This past Friday, I shared the first eight longest running soap operas. Today, we'll look at the other ones. I know my grandmother watched some of these but I don't remember my mother ever being into soap operas. I did watch one for a week or two but after the supposed cave in due to an earthquake but it was so unbelievable, I quit and never watched another one.The one positive in regard to soap operas is that many a big name star got their start working on these.
In seventh place is Search for Tomorrow which premiered in 1951 and followed the lives of Jo and her family through divorce, marriage, and following generations. One actress remained with it the full 35 year run and Mary Stuart won the first daytime Emmy. This show also broached some very controversial themes in its time on the air but ratings dropped so it went off the air in 1986.
Coming in sixth place is All My Children beginning in 1970 and staying in production for 41 years. This ABC soap opera centered in Pine Valley just outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Rather than focusing on just one family, it looked at several families, their lives and relationships. This soap opera is famous for Susan Lucci being nominated for eighteen times but only won once. Due to dropping ratings, the show was canceled in 2011 but it was resurrected in 2013 for 30 minute shows online but they only lasted till 2013.
Next in fifth place is One Life to Live starting in 1968 on ABC. It took place in Llanview, Pennsylvania and documented the lives and interactions of the three richest families. There were enough interactions among the families and their off spring to keep the show running for 45 seasons until it went off the air in 2012. This is another show picked up for online viewing too.
Then in fourth place is The Young and The Restless premiering in 1973. This soap opera focused on the rich and working class in Genoa City, Wisconsin but CBS's version, not the real city. The families have battled for many long years and the show is still going to who knows how long it will continue.
Coming in third is As The World Turns beginning in 1956 and started out with 30 min episodes rather than the usual 15 minute ones. This show centered around three prominent families in Oakdale, Illinois. This CBS soap opera when off the air in 2010 after 54 seasons. When it went off the air, it's spot was taken over by The Talk.
Then in second place, Days of Our lives began in 1965 on NBC. This show centered on the lives of 5 families in the fictional city of Salem, located somewhere in the midwest. The show followed the gambit from marriages, divorces, love triangles, courtships, custody battles, switched identities, and so many other things. As of this column, this show is still on the air after 55 seasons.
And in first place, the award goes to General Hospital which premiered in 1963 on ABC. The show took place in Port Charles while centering on the Quartermaine Family. Over the time on the air, this show launched two spin-offs, and holds the record for the most Daytime Emmy awards. This is one of four soap operas still on the air.
There are several reasons soap operas are dying. Soap operas originally operated as vehicle for soap manufacturers to advertise their products but the manufacturers are now using social media so networks can no longer count on them for advertising dollars. In addition, the cost of making soap operas is much more expensive than the shows that replaced them.
I have trouble wrapping my head about a show that has been on for over 50 years when most evening shows seldom make it much past 10 or 15 seasons. Its like soap operas have a life of their own with birth, death, and a journey in-between. Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear. Have a great day.