1975: 'Ryan's Hope' Debuts on ABC
On this day in 1975, ABC added the soap opera Ryan's Hope to its daytime lineup.
Unlike most serial dramas, Ryan's Hope was set in an actual place, namely Manhattan's Washington Heights neighborhood (although two of its key locations — Ryan's bar and Riverside Hospital — were fictional). The show initially followed the trials and tribulations of the Ryans, a large, blue-collar Irish-Catholic family, and their wealthy contemporaries, the Coleridges. Later, another family — the Kirklands — became a main focus of the show.
Many of the show's early storylines stemmed from the generational friction between the Ryan parents, who subscribed to more traditional, conservative, faith-based values, and their more liberal, Americanized children who aspired to lives of wealth and prominence.
As with many soaps, Ryan's Hope introduced several actors who went on to more prominent film and television careers, including Kate Mulgrew, Marg Helgenberger, Earl Hindman, Corbin Bernsen, Christian Slater, Grand Show, Catherine Hicks, Nell Carter, Dominic Chianese, Tichina Arnold, Daniel Hugh Kelly and Yasmine Bleeth.
After two years of growth, viewership began to decline. Despite years of tweaking and retooling, the show never really got back on track. Ryan's Hope aired its last episode on January 13, 1989.