Entertainment The All Time Greatest Daytime Soap Operas  

Ranker TV
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List Rules Drama! Vote up the best daytime soap operas that have ever aired on television.

The soap opera was among the first genres of television to gain traction with audiences, since the birth of TV in the late 1940s. The first daytime soap opera was "Faraway Hill," which premiered in 1946. Since then, soap operas have been a pivotal part of televised entertainment. Daytime soaps differ from primetime television because there’s a new episode every weekday, instead of once a week. Some daytime soap operas began as radio broadcasts and then went on to span many decades on the television airways. This list of the best daytime soap operas has been voted on and ranked by the community.

"Guiding Light" holds the Guinness World Record for longest-running TV drama, with 57 seasons under its belt. Other programs, like "General Hospital" and "Days of Our Lives" have also lasted many decades.

These days there are only 4 soap operas still on the air, although some shows have continued their life on through internet webisodes. Although many of the daytime soaps on this list didn’t last decades, they made a lasting impressionon those who watched.

What are the best daytime soaps of all time? Vote up the daytime soap operas you think are the best of all time below and see where the soaps you think are great rank.

list ordered by
1
133 56
Dark Shadows is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The All Time Greatest Daytime Soap Operas
Jonathan Frid, Grayson Hall, Alexandra Isles
Dark Shadows is an American gothic soap opera that originally aired weekdays on the ABC television network, from June 27, 1966, to April 2, 1971. The series became hugely popular when vampire ...more
2
85 41
Guiding Light is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The All Time Greatest Daytime Soap Operas
Hayden Panettiere, Matt Bomer, Brittany Snow
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
3
116 81
Days of Our Lives is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The All Time Greatest Daytime Soap Operas
Pamela Anderson, Shelley Hennig, Melinda Clarke
Days of Our Lives is an American daytime soap opera broadcast on the NBC television network. It is one of the longest-running scripted television programs in the world, airing nearly every ...more
4
64 43
Another World is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The All Time Greatest Daytime Soap Operas
Victoria Wyndham, Constance Ford, Hugh Marlowe
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
5
67 49
As the World Turns is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The All Time Greatest Daytime Soap Operas
Julianne Moore, Sarah Hyland, Ming-Na Wen
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
6
58 39
The Edge of Night is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The All Time Greatest Daytime Soap Operas
Martin Sheen, Marcia Cross, Lori Loughlin
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
7
70 61
The Young and the Restless is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The All Time Greatest Daytime Soap Operas
Eva Longoria, Shemar Moore, Tatyana Ali
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
8
52 40
Search for Tomorrow is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The All Time Greatest Daytime Soap Operas
Susan Sarandon, Viggo Mortensen, Kevin Bacon
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
9
79 71
General Hospital is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The All Time Greatest Daytime Soap Operas
Eva Longoria, James Franco, Kelly Monaco
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
10
76 70
All My Children is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The All Time Greatest Daytime Soap Operas
Cameron Mathison, Michael E. Knight, Alicia Minshew
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
11
69 61
One Life to Live is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The All Time Greatest Daytime Soap Operas
Hayden Panettiere, Kourtney Kardashian, Marcia Cross
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
12
44 35
The Secret Storm is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The All Time Greatest Daytime Soap Operas
Joan Crawford, Roy Scheider, Audrey Landers
The Secret Storm is a soap opera which the CBS television network transmitted from February 1, 1954, to February 8, 1974. It was created by Roy Winsor, who also created the long-running soap ...more
13
67 64
The Bold and the Beautiful is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The All Time Greatest Daytime Soap Operas
Usher, Katherine Kelly Lang, Hunter Tylo
The Bold and the Beautiful is an American television soap opera created by William J. Bell and Lee Phillip Bell for CBS. It premiered on March 23, 1987 as a sister show to the Bells' other soap ...more
14
41 34
Peyton Place is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The All Time Greatest Daytime Soap Operas
Mia Farrow, Leslie Nielsen, Ryan O'Neal
Peyton Place is an American prime-time soap opera which aired on ABC in half-hour episodes from September 15, 1964 to June 2, 1969. Based upon the 1956 novel of the same name by Grace Metalious, ...more
15
43 45
Ryan's Hope is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The All Time Greatest Daytime Soap Operas
Morgan Freeman, Angela Bassett, Mary-Louise Parker
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
16
36 37
Capitol is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The All Time Greatest Daytime Soap Operas
Teri Hatcher, Kelly Preston, Carol Alt
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
17
35 36
Love of Life is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The All Time Greatest Daytime Soap Operas
Dana Delany, Christopher Reeve, Roy Scheider
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
18
44 56
Passions is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The All Time Greatest Daytime Soap Operas
Lindsay Hartley, McKenzie Westmore, Galen Gering
Passions is an American soap opera which aired on NBC from July 5, 1999 to September 7, 2007 and on The 101 Network from September 17, 2007 to August 7, 2008. Passions follows the lives and ...more
19
31 37
Generations is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The All Time Greatest Daytime Soap Operas
Amy Yasbeck, Kelly Rutherford, Richard Roundtree
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
20
33 46
Santa Barbara is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The All Time Greatest Daytime Soap Operas
Leonardo DiCaprio, Robin Wright, Judith Anderson
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
21
2 5
Where the Heart Is is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The All Time Greatest Daytime Soap Operas
Rue McClanahan, Marsha Mason, James Mitchell
Where the Heart Is is an American soap opera telecast on the CBS television network from September 8, 1969 to March 23, 1973. Created by Lou Scofield and Margaret DePriest, the program ran for ...more
22
2 5
Texas is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The All Time Greatest 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
23
0 3
Bright Promise is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The All Time Greatest Daytime Soap Operas
Dabney Coleman, Coleen Gray, Anthony Geary
Bright Promise is an American daytime soap opera that ran on NBC from September 29, 1969 to March 31, 1972. It aired weekdays at 3:30 PM Eastern/2:30 PM Central.
24
2 6
Sunset Beach is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The All Time Greatest Daytime Soap Operas
Kelly Hu, Susan Ward, Laura Harring
Sunset Beach is an American television soap opera that aired on NBC from January 6, 1997 to December 31, 1999. The show follows the loves and lives of the people living in the Orange County ...more
25
28 48
Port Charles is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The All Time Greatest Daytime Soap Operas
Kelly Monaco, Amy Weber, Linda Purl
Port Charles is an American television soap opera which aired on ABC from June 1, 1997 to October 3, 2003. It is a spin-off of the serial General Hospital, which had been running since 1963 and ...more