Starring Audrey Peters
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 29
No. of episodes 7,316
Running time 15 minutes (1951–1958)
30 minutes (1958–1962, 1969–1973, 1979–1980)
25 minutes (1962–1969, 1973–1979)
Original network CBS
Picture format Black-and-white
Audio format Monaural
Original release September 24, 1951 – February 1, 1980
Love of Life is an American soap opera which aired on CBS from September 24, 1951, to February 1, 1980. It was created by Roy Winsor, whose previous creation Search for Tomorrow had premiered three weeks before Love of Life, and who would go on to create The Secret Storm two and a half years later.
Love of Life originally came from Liederkranz Hall on East 58th Street in Manhattan. Mike and Buff (Mike Wallace), Ernie Kovacs, and Douglas Edwards and the News, as well as Search for Tomorrow and The Guiding Light also came from that location. The program originated at other studios in Manhattan, but primarily at the CBS Broadcast Center on West 57th Street and CBS’ Studio 52 behind the Ed Sullivan Theater. In 1975, the series moved to make way for a nightclub that became known as Studio 54. Until its final episode in 1980, Love of Life was taped in Studio 44 at the CBS Broadcast Center.
Unlike most other soap operas, Love of Life was originally not split up into segments dictated by commercial breaks. Because the show was owned by packaged-goods giant American Home Products and merely licensed to CBS, all commercials were for AHP brands, and occurred before or after the show. In the 1960s, one commercial break was allotted around the middle of the program, but this was mostly to allow affiliates to reconnect with the feed after airing local commercials. Love of Life adopted the “five segments per half-hour” standard in the 1970s.
On April 23, 1979, CBS moved Love of Life to the 4:00/3:00 pm slot that had opened when Match Game was canceled. For this slot, episodes again had a full 30-minute duration, accommodating the whole slot. However, ratings plummeted upon relocating; an increasing number of CBS affiliates pre-empted the serial to show more profitable syndicated programming. Beginning in September 1979, in some markets, this included a new daily syndicated version of the Match Game, which went up against (and, in some cases, was shown in place of) Love of Life.
Despite CBS moving the show to the 4:00/3:00 timeslot, some affiliates chose to air it at earlier timeslots in pattern with the other soaps. For example, in Indianapolis, then-CBS affiliate WISH-TV aired Love of Life at 3:30 (Eastern) while airing One Day at a Time reruns at 4:00. Many West Coast stations, such as KNXT (now KCBS-TV) in Los Angeles, did this, as well, keeping Love of Life in tandem with the other soaps by airing it at 2:30 Pacific time, after Guiding Light. Other stations, such as then-O&O KMOX-TV (now KMOV) in St. Louis, kept the show in late morning at 11:00 (Central). Additionally, WUSA (then WDVM) in Washington, DC, chose to keep Love of Life at 11:30 while pre-empting The Price is Right. In the soap’s home market of New York City, WCBS-TV aired it at noon.
Within 10 months, CBS realized that the 4:00 slot would not work for Love of Life in light of affiliate tape-delays and pre-emptions, and subsequently cancelled the show. Its final episode aired on February 1, 1980. The following Monday, The Young and the Restless expanded to an hour, with One Day at a Time moving into the 4:00/3:00 timeslot. According to rumors, once CBS cancelled Love of Life, they intended to use the show’s New York studio space for the 1980 Winter Olympics, which took place later that month in Lake Placid, New York.
Director Larry Auerbach said that he lamented the network’s 4:00/3:00 slot choice on the CBS Evening News the day Love of Life finished airing, feeling that the slot was better suited to airing shows that appealed to kids after school.