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Loving (TV series)

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GenreSoap opera
Created byAgnes Nixon
Douglas Marland
StarringSeries cast
Opening theme"Theme from Loving"
by Michael Karp
"The Loving Theme (#1)", sung by Johnny Mathis (1989-1991);
"The Loving Theme (#2)", by David Randall Lowe and David M. Shapiro (1991-1992);
"The Loving Theme (#3)" a.k.a. "L-O-V-I-N-G",
by Jeffrey Osborne
ComposersMichael Karp
(multiple episodes)
Mike Renzi
(multiple episodes
and series finale)
Score Productions (multiple episodes)
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of episodes3,169[1]
Executive producerSee Crew
Running time30 minutes
Production companyDramatic Creations
Original release
ReleaseJune 26, 1983 (1983-06-26) –
November 10, 1995 (1995-11-10)
The City
All My Children
One Life to Live
General Hospital

Loving is an American television soap opera that ran on ABC from June 26, 1983, to November 10, 1995, for a total of 3,169 episodes.[1] The serial, set in the fictional town of Corinth, Pennsylvania, was co-created by Agnes Nixon and former actor Douglas Marland.[2]

Loving premiered on June 26, 1983 with a two-hour primetime movie and, on the next day, debuted as a half-hour weekday soap opera.

On July 4, 1995, ABC officially canceled Loving due to low ratings, and its final episode aired on November 10, 1995. On November 13, 1995, the following Monday, ABC replaced Loving with its spin-off The City, which ran until March 28, 1997.[3]


With the established and successful ABC daytime soap operas veering into a new trend of youth orientation and storylines with more action and adventure, soap creator Agnes Nixon and actor/writer Douglas Marland sought to create a new serial that would be introduced as a traditional, classic soap opera for the 1980s. Romance would be the show's key centerpiece; its original working title was Love Without End. By early 1983, the new creation was fully developed as Loving, with a cast set for both a primetime premiere and a weekday run.

Loving premiered on June 26, 1983 as a two-hour primetime movie. It starred much of the original cast and featured film actors Lloyd Bridges and Geraldine Page. Set in the fictional town of Corinth, Pennsylvania, the early years of the show revolved around the blue-collar Donovans and the blue-blood Aldens. Major social issues such as incest, alcoholism, and post-traumatic stress syndrome of Vietnam veterans were covered. Marland and Nixon left the series after a few years and in spite of ABC's bumping down Ryan's Hope to give Loving a choice timeslot, and cast additions of such popular All My Children stars as Debbi Morgan and Jean LeClerc, the ratings remained low throughout the show's run. Loving suffered from a constant revolving door of writers and producers, leading to questionable story moments such as a heroine's addiction to cough syrup and one character's selling his soul to the Devil. Circumstances became so desperate in the early 1990s that, in order to keep the show afloat, ABC assigned its own programming executives, network executive Haidee Granger and later, Vice President of Daytime Programming JoAnn Emmerich, to serve as executive producers. Despite its frequent subpar ratings, on June 26, 1993, Loving celebrated its 10th anniversary on ABC.

Long-running characters included Ava Rescott (played by Patty Lotz, 1983–1984; Roya Megnot, 1984–1988; Lisa Peluso, 1988–1995), a schemer whose adventures ranged from stuffing a pillow in her dress to simulate pregnancy to being kidnapped at Universal Studios to being menaced by her lover's identical twin. Other longtime favorites included Stacey Donovan Forbes (portrayed by Lauren-Marie Taylor, the only continuously running original cast member), who was killed off via a poisoned powder puff in summer 1995; boarding house owner Kate Rescott (Nada Rowand), whose tenants often included teen and young adult characters in trouble, or in numerous romantic entanglements; and Gwyneth Alden (played for the majority of the run by Christine Tudor), the long-suffering matriarch who never stopped loving her roguish ex, Clay, or her mentally disturbed children, Trisha and Curtis.

In early 1995, ABC Daytime planned to cancel the show and asked new head writers James Harmon Brown and Barbara Esensten to find a way to salvage a few components of the series. The writers embarked upon the show's last big storyline, the Corinth serial killer. Stacey, Clay, Curtis, Cabot, Isabelle, and Jeremy lost their lives, culminating in the revelation that an insane Gwyn had murdered most of her friends and family in a bid to "make their pain go away." Gwyn then injected herself with poison before the police could take her into custody. Loving characters Ally, Alex, Angie, Buck, Frankie, Jacob, Steffi, Jocelyn, Richard, Tony, Danny and Tess moved to New York City's SoHo District and began a new series, The City,[4] which would run until the series finale on March 28, 1997.

In August 2013, the serial killer storyline was revisited on General Hospital [5] as Luke Spencer and Holly Sutton found their way into the abandoned Alden mansion, in pursuit of an adversary who was hiding out in Corinth. Framed photographs of Gwyneth, Trisha and Cabot Alden could be seen, as Luke and Holly recounted the story of "The Loving Murders". Holly ruminated upon Gwyn's rationale for being the killer as being her need to "spare the people she loved from their pain." Following this, Luke found his ex-wife Laura tied up in the Alden family basement.

Ratings history[edit]

Although Loving had low ratings throughout its history, its first few years were relatively encouraging. In its debut year (1983), it finished in 11th place and 3.9, above the then ailing soaps The Edge of Night and Search for Tomorrow. 1984 saw the show's ratings climb to a fairly comfortable 10th place and 4.1, holding that position for the 1985-1986 television season with 4.2. A change in timeslot, with Loving occupying the slot previously held by Ryan's Hope, was a major factor in ratings improvement (albeit having the opposite effect on Ryan's Hope).

The slow but steady ratings growth was not sustained in the long run. Loving fell back to 11th place, hitting last place for the first time, in early 1989 (between the January series finale of Ryan's Hope and the March premiere of NBC's Generations). In 1990, the show ranked 11th place as well. After Santa Barbara went off the air on January 15, 1993, Loving, according to television historian Alex McNeil, "was consistently the lowest rated of the ten network daytime soaps."[6]

When it originally premiered, the show aired at 11:30 AM ET/10:30 AM CT/MT/PT. On October 8, 1984, the show was moved to the later 12:30 PM/11:30 AM timeslot, bumping Ryan's Hope up to Noon/11:00. This caused Ryan's Hope's ratings to plummet because many East Coast ABC stations pre-empted network programming at Noon for local news. Some affiliates, such as WSB-TV in Atlanta, chose to keep Ryan's Hope at 12:30, not airing Loving until after Ryan's Hope's cancellation in 1989. Despite airing in the 12:30 timeslot, Loving never achieved the ratings Ryan's Hope had during its glory years. In the Central, Mountain and Pacific time zones, Loving was often pre-empted at 11:30 for local newscasts, airing on a one-day delay earlier in the morning or not at all.

On August 17, 1992, ABC officially stopped programming the Noon/11:00am CT timeslot. Loving was then made available to affiliates at Noon/11 or 12:30/11:30. Some affiliates in the Central and Pacific Time Zones moved Loving to 11:00 AM to air local newscasts at 11:30. Despite the time slot changes on some affiliates, the national ratings for the show never improved. In fact, the show's national ratings were never strong enough to climb above tenth place. However, Loving did beat the genre's top-rated program, CBS' The Young and the Restless, in markets such as New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Philadelphia, which were home to four of ABC's owned-and-operated stations, despite only competing with the first half hour of The Young and the Restless.

The show had a short two-year run in the early years of UK satellite and cable channel Sky One, starting in February 1989. Loving aired in an afternoon slot, Monday to Friday at 14:45, later moved to 14:30, before being cancelled and replaced by Santa Barbara in February 1991.

Cast and crew [edit]


Executive producers[edit]

Duration Name
June 27, 1983 to June 17, 1988 Joseph Stuart
June 20, 1988 to December 1989 Joseph Hardy
December 1989 to April 1990 Mary-Ellis Bunim
April 1990 to July 12, 1991 Jacqueline Babbin
July 15, 1991 to May 25, 1992 Fran Sears
May 26, 1992 to October 29, 1993 Haidee Granger
November 1, 1993 to December 1994 JoAnn Emmerich
December 1994 to November 10, 1995 Jean Dadario Burke


Duration Name
1990 to 1992 Barbara Duggan
1992 to December 1994 Jean Dadario Burke
December 1994 to November 10, 1995 Jane Elliot & Laura Rakowitz

Associate producers[edit]

Duration Name
June 27, 1983 to September 1988 Barbara Duggan
September 1988 to January 1990 Achille Raspantini
January 1990 to 1992 Richard R. Schilling
1992 to 1994 Heidi Adam
1994 Heidi Adam & Dana Walker Keane
December 1994 to May 1995 Heidi Adam
May 1995 to November 10, 1995 None

Coordinating producers[edit]

Duration Name
September 1988 to 1990 Barbara Duggan
1990 to May 1995 None
May 1995 to November 10, 1995 Heidi Adam

Head writers[edit]

Years Names
June 1983 – June 1985 Douglas Marland
June 1985 – October 1987 Agnes Nixon (uncredited)
Ralph Ellis (credited)
October 1987 – April 1988 Ralph Ellis
September 1988 – April 1991 Millee Taggart
Tom King
April – August 1991 Millee Taggart
August 1991 – January 1992 Mary Ryan Munisteri
January 1992 – January 1993 Addie Walsh
January – September 1993 Millee Taggart
Robert Guza, Jr.
September 1993 – September 1994 Agnes Nixon
Fall 1994-Early 1995 Addie Walsh
Laurie McCarthy
Early 1995–November 1995 Barbara Esensten
James Harmon Brown

Awards and nominations[edit]

Daytime Emmy Award wins[edit]

Drama performer categories[edit]

Category Recipient Role Year
Supporting Actor Bernard Barrow Louie Slavinsky 1991[7]

Other categories[edit]

  • 1988 "Outstanding Achievement in Lighting Direction for a Drama Series"

Other awards[edit]

International broadcasts[edit]

The show was broadcast in France under the title Amoureusement vôtre (Lovingly Yours), in Croatia as Ljubav, in Germany as Loving - Wege der Liebe, in Greece as "Έρωτες έρωτες έρωτες" ("Love, Love, Love") and in Italy as Quando si ama (When you're in love). In South Africa as "Loving", broadcast on Mnet was on open time, weekdays. In Turkey as Sevgi Bağları broadcast on Turkish Radio Television channel.


  1. ^ a b "Episode 3169". TV.com. Loving. Archived from the original on 2008-06-01. Retrieved 2008-06-17.
  2. ^ Schemering, Christopher (1987). The Soap Opera Encyclopedia (2nd ed.). Ballantine Books. pp. 157–160. ISBN 0-345-35344-7.
  3. ^ Hyatt, Wesley (1997). The Encyclopedia of Daytime Television. Watson-Guptill Publications. pp. 271–274. ISBN 978-0823083152. Retrieved 22 March 2020.
  4. ^ "'The City' Is a Killer : MORGAN FAIRCHILD TAKES 'LOVING' FROM SMALL-TOWN CORINTH TO DOWNTOWN MANHATTAN". Los Angeles Times. 1995-11-05. Archived from the original on 2022-02-17. Retrieved 2022-06-27.
  5. ^ "General Hospital Pays Homage to LOVING While Giving Us A Twist As To Robin's Wherabouts!". 16 August 2013. Archived from the original on 2022-08-14. Retrieved 2022-06-27.
  6. ^ McNeil, Alex. Total Television: The Comprehensive Guide to Programming from 1948 to the Present. 4th ed. New York: Penguin, 1996.
  7. ^ "Daytime Emmys - 1991". Internet Movie Database. Archived from the original on 2015-12-18. Retrieved 2013-03-07.

External links[edit]