1.3k voters

The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas

Updated January 14, 2021 10.6k votes 1.3k voters 49.9k views98 items

List RulesVote up the best primetime soap operas to have ever aired on television

Soap operas have been a staple of the television world since they first gained traction in the 1950s. However, it wasn’t until the 80s that the primetime soap was born. While a daytime soap airs every weekday and are usually targeted to an audience of bored housewives and college students, primetime soaps only air once a week, during primetime hours. Primetime soaps also target a wider audience, so they tend to be more realistic. However, they still retain the drama and shocking plot twists that make soap operas so appealing. This list of the best primetime soap operas to ever air on television has been voted on and ranked by the community.

In the 80s, primetime soaps were all the rage, with "Dallas," "Dynasty, and "Knots Landing" as topics of conversation and can't miss viewing for every TV lover. When something exciting happened on one of these shows, such as the shooting of JR, everybody knew about it.

Although the primetime soap  died out for a few years, it reemerged once again when "Desperate Housewives" became a huge hit. Since then primetime soaps have continued to entertain television fans.

What are the best primetime soap operas in the history of television? Vote up the all time best primetime soaps below and see where the soap operas you love to watch rank.


  • 1


    Heather Locklear, Virginia Hawkins
    Dynasty (ABC, 1981) is an American prime time television soap opera created by Richard and...  more

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  • 2


    Charlene Tilton, Victoria Principal
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  • 3

    Knots Landing

    Michele Lee, Ted Shackelford
    Knots Landing is an American primetime television soap opera that aired from December 27, 1979...  more

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  • 4

    Melrose Place

    Grant Show, Heather Locklear
    Melrose Place is an American primetime soap opera that aired on Fox from July 8, 1992 to May...  more

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  • 5

    Falcon Crest

    Jane Wyman, Lorenzo Lamas
    Falcon Crest is an American primetime television soap opera which aired on the CBS network for...  more

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  • 6

    Desperate Housewives

    Drea de Matteo, Eva Longoria
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  • 7

    Beverly Hills, 90210

    Lindsay Price, Gabrielle Carteris
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  • 8


    Steve McFadden, Adam Woodyatt
    EastEnders is a British soap opera; the first episode was broadcast in the United Kingdom on...  more

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  • 9


    Emily VanCamp, Christa B. Allen
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  • 10

    The Colbys

    Charlton Heston, Barbara Stanwyck
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  • 11

    Coronation Street

    Ian McKellen, Michelle Keegan
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  • 12

    Brothers and Sisters

    Mary Crosby, William Windom
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  • 13

    Grey's Anatomy

    Chris Carmack, T.R. Knight
    Grey's Anatomy (ABC, 2005) is an American medical soap opera television series created by...  more

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  • 14

    The O.C.

    Benjamin McKenzie, Autumn Reeser
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  • 15

    Peyton Place

    Mia Farrow, Leslie Nielsen
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  • 16

    Twin Peaks

    Catherine E. Coulson, Warren Frost
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  • 17

    Models Inc.

    Carrie-Anne Moss, Garcelle Beauvais
    Models Inc. is an American prime time soap opera that aired on the Fox television network...  more
  • 18

    Flamingo Road

    Mark Harmon, Morgan Fairchild
    Flamingo Road is an American prime time soap opera that aired on NBC. It was first seen as a...  more
  • 19

    Melrose Place

    Heather Locklear, Andrew Shue
    Melrose Place is an American television drama series broadcast on The CW from September 8,...  more

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  • 20

    Devious Maids

    Mark Deklin, Julie Claire
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  • 21

    Gossip Girl

    Blake Lively, Leighton Meester
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  • 22


    George Eads, Jamie Luner
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  • 23

    Central Park West

    Raquel Welch, John Barrowman
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  • 24

    One Tree Hill

    James Lafferty, Hilarie Burton
    One Tree Hill (The WB, 2003) is an American drama television series created by Mark Schwahn....  more

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  • 25


    Chris Carmack, Will Chase
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