‘General Hospital’ and the Longest-Running Soap Operas of All Time

Soap operas like General Hospital and The Young and the Restless are popular daytime TV programs. The soap opera genre began back in the 1930s with broadcasts on radio, but by 1949 had switched to television. There have been many shows throughout the decades, some short-lived, others enjoying long tenures. Let’s look at some of the longest-running soap operas.

The soap opera 'General Hospital' recently celebrated its 15,000 episode.
General Hospital I Liliane Lathan via Getty Images

‘General Hospital’ is currently the longest-running soap opera with 59 seasons

Out of the four remaining soap operas, General Hospital holds the title of the longest-running show. The series was created by Frank and Doris Hursley and premiered on ABC on April 1, 1963. The show is in its 59th season and recently celebrated its 15,000th episode dedicated to beloved heroine Laura Collins (Genie Francis).

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‘Guiding Light’ is the second longest-running soap opera with 57 seasons

Guiding Light started as a radio soap opera in 1937, but it was on TV by June 30, 1952. The show became part of the CBS lineup and introduced memorable characters such as Reva Shayne (Kim Zimmer) and Josh Lewis (Robert Newman). After 57 years and 15,762 episodes, the show aired its finale on September 18, 2009.

‘Days of Our Lives’ is in its 56th season and still going strong

On November 8, 1956, Days of Our Lives premiered on NBC and became the network’s most popular soap opera. The show takes place in Salem and is famous for iconic families like the Hortons and the Bradys. The series is currently in its 56th season and, according to Variety.com, has been renewed for Seasons 57 and 58. So fans can expect more excitement in the coming years for Salem.

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‘As the World Turns’ ended after 54 seasons

Another of the CBS network’s beloved soap operas was As the World Turns. The show was the brainchild of Irna Phillips and premiered on April 2, 1956. The series became popular thanks to families such as the Snyders and the Hughes. After 54 seasons and 13,858 episodes, the finale aired on September 17, 2010.

‘The Young and the Restless’ is in its 49th season

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The Young and the Restless is one of the two remaining soap operas on CBS. It premiered on March 26, 1973, and is the brainchild of William J. Bell and his wife, Lee Phillip Bell. The Bells made the show successful by creating iconic characters like Victor Newman (Eric Braeden). The show is still going strong and is renewed through 2024, so fans can expect more drama to unfold in Genoa City.

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