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
346 276
Dynasty is listed (or ranked) 1 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

2
400 234
Dallas is listed (or ranked) 2 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

3
325 243
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
214 251
Melrose Place is listed (or ranked) 4 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

5
347 230
Days of Our Lives is listed (or ranked) 5 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

6
237 219
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
258 203
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
183 202
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
342 198
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
201 198
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
263 162
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
190 185
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
107 169
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
189 157
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
139 199
EastEnders is listed (or ranked) 15 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

16
225 169
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
125 171
Coronation Street is listed (or ranked) 17 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

18
158 137
Another World is listed (or ranked) 18 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

19
71 153
Neighbours is listed (or ranked) 19 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

20
140 181
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
46 142
Central Park West is listed (or ranked) 21 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

22
71 155
Hollyoaks is listed (or ranked) 22 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

23
68 112
Dynasty: The Reunion is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
Heather Locklear, Joan Collins, Linda Evans Dynasty: The Reunion is a 1991 miniseries reuniting the characters from the American prime time television soap opera Dynasty, a series which aired on ABC from 1981 to 1989 and was the ...more

24
97 90
Bewitched is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
Elizabeth Montgomery, Dick York, Dick Sargent Bewitched is an American TV situation comedy fantasy which was broadcast for eight seasons on ABC from 1964 to 1972. It was created by Sol Saks under executive director Harry Ackerman, and ...more

25
75 128
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

26
145 155
Santa Barbara is listed (or ranked) 26 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

27
94 130
Ryan's Hope is listed (or ranked) 27 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

28
75 138
Search for Tomorrow is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
Susan Sarandon, Viggo Mortensen, Kevin Bacon Search for Tomorrow is an American soap opera that aired on CBS from September 3, 1951 to March 26, 1982, and on NBC from March 29, 1982 to December 26, 1986. At the time of its final broadcast, ...more

29
53 142
Models Inc. is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
RichardBeecher 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

30
71 151
The Doctors is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
Alec Baldwin, Kathleen Turner, Terry O'Quinn The Doctors is an American television soap opera which aired on NBC Daytime from April 1, 1963, to December 31, 1982. There were 5280 episodes produced, with the 5000th episode airing in ...more

31
81 140
Emmerdale is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
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

32
50 117
Flamingo Road is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
SusanChildressBatey 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

33
77 134
Home and Away is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
dee123 added Isla Fisher, Chris Hemsworth, Melissa George Home and Away is an Australian television soap opera. It was created by Alan Bateman and has been produced in Sydney, New South Wales since July 1987. It commenced broadcast on the Seven Network ...more

34
69 85
General Hospital: Night Shift is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
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

35
52 107
Capitol is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
Teri Hatcher, Kelly Preston, Carol Alt Capitol is an American soap opera which aired on CBS from March 29, 1982 to March 20, 1987 for 1,270 episodes. As its name suggests, the storyline usually revolves around the political intrigues ...more

36
94 113
The Edge of Night is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
Martin Sheen, Marcia Cross, Lori Loughlin The Edge of Night is an American television mystery series/soap opera produced by Procter & Gamble. It debuted on CBS on April 2, 1956, and ran as a live broadcast on that network for most ...more

37
41 110
Brookside is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
JonathanWilliams added Anna Friel, Jennifer Ellison, Claire Sweeney Brookside was a British soap opera set in Liverpool, England. The series began on the launch night of Channel 4 on 2 November 1982, and ran for 21 years until 4 November 2003. Originally ...more

38
27 79
Return to Peyton Place is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
Mary Frann, John Hoyt, Frank Ferguson Return to Peyton Place is an American daytime serial which aired on NBC from April 3, 1972 to January 4, 1974. The series was a spin-off of the primetime drama series Peyton Place rather than an ...more

39
41 86
Doctors is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
Robert Cavanah, Ian Kelsey, Chris Walker Doctors is a British medical soap opera which first broadcast in the United Kingdom on BBC One on 27 March 2000. Set in the fictional Midlands town of Letherbridge, defined as being close to the ...more

40
52 112
Loving is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
Julie Bowen, Bryan Cranston, Elizabeth Mitchell Loving is an American television soap opera that ran on ABC from June 26, 1983, to November 10, 1995, a total of 3,169 episodes. The serial, set in the fictional town of Corinth, Pennsylvania, ...more

41
47 106
Savannah is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
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.

42
27 76
Pacific Palisades is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
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

43
37 103
Love of Life is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
Dana Delany, Christopher Reeve, Roy Scheider Love of Life is an American soap opera which aired on CBS from September 24, 1951, to February 1, 1980. It was created by Roy Winsor, whose previous creation Search for Tomorrow had premiered ...more

44
30 86
Love Is a Many Splendored Thin... is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
Susan Lucci, Donna Mills, Paul Michael Glaser Love Is a Many Splendored Thing is an American daytime soap opera which aired on CBS from September 18, 1967 to March 23, 1973. The series was created by Irna Phillips, who served as the first ...more

45
56 59
Sunset Beach is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
julie Nnyanzi added Kelly Hu, Susan Ward, Laura Harring Sunset Beach is an American television soap opera that aired on NBC from January 6, 1997 to December 31, 1999. The show follows the loves and lives of the people living in the Orange County ...more

46
61 68
Port Charles is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
Kelly Monaco, Amy Weber, Linda Purl Port Charles is an American television soap opera which aired on ABC from June 1, 1997 to October 3, 2003. It is a spin-off of the serial General Hospital, which had been running since 1963 and ...more

47
40 83
Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
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

48
22 74
Family Affairs is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
Sasha Pieterse, Cyril Nri, Antony Booth Family Affairs was a British soap opera that was aired on Channel 5. It debuted 30 March 1997 and screened as five thirty minute episodes each week. The series never achieved high ratings, so ...more

49
21 74
A Country Practice is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
Nicole Kidman, Ryan Kwanten, David Wenham A Country Practice was an Australian television drama series. It ran on the Seven Network for 1,058 episodes at 7.30 pm Monday and Tuesday nights, from 18 November 1981 to 22 November 1993. It ...more

50
24 82
Malibu Shores is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time
Keri Russell, Charisma Carpenter, Susan Ward Malibu Shores is an American primetime teen drama/soap opera that aired on Saturday Night at 8:00PM EST from March to June 1996 for ten episodes on NBC. Created by Aaron Spelling and starring ...more