The ABC soap opera One Life to Live has been on the air since 1968, when it was created by Agnes Nixon. While each episode was originally only half an hour in length, the running time expanded to 45 minutes and eventually to an hour. The long-running series focuses upon the lives of residents of Llanview, Pennsylvania.
Its central character, Viki Lord, has gone through a roller coaster of traumas over the course of the show's 43-year run. Gillian Spencer originally played Viki, but for most of the show's life the role has been portrayed by Erika Slezak
, who won six Emmys for her work. Along with Viki, the show focuses on several families from different ethnic and economic backgrounds. Because of this mix of cultures, it was considered a groundbreaking show, particularly for the fact that it was the first daytime series to portray a Jewish family, the Siegels.
Current characters include John McBain (Michael Easton
), Starr Manning (Kristen Alderson), Rex Balsom (John-Paul Lavoisier
), Natalie Buchanan (Melissa Archer), Blair Cramer (Kassie-Wesley DePaiva) and Jessica Brennan (Bree Williamson). The characters have complex, interconnected lives, and the show addresses a wide range of topics, including LGBT issues, heart disease, widowhood, cancer, prejudice and dissociatve identity disorder.
One Life to Live has enjoyed varying degrees of popularity over the years, finding its biggest audience during the 1980s. While the show's viewing audience has decreased significantly since then, it remains popular with adult women. The soap opera will end in January of 2012.