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The All Time Greatest Daytime Soap Operas

Updated June 14, 2019 3.8k votes 475 voters 7.2k views31 items

List RulesDrama! 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.

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  • 1
    Guiding Light is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The All Time Greatest Daytime Soap Operas
    161
    61

    Guiding Light

    Hayden Panettiere, Matt Bomer

    Premiered1937

    Guiding Light is an American television soap opera that is listed in Guinness World Records as... more
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  • 2
    The Secret Storm is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The All Time Greatest Daytime Soap Operas
    103
    54

    The Secret Storm

    Joan Crawford, Roy Scheider

    Premiered1954

    The Secret Storm is a soap opera which the CBS television network transmitted from February 1,... moreamazon buy button
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  • 3
    As the World Turns is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The All Time Greatest Daytime Soap Operas
    77
    72

    As the World Turns

    Julianne Moore, Sarah Hyland

    Premiered1956

    As the World Turns is an American television soap opera that aired on CBS for 54 years from... more
  • 0
  • 4
    Dark Shadows is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The All Time Greatest Daytime Soap Operas
    142
    152

    Dark Shadows

    Jonathan Frid, Grayson Hall

    Premiered1966

    Dark Shadows is an American gothic soap opera that originally aired weekdays on the ABC... more

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  • 5
    Capitol is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The All Time Greatest Daytime Soap Operas
    79
    52

    Capitol

    Teri Hatcher, Kelly Preston

    Premiered1982

    Capitol is an American soap opera which aired on CBS from March 29, 1982 to March 20, 1987 for... moreamazon buy button
  • 0
  • 6
    Another World is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The All Time Greatest Daytime Soap Operas
    80
    59

    Another World

    Victoria Wyndham, Constance Ford

    Premiered1964

    Another World is an American television soap opera that ran on NBC for 35 years from May 4,... more
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  • 7
    The Young and the Restless is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The All Time Greatest Daytime Soap Operas
    89
    88

    The Young and the Restless

    Eva Longoria, Shemar Moore

    Premiered1973

    The Young and the Restless is an American television soap opera created by William J. Bell and... more
  • 0
  • 8
    Days of Our Lives is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The All Time Greatest Daytime Soap Operas
    142
    169

    Days of Our Lives

    Kristian Alfonso, Matthew Ashford

    Premiered1965

    Days of Our Lives (NBC, 1965) is an American daytime soap opera created by Ted and Betty... more
  • 0
  • 9
    Ryan's Hope is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The All Time Greatest Daytime Soap Operas
    49
    47

    Ryan's Hope

    Morgan Freeman, Angela Bassett

    Premiered1975

    Ryan's Hope is an American soap opera created by Claire Labine and Paul Avila Mayer,... moreamazon buy button
  • 0
  • 10
    The Edge of Night is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The All Time Greatest Daytime Soap Operas
    60
    61

    The Edge of Night

    Martin Sheen, Marcia Cross

    Premiered1956

    The Edge of Night is an American television mystery series/soap opera produced by Procter &... moreamazon buy button
  • 0
  • 11
    Search for Tomorrow is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The All Time Greatest Daytime Soap Operas
    49
    59

    Search for Tomorrow

    Susan Sarandon, Viggo Mortensen

    Premiered1951

    Search for Tomorrow is an American soap opera that aired on CBS from September 3, 1951 to... moreamazon buy button
  • 0
  • 12
    One Life to Live is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The All Time Greatest Daytime Soap Operas
    82
    109

    One Life to Live

    Hayden Panettiere, Kourtney Kardashian

    Premiered1968

    One Life to Live is an American soap opera broadcast on the ABC television network for more... more
  • 0
  • 13
    The Brighter Day is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The All Time Greatest Daytime Soap Operas
    43
    53

    The Brighter Day

    Hal Holbrook, Patty Duke

    Premiered1954

    The Brighter Day is an American daytime soap opera which aired on CBS from January 4, 1954 to... moreamazon buy button
  • 0
  • 14
    General Hospital is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The All Time Greatest Daytime Soap Operas
    101
    144

    General Hospital

    Eva Longoria, James Franco

    Premiered1963

    General Hospital is an American daytime television medical drama that is listed in Guinness... more

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  • 0
  • 15
    Peyton Place is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The All Time Greatest Daytime Soap Operas
    37
    48

    Peyton Place

    Mia Farrow, Leslie Nielsen

    Premiered1964

    Peyton Place is an American prime-time soap opera which aired on ABC in half-hour episodes... moreamazon buy button
  • 0
  • 16
    Passions is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The All Time Greatest Daytime Soap Operas
    44
    68

    Passions

    Lindsay Hartley, McKenzie Westmore

    Premiered1999

    Passions is an American soap opera which aired on NBC from July 5, 1999 to September 7, 2007... more
  • 0
  • 17
    Santa Barbara is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The All Time Greatest Daytime Soap Operas
    41
    54

    Santa Barbara

    Leonardo DiCaprio, Robin Wright

    Premiered1984

    Santa Barbara is an American television soap opera, first broadcast in the United States on... moreamazon buy button
  • 0
  • 18
    All My Children is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The All Time Greatest Daytime Soap Operas
    82
    134

    All My Children

    Cameron Mathison, Michael E. Knight

    Premiered1970

    All My Children is an American television soap opera that aired on ABC for 41 years, from... more
  • 0
  • 19
    Sunset Beach is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The All Time Greatest Daytime Soap Operas
    17
    19

    Sunset Beach

    Kelly Hu, Susan Ward

    Premiered1997

    Sunset Beach is an American television soap opera that aired on NBC from January 6, 1997 to... moreamazon_watch buy button
  • 0
  • 20
    Love of Life is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The All Time Greatest Daytime Soap Operas
    35
    48

    Love of Life

    Dana Delany, Christopher Reeve

    Premiered1951

    Love of Life is an American soap opera which aired on CBS from September 24, 1951, to February... moreamazon buy button
  • 0
  • 21
    The Bold and the Beautiful is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The All Time Greatest Daytime Soap Operas
    71
    146

    The Bold and the Beautiful

    John McCook, Katherine Kelly Lang

    Premiered1987

    The Bold and the Beautiful (CBS, 1987) is an American television soap opera created by William... more
  • 0
  • 22
    Generations is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The All Time Greatest Daytime Soap Operas
    30
    49

    Generations

    Amy Yasbeck, Kelly Rutherford

    Premiered1989

    Generations is an American soap opera that aired on NBC from March 27, 1989, to January 25,... moreamazon buy button
  • 0
  • 23
    The Doctors is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The All Time Greatest Daytime Soap Operas
    25
    55

    The Doctors

    Alec Baldwin, Kathleen Turner

    Premiered1963

    The Doctors is an American television soap opera which aired on NBC Daytime from April 1,... more
  • 0
  • 24
    Port Charles is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The All Time Greatest Daytime Soap Operas
    34
    56

    Port Charles

    Kelly Monaco, Amy Weber

    Premiered1997

    Port Charles is an American television soap opera which aired on ABC from June 1, 1997 to... moreamazon buy button

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  • 0
  • 25
    Loving is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The All Time Greatest Daytime Soap Operas
    23
    51

    Loving

    Julie Bowen, Bryan Cranston

    Premiered1983

    Loving is an American television soap opera that ran on ABC from June 26, 1983, to November... moreamazon buy button

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