soap operas The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas  

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List Rules Vote 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.

list ordered by

1
195 73
Dallas is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas
Dallas Larry Hagman, Ken Kercheval, Patrick Duffy Dallas is a long-running American prime time television soap opera that aired from April 2, 1978, to May 3, 1991, on CBS. The series revolves around a wealthy and feuding Texan family, the ...more

2
180 75
Dynasty is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas
Dynasty John Forsythe, Linda Evans, Joan Collins Dynasty is an American prime time television soap opera that aired on ABC from January 12, 1981 to May 11, 1989. The series, created by Richard and Esther Shapiro and produced by Aaron Spelling, ...more

3
175 73
Knots Landing is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas
Knots Landing Michele Lee, Ted Shackelford, Joan Van Ark Knots Landing is an American primetime television soap opera that aired from December 27, 1979 to May 13, 1993 on CBS. A spin-off of Dallas, it was set in a fictitious coastal suburb of Los ...more

4
144 79
Desperate Housewives is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas
Desperate Housewives Teri Hatcher, Felicity Huffman, Marcia Cross Desperate Housewives is an American television comedy-drama-mystery series created by Marc Cherry and produced by ABC Studios and Cherry Productions. It aired Sundays at 9 P.M. Eastern/8 P.M. ...more

5
139 79
Melrose Place is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas
Melrose Place Heather Locklear, Andrew Shue, Courtney Thorne-Smith Melrose Place is an American primetime soap opera that aired on Fox from July 8, 1992 to May 24, 1999, for seven seasons. The show follows the lives of a group of young adults living in an ...more

6
106 55
Falcon Crest is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas
Falcon Crest Jane Wyman, Lorenzo Lamas, Chao Li Chi Falcon Crest is an American primetime television soap opera which aired on the CBS network for nine seasons, from December 4, 1981 to May 17, 1990. A total of 227 episodes were produced. The ...more

7
97 74
Beverly Hills, 90210 is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas
Beverly Hills, 90210 Jason Priestley, Shannen Doherty, Luke Perry Beverly Hills, 90210 is an American drama series that originally aired from October 4, 1990 to May 17, 2000 on Fox and was produced by Spelling Television in the United States, and subsequently ...more

8
96 74
Revenge is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas
Revenge Madeleine Stowe, Emily VanCamp, Gabriel Mann Revenge is an American primetime television series that airs on ABC, starring Madeleine Stowe and Emily VanCamp, which debuted on September 21, 2011. During its first season it aired on ...more

9
68 51
Peyton Place is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas
Peyton Place 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

10
56 43
The Colbys is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas
JonathanWilliams added The Colbys Charlton Heston, Barbara Stanwyck, Katharine Ross The Colbys is an American prime time soap opera, which originally aired on ABC from November 20, 1985 to March 26, 1987. Produced by Aaron Spelling, it was a spin-off of Dynasty, which had been ...more

11
64 63
Melrose Place is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas
Melrose Place Heather Locklear, Andrew Shue, Courtney Thorne-Smith Melrose Place is an American television drama series broadcast on The CW from September 8, 2009 to April 13, 2010. The series is a sequel/continuation of the 1992 FOX TV series of the same name ...more

12
69 70
Grey's Anatomy is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas
Grey's Anatomy Ellen Pompeo, Justin Chambers, Chandra Wilson Grey's Anatomy is an American medical soap opera television series that premiered on American Broadcasting Company as a mid-season replacement on March 27, 2005. The series has aired eleven ...more

Longest Running US Soap Operas

13
60 61
Brothers and Sisters is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas
Brothers and Sisters Mary Crosby, William Windom, Larry Anderson Brothers and Sisters is an American sitcom that aired on NBC from January to April 1979. The series attempted to capitalize on the success of the 1978 motion picture National Lampoon's Animal ...more

14
72 79
The O.C. is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas
The O.C. Mischa Barton, Adam Brody, Peter Gallagher The O.C. is an American teen drama television series that originally aired on the Fox network in the United States from August 5, 2003, to February 22, 2007, running a total of four seasons. The ...more

15
24 20
Nip/Tuck is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas
Sadie Parker added Nip/Tuck Dylan Walsh, Julian McMahon, Joely Richardson Nip/Tuck is an American television drama series created by Ryan Murphy; it aired on FX in the United States from July 18, 2003 to March 3, 2010. The series focuses on "McNamara/Troy", ...more

16
35 36
Flamingo Road is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas
JonathanWilliams added Flamingo Road Mark Harmon, Morgan Fairchild, Stella Stevens Flamingo Road is an American prime time soap opera that aired on NBC. It was first seen as a TV movie on May 12, 1980, and as a series on January 6, 1981, after a rebroadcast of the pilot on ...more

17
58 66
Scandal is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas
Scandal Kerry Washington, Henry Ian Cusick, Columbus Short Scandal (ABC, 2012) is an American political thriller television series created by Shonda Rhimes. A former White House Communications Director (Kerry Washington) starts her own crisis management ...more

The Most Likeable TV Anti-Heroes

18
65 75
Gossip Girl is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas
Gossip Girl Blake Lively, Leighton Meester, Penn Badgley Gossip Girl is an American teen drama television series based on the book series of the same name written by Cecily von Ziegesar. The series, created by Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage, ...more

19
51 61
Savannah is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas
Savannah George Eads, Jamie Luner, Robyn Lively Savannah is an American prime time television drama that ran from January 21, 1996 to February 24, 1997 on The WB. It was created by Constance M. Burge and produced by Aaron Spelling.

20
50 60
Ugly Betty is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas
Ugly Betty America Ferrera, Eric Mabius, Tony Plana Ugly Betty is an American comedy-drama television series developed by Silvio Horta, which premiered on ABC on September 28, 2006, and ended on April 14, 2010. The series revolves around the ...more

21
45 56
Nashville is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas
Nashville Connie Britton, Clare Bowen, Hayden Panettiere Nashville is an American musical drama television series. It was created by Academy Award winner Callie Khouri and produced by R.J. Cutler, Khouri, Dee Johnson, Steve Buchanan, and Connie ...more

22
49 62
90210 is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas
90210 Shenae Grimes-Beech, Tristan Wilds, AnnaLynne McCord 90210 is an American teen drama television series, developed by Rob Thomas, Gabe Sachs and Jeff Judah, that aired on The CW from September 2, 2008 to May 13, 2013. It is the fourth series in the ...more

The Very Best British Soap Operas, Ranked

23
39 50
Models Inc. is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas
KeithBrennett added Models Inc. Carrie-Anne Moss, Garcelle Beauvais, Emma Samms Models Inc. is an American prime time soap opera that aired on the Fox television network during the 1994–95 television season. It is the third series in the Beverly Hills, 90210 franchise. The ...more

24
54 71
One Tree Hill is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas
One Tree Hill Chad Michael Murray, James Lafferty, Hilarie Burton One Tree Hill is an American television drama series created by Mark Schwahn, which premiered on September 23, 2003 on The WB. After the series' third season, The WB merged with UPN to form The ...more

25
50 66
Dawson's Creek is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas
Dawson's Creek James Van Der Beek, Katie Holmes, Michelle Williams Dawson's Creek is an American teen drama television series about the fictional lives of a close-knit group of friends beginning in high school and continuing in college. The series stars James ...more

26
41 55
Central Park West is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas
JonathanWilliams added Central Park West Raquel Welch, John Barrowman, Lauren Hutton Central Park West is an American prime time television soap opera that ran from September 1995 to June 1996 on CBS. The series was created and executive produced by Melrose Place's Darren Star. ...more

27
17 23
Footballers' Wives is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas
Orlando Costa added Footballers' Wives Gillian Taylforth, Zöe Lucker, Gary Lucy Footballers' Wives is a British television drama surrounding the fictional Premier League football club Earls Park F.C., its players, and their wives. It was broadcast on the ITV network from 8 ...more

The Best Movies Based on TV Shows

28
24 34
Titans is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas
JonathanWilliams added Titans Yasmine Bleeth, John Barrowman, Victoria Principal Titans is an American prime time soap opera that debuted on October 4, 2000 on NBC. Thirteen episodes were filmed, of which eleven were actually aired. Produced by Aaron Spelling, the series was ...more

29
15 21
Hotel is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas
Sadie Parker added Hotel James Brolin, Anne Baxter, Michelle Phillips Hotel is an American prime time drama series which aired on ABC from September 21, 1983, to May 5, 1988, in the timeslot following Dynasty. Based on Arthur Hailey's 1965 novel of the same name, ...more

30
38 55
Felicity is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas
Felicity Keri Russell, Scott Speedman, Scott Foley Felicity is an American prime time television drama series that was created by J. J. Abrams and Matt Reeves and produced by Touchstone Television and Imagine Television for The WB Television ...more

31
33 49
St. Elsewhere is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas
St. Elsewhere Ed Begley Jr., William Daniels, Howie Mandel St. Elsewhere is an American medical drama black comedy television series that originally ran on NBC from October 26, 1982, to May 25, 1988. The series starred Ed Flanders, Norman Lloyd and ...more

32
18 27
Sisters is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas
JonathanWilliams added Sisters Swoosie Kurtz, Patricia Kalember, Sela Ward Sisters is a television drama which aired on NBC for six seasons, from 1991 to 1996. The series was created by Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman, who were also the executive producers and showrunners. ...more

The Best 1980s Primetime TV Shows

33
20 31
Pacific Palisades is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas
JonathanWilliams added Pacific Palisades Joan Collins, Michelle Stafford, Finola Hughes Pacific Palisades is an American soap opera that aired on Fox during prime time from April to July 1997. Produced by Aaron Spelling, the show was cancelled after just thirteen episodes despite a ...more

34
23 40
Pasadena is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas
Pasadena Dana Delany, Philip Baker Hall, Alison Lohman Pasadena is an American primetime soap opera originally broadcast in the U.S. from September 2001 to July 2002 on Fox.

35
16 30
2000 Malibu Road is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas
JonathanWilliams added 2000 Malibu Road Drew Barrymore, Jennifer Beals, Lisa Hartman Black 2000 Malibu Road is a prime time American soap opera that aired on CBS in the summer of 1992. The series stars Drew Barrymore, Jennifer Beals, Brian Bloom, Scott Bryce, Lisa Hartman, Tuesday ...more

36
16 30
Paper Dolls is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas
JonathanWilliams added Paper Dolls Morgan Fairchild, Nicollette Sheridan, Alexandra Paul Paper Dolls is an American prime time soap opera which aired for 14 episodes on ABC from September 23, 1984 to December 25, 1984. Set in New York's fashion industry, the show centered on top ...more

37
5 14
North Shore is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas
Sadie Parker added North Shore Shannen Doherty, Matt Bomer, Amanda Righetti North Shore is an American prime-time soap opera that aired on Fox every Monday at 8 p.m. EST for seven months in 2004 and 2005. It centered on the staff and guests of the fictional Grand Waimea ...more

80 Great Jobs That Don't Require a College Degree

38
22 43
EastEnders is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas
EastEnders Steve McFadden, Adam Woodyatt, Pam St. Clement EastEnders is a British soap opera; the first episode was broadcast in the United Kingdom on BBC One on 19 February 1985. EastEnders storylines examine the domestic and professional lives of the ...more

39
7 19
Everwood is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas
Sadie Parker added Everwood Treat Williams, Gregory Smith, Emily VanCamp Everwood is an American drama television series that initially aired in the United States on The WB. The series is set in the fictional small town of Everwood, Colorado, and was filmed in Ogden, ...more

40
13 32
Emerald Point N.A.S. is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas
JonathanWilliams added Emerald Point N.A.S. Sela Ward, Jill St. John, Susan Dey Emerald Point N.A.S is an American television drama starring Dennis Weaver that premiered on CBS on Monday, September 26, 1983. It was cancelled in 1984 after twenty-two weeks, its final episode ...more

41
11 30
Bare Essence is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas
JonathanWilliams added Bare Essence Ian McShane, Jennifer O'Neill, Jessica Walter Bare Essence is an American television soap opera which aired on the NBC network during the 1982-1983 season. Bare Essence starred popular daytime soap actress Genie Francis and dealt with the ...more

42
19 44
Coronation Street is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas
Coronation Street Ian McKellen, Michelle Keegan, Helen Flanagan Coronation Street is a British soap opera created by Granada Television and shown on ITV since 1960. The programme centres on Coronation Street in Weatherfield, a fictional town based on ...more

The Best '90s Daytime Soap Operas

43
11 31
Berrenger's is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas
JonathanWilliams added Berrenger's Jonelle Allen, Laura Ashton, Claudia Christian Berrenger's is an American primetime television soap opera created by Diana Gould that aired on NBC in 1985. The series revolved around the Berrenger family, a New York dynasty which owned the ...more

44
24 54
Dirty Sexy Money is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas
Dirty Sexy Money Peter Krause, Donald Sutherland, William Baldwin Dirty Sexy Money is an American prime time drama series created by Craig Wright. It ran on ABC from September 26, 2007 to August 8, 2009. The series was produced by ABC Studios, Bad Hat Harry ...more

45
12 33
The Monroes is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas
JonathanWilliams added The Monroes Susan Sullivan, William Devane, Steven Eckholdt The Monroes is a primetime soap opera starring William Devane and Susan Sullivan, that ran from September 12, 1995 to October 19, 1995 on ABC. The Monroes capitalizes on the rise of high drama ...more

46
18 53
Degrassi: The Next Generation is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas
Degrassi: The Next Generation Stefan Brogren, Aislinn Paul, Melinda Shankar Degrassi: The Next Generation is a Canadian teen drama television series set in the Degrassi universe, which was created by Linda Schuyler and Kit Hood in 1979. Degrassi is the fourth fictional ...more

47
3 17
Dirt is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas
Sadie Parker added Dirt Courteney Cox, Shannyn Sossamon, Alexandra Breckenridge Dirt is an American television serial broadcast on the FX network. It premiered on January 2, 2007 and starred Courteney Cox as Lucy Spiller, the editor-in-chief of the first-of-its-kind ...more

48
14 47
Emmerdale is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas
Emmerdale Jenna Coleman, Patsy Kensit, Sammy Winward Emmerdale, known as Emmerdale Farm until 1989, is a long-running British soap opera set in Emmerdale, a fictional village in the Yorkshire Dales. Created by Kevin Laffan, Emmerdale Farm was ...more

49
17 58
Smash is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas
Smash Debra Messing, Jack Davenport, Katharine McPhee Smash is an American musical drama television series created by playwright Theresa Rebeck and developed by Robert Greenblatt for NBC. Steven Spielberg served as one of the executive producers. ...more

50
6 31
The Yellow Rose is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas
JonathanWilliams added The Yellow Rose Cybill Shepherd, Sam Elliott, Deborah Shelton The Yellow Rose is an American television series. It was broadcast on the NBC network during the 1983-1984 season. It was produced by Paul Freeman. The series was at least partly inspired by the ...more