Soap Opera DigestFrom secret pregnancies to faked deaths, steamy romances to messy divorces and twisted schemes to family curses, soap operas once provided millions of Americans with a daily douse of drama and suspense.

Today, soap lovers have very few programming options. General Hospital and The Young and the Restless still air, but many all-time favorites like Passions, As the World Turns and Guiding Light have been canceled.

Once upon a time, the daytime shows were exclusively loved by housewives but the programs quickly picked up a loyal fan base of children, men and women of all ages. Soaps have even laid the format and story lines for many of today’s popular shows.

Despite budget cuts and declined viewership, producers are finding a way to make soaps relevant again.

Last month, Prospect Park and The Online Network announced that All My Children, which aired from 1970 to 2011, and One Life to Live, which aired from 1968 to 2012, will be returning online. This spring the long-running soaps will premiere with weekly half-hour episodes on Hulu, Hulu Plus and iTunes.

Are you a soap fan? Do you think All My Children and One Life to Live will be able to reach its peak again? What soap operas did you or do you watch?

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  • mo

    That is what I say all of the time. The faux drama, the crazy situations, the over the top personalities and the BAD acting of current reality shows really does mirror the soap opera genre.

  • jrmint

    I watch Y&R and GH everyday as soon as i get home from work, it relaxes me after a long day!! I used to schedule my college classes around GH, but now thanks to tivo i’ll catch them sooner or later. I won’t watch the online shows although i used to love AMC until it went off the air, but two soaps is enough for me.

  • Jim

    Soaps have compelling characters, tapping into themes of family, community, warmth, humor, romance, and drama, touching on contemporary issues in an addicitve cliffhanger format. They will always be relevant, and I will definitely be watching the online version of All My Children.

    Right now the best soap is Days of Our Lives, which has become a character-driven, relatively realistic soap. The custody situation over best friends Will and Gabi’s baby is being handled exquisitely, tying together a number of families and characters, including how Will’s boyfriend Sonny and his family are responding to the situation. (Will is gay, but Gabi is an ex-girlfriend and they had sex when he was still confused about his sexuality.)