The very first Daytime Emmy Award for Best Drama Series was presented to NBC’s “The Doctors” in 1972. It is one of just 13 programs that have been honored as television’s top soap opera since the category was created. Click through our photo gallery above of every winner for Best Drama Series in Daytime Emmy history, starting with the most recent.
Because daytime soap operas can run for decades, shows have more chances to succeed than some of their primetime counterparts (although as is often the case at the Primetime Emmys, it sometimes takes a few years for the Academy to catch up with audience tastes). ABC’s “General Hospital,” which premiered in 1963, holds the record for most victories with 13, the first of which came in 1981. CBS’s “The Young and the Restless” is close behind with 11 victories; it joined the winner’s circle the first time in 1975 after hitting the airwaves in 1973.
CBS’s “As the World Turns,” which ran from 1956-2010, comes in third place with four wins, tied with NBC’s “Days of Our Lives, while four dramas are tied for fifth with three victories apiece: ABC’s “All My Children,” CBS’s “The Bold and the Beautiful,” CBS’s “Guiding Light,” and NBC’s “Santa Barbara.” “The Doctors” and ABC’s “Ryan’s Hope” each have two trophies, while NBC’s “Another World,” CBS’s “The Edge of Night,” and ABC’s “One Life to Live” all have one citation.
Tour our photo gallery below of every Best Drama Series winner at the Daytime Emmys, and see if your favorite melodramas were up to the Television Academy’s lofty standards.