Soap Operas The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas  

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6.4k votes 824 voters 29k views 91 items

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
249 103
Dallas is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas
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
244 100
Dynasty is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas
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
226 94
Knots Landing is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas
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
138 76
Falcon Crest is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas
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

5
176 108
Desperate Housewives is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas
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

6
171 104
Melrose Place is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas
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

7
94 68
Peyton Place is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The All-Time Best Primetime 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

8
122 97
Beverly Hills, 90210 is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas
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

9
110 101
Revenge is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas
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

10
73 65
The Colbys is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas
JonathanWilliams added 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
96 93
Grey's Anatomy is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas
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

12
97 97
The O.C. is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas
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

13
56 50
Flamingo Road is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas
JonathanWilliams added 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

14
76 78
Brothers and Sisters is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas
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

15
75 90
Melrose Place is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas
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

16
69 84
Scandal is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas
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

17
77 95
Gossip Girl is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas
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

18
64 80
Savannah is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas
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.

19
52 67
Central Park West is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas
JonathanWilliams added 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

20
56 73
Nashville is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas
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

21
32 39
Nip/Tuck is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas
Sadie Parker added 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

22
67 90
One Tree Hill is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas
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

23
57 78
90210 is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas
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

24
61 84
Dawson's Creek is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas
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

25
4 1
Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas
horseplayer added Greg Mullavey, Louise Lasser, Graham Jarvis Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman is an American soap opera parody that aired in daily syndication from January 1976 to May 1977. The series was produced by Norman Lear, directed by Joan Darling and ...more

26
45 63
Models Inc. is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas
KeithBrennett added 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

27
3 0
Twin Peaks is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas
RobertA.Davis added Kyle MacLachlan, Russ Tamblyn, Sherilyn Fenn Twin Peaks (Showtime, 2017) is a miniseries that follows FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) in a continuation of the original 1990 series, created by David Lynch.

28
3 0
Riverdale is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas
RobertA.Davis added KJ Apa, Lili Reinhart, Camila Mendes Riverdale (The CW, 2017) is an American teen drama television series developed by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, based on the characters of Archie Comics. The series follows Archie Andrews' (KJ Apa) ...more

29
34 47
Titans is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas
JonathanWilliams added 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

30
24 32
Hotel is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas
Sadie Parker added 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

31
54 78
Ugly Betty is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas
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

32
2 0
Homefront is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas
RobertA.Davis added John Slattery, Kyle Chandler, Kelly Rutherford Homefront is an American television drama series created and produced by Lynn Marie Latham and Bernard Lechowick in association with Warner Bros. Television for ABC. The show was set in the ...more

33
2 0
The Haves And The Have Nots is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas
RobertA.Davis added Gavin Houston Written, directed and produced by Tyler Perry, "The Haves and the Have Nots" is a drama series following the dynamics of the affluent Cryer family and the impoverished family of Hanna, ...more

34
41 61
St. Elsewhere is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas
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

35
1 0
Devious Maids is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas
RobertA.Davis added Ana Ortiz, Dania Ramirez, Judy Reyes Devious Maids is an American television comedy-drama series created by Marc Cherry, produced by ABC Studios and executive produced by Cherry, Sabrina Wind, Eva Longoria, Paul McGuigan, Larry ...more

36
1 0
Blood And Oil is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas
RobertA.Davis added Naomie Harris, David Oyelowo, Jodhi May Award-winning writer Guy Hibbert's new drama tells the story of two British women and their extraordinary journey deep into the hinterland of the Niger Delta – a beautiful but highly dangerous ...more

37
1 0
General Hospital: Night Shift is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas
RobertA.Davis added Billy Dee Williams, Nazanin Boniadi, Antonio Sabàto General Hospital: Night Shift is an American prime time serial that first aired on Soapnet for a 13-episode run from July 12, 2007 to October 4, 2007. A spin-off of the ABC Daytime soap opera ...more

38
1 1
Jane the Virgin is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas
RobertA.Davis added Gina Rodriguez, Andrea Navedo, Yael Grobglas Jane the Virgin (The CW, 2014) is an American satirical romantic comedy-drama telenovela developed by Jennie Snyder Urman. A working, religious young Latina virgin (Gina Rodriguez) becomes ...more

39
1 1
Neighbours is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas
Kylie Minogue, Russell Crowe, Margot Robbie Neighbours is an Australian television soap opera. It was first broadcast on the Seven Network on 18 March 1985. It was created by TV executive Reg Watson, who proposed the idea of making a show ...more

40
24 38
Sisters is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas
JonathanWilliams added 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

41
0 0
Deception is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas
RobertA.Davis added Meagan Good, Victor Garber, Laz Alonso Deception is an American prime time television soap opera airing on NBC. The series, created by Liz Heldens, premiered on Monday, January 7, 2013. On May 8, 2013, NBC canceled Deception after ...more

42
0 0
Four Corners is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas
RobertA.Davis added Four Corners Ann-Margret, Wilmer Valderrama, Justin Chambers Four Corners is an American prime time television drama that ran from February 24, 1998 to March 3, 1998 on CBS. It was produced by David Jacobs of Dallas and Knots Landing fame.

43
0 0
Hyperion Bay is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas
RobertA.Davis added Hyperion Bay Carmen Electra, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Christina Moore Hyperion Bay is an American drama series that ran for one season on The WB Television Network from September 1998 to March 1999.

44
0 0
Wicked Wicked Games is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas
RobertA.Davis added Tatum O'Neal, Joan Severance, Debbe Dunning Wicked Wicked Games is a telenovela that debuted on December 6, 2006 on the American television network MyNetworkTV. Twentieth Television produced 63 episodes to air weekdays. The limited-run ...more

45
0 0
Secrets of Midland Heights is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas
RobertA.Davis added Secrets of Midland Heights Linda Hamilton, Melora Hardin, Lorenzo Lamas Secrets of Midland Heights is a short-lived American nighttime soap opera which ran on CBS from December 6, 1980 to January 24, 1981 for eight episodes. Produced after the enormous success of ...more

46
0 0
Watch Over Me is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas
RobertA.Davis added Jaimie Alexander, Catherine Oxenberg, Casper Van Dien Watch Over Me is an American Television series that debuted on December 6, 2006 on the television network MyNetworkTV. Twentieth Television produced 66 episodes to air weekdays. The limited-run ...more

47
0 0
Lone Star is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas
RobertA.Davis added Adrianne Palicki, Jon Voight, David Keith Lone Star is an American one-hour drama television series which premiered on the Fox network on September 20, 2010.

48
0 0
American Heiress is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas
RobertA.Davis added American Heiress AnnaLynne McCord, Joe Manganiello, Theresa Russell American Heiress is a telenovela which debuted on March 13, 2007 at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT on the American television network MyNetworkTV. This romantic melodrama tells the story of a roughneck ...more

49
0 0
Point Pleasant is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas
RobertA.Davis added Elisabeth Harnois, Grant Show, Sam Page Point Pleasant is a television series that first aired on the Fox Network in January 2005. It was cancelled in March 2005 due to poor ratings. Point Pleasant boasted many of the same crew behind ...more

50
0 0
Hidden Palms is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas
RobertA.Davis added Amber Heard, Tessa Thompson, Gail O'Grady Hidden Palms is an American teen drama television series that ran from May 30 until July 4, 2007, on The CW in the United States. It was canceled after eight first-run episodes. The series, ...more