Three Decades of ABC Soap Operas

American Icons
on May 9, 2004

For more than three decades, ABC’s daytime programming has remained a guilty pleasure. ABC’s soap operas offer an escape from our own problems into a fantasy world that is far more dramatic than one we could ever imagine.

All My Children, One Life to Live and General Hospital have become such mainstays that fans almost take them for granted. While other shows have come and gone, or replaced their main characters through bizarre story plots, these three Emmy-winning soaps have stayed true to the formula that first made them popular decades ago.

The day begins with All My Children (1 p.m. ET), which is set in the fictional town of Pine Valley. The show still features several of its original characters, including Erica Kane (played by Susan Lucci), who remains one of the most fascinating and manipulative characters on television today.

For instance, in this week’s episodes, Kane’s attempt to create a new life in Las Vegas is revealed. When her daughter Bianca learns her secret, will she give up on her mother for good? Meanwhile, Erica’s other daughter, Kendall, is on a quest to find her true love before he marries her nemesis.

Next comes One Life to Live (2 p.m. ET), which follows the lives of several intriguing families, including the Lords and Buchanans. This week reveals the race to save the life of Starr Manning, a strong-willed teenager who has been kidnapped in New York. Her parents struggle to find her as the kidnapper becomes irrational after a ransom attempt goes wrong.

And finally, the daily drama ends with General Hospital (3 p.m. ET), which is set in Port Charles, N.Y. Fans of the show have tuned in for years to follow the enduring love story of Luke and Laura Spencer, and the saga continues this week. Luke is struggling to build his life without Laura because she’s been committed to a mental institution. But Laura has escaped the hospital, or at least it seems at first glance that it’s Laura. Is it really her? You just never know what will happen on ABC’s daytime shows.

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