Daytime Soaps Trivia - The Shows
Whether you are (or once were) a soap fan or just curious about the medium of daytime drama which has entertained and informed millions of people every weekday afternoon for over seventy years, the fun facts in this article are sure to make you a soap insider.
The longest continuous show of any type in broadcast history is GUIDING LIGHT, which premiered on the radio in 1937.
In 1965, there were 19 different daytime dramas airing every afternoon on television. Today, there only nine: four on CBS, three on ABC and two on NBC.
Following radio soap formats, daytimes television soaps were originally 15 minutes long. AS THE WORLD TURNS was daytime's first half-hour soap opera. ANOTHER WORLD was the first daytime drama to expand to a full hour and the only daytime drama ever to expand to a 90-minute format, which it kept for a year and a half in the late 1970's before returning to an hour.
Radio soaps often switched networks, but television soaps mainly stay put. The few that did switch are:
· SEARCH FOR TOMORROW went from CBS to NBC
· EDGE OF NIGHT went from CBS to ABC
· GENERATIONS was rerun in its entirety on BET after being cancelled by NBC, but no new episodes were produced.
· Today, thanks to SOAPNet, many shows are, of course, rerun on cable.
While spin-offs are popular on nighttime shows such as LAW & ORDER and CSI, they are rare in the realm of daytime drama. AS THE WORLD TURNS had a nighttime spin-off in 1965 titled OUR PRIVATE WORLD that lasted only four months. The character of Lisa Hughes (played by Eileen Fulton), around whom the spin-off was centered, played promptly returned to the mother show.
ANOTHER WORLD holds the distinction of having two spin-offs, SOMERSET in 1970 and TEXAS in 1980 in an unsuccessful attempt to cash on all the media hoopla and soap opera buzz that prime time sudser DALLAS had been creating in the nighttime ratings.
Some sources also cite the short-lived LOVERS & FRIENDS, which was shelved after four months on the air and then brought back later that same year with slight alterations and the new title of FOR RICHER, FOR POORER, as a spin-off of ANOTHER WORLD. The second incarnation lasted nine months before NBC pulled the plug for good. Neither LOVERS & FRIENDS nor FOR RICHER, FOR POORER should be considered a spin-off because no characters originating on a parent show left to anchor a new one. The writers and producers merely had characters from ANOTHER WORLD visit the new show in order to generate interest. These should be considered soap crossover storylines.
A somewhat similar occurrence happened on LOVE OF LIFE in 1969. A month before the debut of WHERE THE HEART IS, characters that would populate that show were introduced to the established LOVE OF LIFE to get viewers interested in them and their problems. This is also a form of crossover storylines, not a spin-off situation.
PORT CHARLES was a spin-off of GENERAL HOSPITAL in 1997.
THE DOCTORS (NBC) and GENERAL HOSPITAL (ABC) both premiered on the same day – April 1, 1963. THE DOCTORS lasted almost 20 years while GENERAL HOSPITAL continues going strong 43 years later.
PARADISE BAY and MORNING STAR both started and ended on NBC on exactly the same days, September 27, 1965 - July 1, 1966.
CBN, the Christian Broadcasting Network, had its own serial called ANOTHER LIFE for three years in the early 1980's. The title referred to the focus on the characters' spiritual lives and the possibility for redemption and reliance upon God, regardless of the challenges faced in life.
THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS has won more Emmy Awards than any other soap (as of the 33rd Annual Daytime Emmy Awards).
The reason creator Irna Phillips named GUIDING LIGHT as such was because of its religious overtones. The main character was a pastor who actually gave sermons on the air from time to time so the title referred to a spiritual GUIDING LIGHT. The show was actually called THE GUIDING LIGHT until "the" was dropped from the official title in the mid 70's.
The first soap ever to win a Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Achievement in Daytime Drama was THE DOCTORS.
The first Time cover (dated January 12, 1976) devoted to a soap opera featured Bill Hayes and Susan Seaforth Hayes who then played (and still do) Doug and Julie Williams on DAYS OF OUR LIVES. The headline read, "Soap Operas: Sex and Suffering in the Afternoon." Bill and Susan are married in real life as well as on the show.
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