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 Lives, General 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 Shadows, Passions, and Port Charles.
As the World Turns, General 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.
375Larry Hagman, Ken Kercheval
460John Forsythe, Linda Evans
262Cameron Mathison, Michael E. Knight
331Eva Longoria, James Franco
377Michele Lee, Ted Shackelford
401Kristian Alfonso, Matthew Ashford
447Eva Longoria, Shemar Moore
223Victoria Wyndham, Constance Ford
255Hayden Panettiere, Kourtney Kardashian
221Morgan Freeman, Angela Bassett
303Hayden Panettiere, Matt Bomer
395Jonathan Frid, Grayson Hall
270Julianne Moore, Sarah Hyland
229Leonardo DiCaprio, Robin Wright
415Heather Locklear, Andrew Shue
374John McCook, Katherine Kelly Lang
378Jane Wyman, Lorenzo Lamas
188Martin Sheen, Marcia Cross
262Ian McKellen, Michelle Keegan
268Lindsay Hartley, McKenzie Westmore
Sunset BeachKelly Hu, Susan Ward
250Charlton Heston, Barbara Stanwyck
234Susan Sarandon, Viggo Mortensen
184Julie Bowen, Bryan Cranston
304Mia Farrow, Leslie Nielsen