Soap Operas The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time  

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From daytime to primetime, soap operas have been a staple of television since Faraway Hill first aired in 1946. However, it wasn’t until the 50s that soaps really took off. Many of the most popular soap operas from the 50s first began as radio programs. For the next 6 decades, soap operas ruled the airways during both daytime and primetime, becoming obsessions for millions of people. Many of these soap operas spanned decades, introducing many new characters and twisty plots all the time.

Many soaps dealt with the same types of settings. Days of Our LivesGeneral Hospital, and The Doctors were all set in hospitals, while many other popular soaps like Dynasty surrounded the lives of wealthy families. There were also a few supernatural soap operas over the years, such as Dark ShadowsPassions, and Port Charles.

As the World TurnsGeneral Hospital, and The Young and the Restless were the highest rated soaps at one point in time. Primetime soaps, airing only once a week, have become incredibly popular as well.

What are the best soap operas ever? This list of the best soap operas of all time has been ranked by the community. Cast your votes for the greatest soap operas below and see how the soaps you think are great rank.

list ordered by

1
444 249
Dallas is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
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
373 308
Dynasty is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
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
346 276
The Young and the Restless is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
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

4
373 260
Days of Our Lives is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
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

5
227 287
Melrose Place is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
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
250 249
Dark Shadows is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
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

7
268 234
Knots Landing is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
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

8
191 235
Falcon Crest is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
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

9
365 223
General Hospital is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
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
214 230
The Bold and the Beautiful is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
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

11
290 182
All My Children is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
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

12
210 209
Guiding Light is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
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

13
110 198
Peyton Place is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
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

14
201 183
As the World Turns is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
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

15
192 141
Another World is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
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

16
240 192
One Life to Live is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
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

17
142 231
EastEnders is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
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

18
139 195
Coronation Street is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
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

19
124 134
Ryan's Hope is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
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

20
161 197
Passions is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
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

21
169 168
Santa Barbara is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
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

22
76 173
Neighbours is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
dee123 added 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

23
48 160
Central Park West is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
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

24
73 172
Hollyoaks is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
dee123 added Gemma Atkinson, Roxanne McKee, Emma Rigby Hollyoaks is a British soap opera, first broadcast on Channel 4 on 23 October 1995. It was originally devised by Phil Redmond, who had also devised the Channel 4 soap Brookside. The programme is ...more

25
79 144
The Colbys is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
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