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The Greatest Soap Operas Ever Aired

There are a lot of ways you can determine the best soap operas of all-time but, if you use the number of episodes aired, here are the top five.

Are you a fan of soap operas? If so, you have likely spent hours debating and arguing with your friends and family members about the greatest soap opera of all-time.

If the number of episodes aired is any indicator, there are some that have separated themselves from the others. According to this infographic, we can easily conclude that the Guiding Light is the greatest show of all-time, recording nearly 16,000 episodes in 57 seasons. That is really a crazy number!

Soap operas have truly become an international phenomenon, as there are hundreds of them produced across the globe. Many who have starred, directed, or produced these shows have gone on to become famous in the film industry, even winning awards internationally. There are talented people producing soap operas.

Considering that longevity is a real indicator of fan allegiance, we bring you the top five soap operas of all-time based upon this criterion.

  1. Guiding Light

The Guiding Light first began in 1952 and ran for 57 seasons before finally calling it a wrap in 2009. That is a ridiculous amount of time, as teenagers who watched this show when it first aired would be grandparents, maybe even great-grandparents watching with their grandchildren by the time the show ended.

The show won 106 Emmy awards and was nominated for 450. In its 57 seasons, it ran 15,762 episodes until the series was finally canceled on April 1, 2009. Love it or hate it, this soap opera became the gold standard for all other soap operas and currently has aired more than 1000 episodes than its nearest competitor.

  1. General Hospital

General Hospital started back in 1963 and amazingly is still going strong today. With 14,544 episodes aired over 58 seasons, this is the longest-running soap opera in television history, and is the second-longest-running drama in the history of television, trailing only the Guiding Light. It is also the longest-running serial television program produced in Hollywood. General Hospital has received 589 Emmy nominations, winning a record 285.

General Hospital began as a series focused on the lives of doctors, nurses, and patients in a hospital but, in the late 1970s, the show focused on two families, the Quartermaines and the Spencers. Since the transition, it has remained at the top of the ratings, especially after turning to the love affair of Luke and Laura, whose wedding attracted over 30 million viewers.

  1. Days of Our Lives

Days of Our Lives began in 1965 and is still going strong today. There have been 13,867 episodes aired, and the show has been nominated for 460 daytime Emmy awards, winning 226.

The show was focused around two families, the Hortons and the Bradys, who lived in the town of Salem. While other families have been added over the years, the focus on these two families during that has kept the show going strong.

Days of Our Lives is the most widely distributed soap opera in the United States and is one of the most widely syndicated shows across the globe. While the storylines have kept audiences returning, what has made the show so memorable is its opening tagline, "Like sands through the hourglass, so are the Days of Our Lives." This is one of the most recognizable lines in television history.

  1. As the World Turns

As the World Turns began in 1956 and ran for 54 years before ending in 2010. The show produced 13,858 episodes and was nominated for 456 daytime Emmys. It received 90 such awards.

As the World Turns was originally run as a sister show to Guiding Light, helping to make CBS the top daytime station on television for over 40 years. From 1958 until 1978, As the World Turns was the most popular daytime soap opera, drawing an average of over 10 million viewers per day.

  1. The Young and the Restless

After 47 years, The Young and the Restless is still running strong. The soap opera has aired 11,932 episodes and has been nominated for 679 daytime Emmys, and all-time record. It has received 279 awards, ranking it second only to General Hospital.

The program initially focused on two families, the Brooks, and the Fosters, but was replaced by the Abbotts and the Williamses in the early 1980s.

The Young and the Restless has spawned sister shows, including The Bold and the Beautiful.

Soap operas have done an amazing job of attracting audiences for generations. It is amazing to think that some who were watching the shows when they first aired are watching them with grandchildren and great-grandchildren today. It truly is a testament to how the right kind of storyline can keep you on the air for 50 years or more.



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About Bruno

chatelin bruno

This Blog in french, is managed by Bruno Chatelin

It covers the french film festivals circuit with ambience and news.
Videos and audio podcasts.

C'est qui Bruno?
HEC, publicitaire chez Intermarco Publicis, DMM et JWT puis distributeur chez Sony Pictures (Directeur Marketing) de 1987 à 1995 puis UGC FOX (Directeur Général de 95 à 97, à la création du GIE)

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