Entertainment
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The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time

Updated January 14, 2021 21.3k votes 2.9k voters 104.1k views51 items

List RulesVote up the best soap operas of daytime or primetime.

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, American 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 TV 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.

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  • 1

    Dallas

    Larry Hagman, Patrick Duffy
    657
    427

    PremieredApril 2, 1978

  • 2

    All My Children

    Cameron Mathison, Michael E. Knight
    493
    297

    PremieredJanuary 5, 1970

  • 3

    Days of Our Lives

    Suzanne Rogers, Kristian Alfonso
    523
    409

    PremieredNovember 8, 1965

  • 4

    Dynasty

    John Forsythe, Linda Evans
    573
    466

    PremieredJanuary 12, 1981

  • 5

    General Hospital

    Maurice Benard, Steve Burton
    539
    352

    PremieredApril 1, 1963

  • 6

    Knots Landing

    Michele Lee, Ted Shackelford
    478
    378

    PremieredDecember 27, 1979

  • 7

    Another World

    Victoria Wyndham, Constance Ford
    390
    240

    PremieredMay 4, 1964

  • 8

    One Life to Live

    Hayden Panettiere, Kourtney Kardashian
    378
    269

    PremieredJuly 15, 1968

  • 9

    The Young and the Restless

    Eric Braeden, Peter Bergman
    522
    440

    PremieredMarch 26, 1973

  • 10

    Guiding Light

    Hayden Panettiere, Matt Bomer
    353
    286

    PremieredJanuary 25, 1937

  • 11

    Ryan's Hope

    Morgan Freeman, Angela Bassett
    240
    230

    PremieredJuly 7, 1975

  • 12

    As the World Turns

    Julianne Moore, Sarah Hyland
    308
    253

    PremieredApril 2, 1956

  • 13

    Dark Shadows

    Jonathan Frid, Grayson Hall
    340
    376

    PremieredJune 27, 1966

  • 14

    Santa Barbara

    Leonardo DiCaprio, Robin Wright
    303
    232

    PremieredJuly 30, 1984

  • 15

    Melrose Place

    Grant Show, Courtney Thorne-Smith
    319
    383

    PremieredJuly 8, 1992

  • 16

    The Bold and the Beautiful

    Katherine Kelly Lang, Jacqueline MacInnes Wood
    302
    372

    PremieredMarch 23, 1987

  • 17

    Falcon Crest

    Jane Wyman, Lorenzo Lamas
    296
    362

    PremieredDecember 4, 1981

  • 18

    Coronation Street

    Barbara Knox, Helen Worth
    237
    258

    PremieredDecember 9, 1960

  • 19

    Passions

    Lindsay Hartley, McKenzie Westmore
    261
    270

    Premiered1999

  • 20

    The Edge of Night

    Martin Sheen, Marcia Cross
    217
    191

    PremieredApril 2, 1956

  • 21

    EastEnders

    Steve McFadden, Adam Woodyatt
    185
    298

    Premiered1985

  • 22

    Peyton Place

    Mia Farrow, Leslie Nielsen
    167
    278

    PremieredSeptember 15, 1964

  • 23
    julie Nnyanzi added

    Sunset Beach

    Kelly Hu, Susan Ward
    159
    151

    PremieredJanuary 6, 1997

  • 24

    Search for Tomorrow

    Susan Sarandon, Viggo Mortensen
    132
    225

    PremieredSeptember 3, 1951

  • 25

    The Colbys

    Charlton Heston, Barbara Stanwyck
    136
    244

    Premiered1985