NBC Soap Operas

Sunday, January 23 by Glennice Fryson

For soap opera fans and all interested parties, below is a list of NBC soap operas airing from the NBC days of radio until the inception of television. Originally, soap operas began on radio and were produced targeting housewives who wanted something to keep them entertained while they performed their daily household duties. Thus began the creation of soap operas, the brainstorm of soap manufacturers such as Procter & Gamble, Palmolive and Colgate.  

  1. "Guiding Light" "Guilding Light" began in 1937 on NBC radio sponsored by Proctor and Gamble. The writer, Irna Phillips, based the storyline on her personal experience after giving birth to a stillborn baby. The first shows were in fifteen minute increments.
  2. "These Are My Children" Another series created and written by Irna Phillips, "TAMC" was based on a widow of Irish decent struggling to raise three children by running a boarding house and helping a new daughter-in-law. The show ran onl 24 days before being pulled from the airways.  
  3. "The Doctors" NBC's own medical soap opera began in 1963. It was set in Port Charles, New York, a fictional city. "The Doctors" was based on medical emergencies seen by physicians. The show evolved around hospital Chief of Staff Mathew Powers who was originally played by James Pritchett.
  4. "Soap Opera" aired in 1986. The show failed miserably, which was blamed on poor writing. Larry Haines, one of the actors, was quoted saying, "'Soap Opera' is a story.  It should be a continuing story rather than disoriented, meaningless adventures."
  5. "Generations" ran from 1989 to 1991 and was the first soap opera to feature an African-American family. The series was set in the Windy City of Chicago. Some of the more notable characters from the series are Lela Rochon (Brandy), Vivica A. Fox (Maya Reubens), Joan Pringle (Ruth Marshall).
  6. "Another World" ran from May 1964 till June 1999 and was one of the first television shows to discuss abortion when even the mere mention of the word was taboo. From "Another World," two successful spin offs were born, "Somerset" and "Bay City." "Another World" has a phenomenal list of notable cast members, which include names such as Morgan Freeman, Kelsey Grammer, Jackee Harry, Anne Heche, Audra Lindley, Ray Liotta, Lindsay Lohan, Rue McClanahan, Chris Noth, Ed O'Neill, Luke Perry, Brad Pitt, Ving Rhames, Eric Roberts, Ted Shackelford, Jean Smart and Justin Chambers.
  7. "Days of Our Lives" aired November 1965. In February 2005, the soap aired it's 10,000th episode. "Days Of Our Lives" was also another soap that covered topics other shows and movies would dare not cover. It was a groundbreaking show and spearheaded discussions on topics and events that changed thinking.
  8. "Passions" This NBC soap opera aired July 1999. "Passions" was created by James Reilly and produced by NBC studios. Multiracial families and a town witch kept interest brewing in Harmony, New England. Most of "Passions" storylines dealt with the supernatural or occult. Viewers either loved the soap opera or hated it; there seemed to be no in-between appreciation. 
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