisted on Longest Running US Soap Operas

14
The Edge of Night is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best '80s Daytime Soap Operas
Martin Sheen, Marcia Cross, Lori Loughlin

Premiered: 1956

The Edge of Night is an American television mystery series/soap opera produced by Procter & Gamble. It debuted on CBS on April 2, 1956, and ran as a live broadcast on that network for most ...more

More The Edge of Night 

#30 of 60 The Best Daytime TV Shows #20 of 222 The Greatest Soap Operas of All Timelisted on Longest Running US Soap Operas

15
Loving is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best '80s Daytime Soap Operas
Julie Bowen, Bryan Cranston, Elizabeth Mitchell

Premiered: 1983

Loving is an American television soap opera that ran on ABC from June 26, 1983, to November 10, 1995, a total of 3,169 episodes. The serial, set in the fictional town of Corinth, Pennsylvania, ...more

More Loving 

#21 of 60 The Best Daytime TV Shows #23 of 222 The Greatest Soap Operas of All Timelisted on Longest Running US Soap Operas

16
Love of Life is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best '80s Daytime Soap Operas
Love of Life Dana Delany, Christopher Reeve, Roy Scheider

Premiered: 1951

Love of Life is an American soap opera which aired on CBS from September 24, 1951, to February 1, 1980. It was created by Roy Winsor, whose previous creation Search for Tomorrow had premiered ...more

More Love of Life 

#29 of 60 The Best Daytime TV Shows #30 of 222 The Greatest Soap Operas of All Timelisted on Longest Running US Soap Operas

17
Search for Tomorrow is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best '80s Daytime Soap Operas
Susan Sarandon, Viggo Mortensen, Kevin Bacon

Premiered: 1951

Search for Tomorrow is an American soap opera that aired on CBS from September 3, 1951 to March 26, 1982, and on NBC from March 29, 1982 to December 26, 1986. At the time of its final broadcast, ...more

More Search for Tomorrow 

#59 of 60 The Best Daytime TV Shows #25 of 222 The Greatest Soap Operas of All Timelisted on Longest Running US Soap Operas

18
Capitol is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best '80s Daytime Soap Operas
Teri Hatcher, Kelly Preston, Carol Alt

Premiered: 1982

Capitol is an American soap opera which aired on CBS from March 29, 1982 to March 20, 1987 for 1,270 episodes. As its name suggests, the storyline usually revolves around the political intrigues ...more

More Capitol 

#35 of 222 The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time #18 of 31 The All Time Greatest Daytime Soap Operaslisted on Longest Running US Soap Operas

19
The Doctors is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best '80s Daytime Soap Operas
Alec Baldwin, Kathleen Turner, Terry O'Quinn

Premiered: 1963

The Doctors is an American television soap opera which aired on NBC Daytime from April 1, 1963, to December 31, 1982. There were 5280 episodes produced, with the 5000th episode airing in ...more

More The Doctors 

#12 of 60 The Best Daytime TV Shows #36 of 222 The Greatest Soap Operas of All Timelisted on Longest Running US Soap Operas