|Created by||Agnes Nixon |
|Opening theme||"Theme from Loving" by Michael Karp (1983-1989); "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 |
|Composer(s)||Michael Karp (multiple episodes)|
Mike Renzi (multiple episodes, and series finale)
Score Productions (multiple episodes)
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||3,169|
|Running time||30 minutes|
|Original release||June 26, 1983 -|
November 10, 1995
|Followed by||The City|
|Related shows||All My Children|
One Life to Live
Loving is an American television soap opera that ran on ABC from June 26, 1983, to November 10, 1995, a total of 3,169 episodes. The serial, set in the fictional town of Corinth, Pennsylvania, was co-created by Agnes Nixon and former actor Douglas Marland.
Loving premiered on June 26, 1983 as a two-hour primetime movie and on the next day became 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.
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. But 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, to keep the show afloat, ABC assigned its own programming suits, network executive Haidee Granger and later, Vice President of Daytime Programming JoAnn Emmerich, to serve as executive producers. Despite its frequently 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, 1990 as a temporary replacement; 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, Gilbert. 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), mother of Ava and Carly, 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, and what many considered one of the show's best storylines, 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, which would run until March 1997.
In August 2013, the serial killer storyline was revisited on General Hospital 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. (Genie Francis, who played Laura, had briefly brought her character of Ceara Connor over to Loving from All My Children; Jane Elliot had played her General Hospital character Tracy Quartermaine on The City prior to that show's cancellation, in addition to having served as a producer on Loving and The City.)
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 in January 1993, Loving, according to television historian Alex McNeil, "was consistently the lowest rated of the ten network daytime soaps."
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 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, never 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.
|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 1993||Haidee Granger|
|November 11, 1993 to December 1994||JoAnn Emmerich|
|December 1994 to November 10, 1995||Jean Dadario Burke|
|1990 to 1992||Barbara Duggan|
|1992 to December 1994||Jean Dadario Burke|
|December 1994 to November 10, 1995||Jane Elliot & Laura Rakowitz|
|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|
|September 1988 to 1990||Barbara Duggan|
|1990 to May 1995||None|
|May 1995 to November 10, 1995||Heidi Adam|
|June 1983 - June 1985||Douglas Marland|
|June 1985- October 1987||Agnes Nixon|
|October 1987- April 1988||Ralph Ellis|
|September 1988 - April 1991||Millee Taggart|
|April 1991 - 1991||Millee Taggart|
|1991-December 1991||Mary Ryan Munisteri|
|December 1991-June 1992||Addie Walsh|
|June 1992 - September 1992||No Head Writer Credited|
|September 1992 - 1993||Millee Taggart|
Robert Guza, Jr.
|1993-Fall 1993||Millee Taggart|
|Fall 1993- Fall 1994||Agnes Nixon|
|Fall 1994-Early 1995||Addie Walsh|
|Early 1995-November 1995||Barbara Esensten|
James Harmon Brown
The show was broadcast in France under the title Amoureusement Votre (Lovingly Yours), in Croatia as Ljubav, in Germany as Loving - Wege der Liebe, in Greece as " " ("Love, Love, Love") and in Italy as Quando si ama (When you're in love).