ABC Daytime Wiki

An image from the fourth opening title sequence of Loving (1992-1995).

Loving is an American television soap opera which aired on ABC's daytime lineup from June 26, 1983 to November 10, 1995 for 3,169 episodes.[1] The serial was co-created by Agnes Nixon and former actor Douglas Marland. ABC took the step of premiering the show with a 2-hour primetime movie on June 26, 1983, starring much of the cast as well as veteran film actors Lloyd Bridges and Geraldine Page.

The show was broadcasted in France with the title "Amoureusement Votre ("Loving You").

The opening 1995 theme music on the french website & Loving - Main title 1991 :


Set in the fictional town of Corinth, 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 vets were covered. But Marland and Nixon left the series after a few years and in spite of ABC 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 poor 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 selling his soul to the Devil. Loving celebrated its 10th Anniversary on ABC on June 26, 1993.

Long-running characters included Ava, 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. Another longtime favorite was Stacey Donovan (portrayed by Lauren-Marie Taylor, the only continuously running original cast member), who was killed off via a poisoned powder puff in summer 1995, and Gwyneth Alden, 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, and Tess moved to New York City's SoHo District and began a new series, The City, which would run until March 1997.

Ratings history[]

Template:Seealso Although Loving rated poorly throughout its history, its first few years were relatively encouraging. In its debut 1983-84 season it finished in 11th place and 3.9, above the then ailing soaps The Edge of Night and Search for Tomorrow. The following season it moved to a fairly comfortable 10th place and 4.1, holding that for the 1985-86 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).

Unfortunately, the slow but steady ratings growth was not sustained- Loving fell back to 11th place and down to last place by 1991, where it remained until its cancellation.

When it originally premiered, the show aired at 11:30/10:30c. On Monday, October 8, 1984, the show was given the 12:30/11:30c timeslot bumping Ryan's Hope up to Noon/11. (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 12:30pm.) Despite airing in the 12:30pm timeslot, Loving never achieved the ratings Ryan's Hope had during its glory years. In the Pacific and Central Time Zones, Loving was often pre-empted at 11:30am for local newscasts, airing on a one day delay earlier in the morning or not at all.

In 1992 after ABC stopped airing programming at Noon EST/11am PST/CST, Loving was made available to affiliates at Noon/11 or 12:30/11:30am. Some ABC O&Os in the Pacific and Central time zones moved Loving to 11:00am to air local newscasts at 11:30. Despite the timeslot changes on some affiliates, the national ratings for the show never improved.

Although the national ratings were never strong enough to climb above tenth place, Loving did beat the #1 soap The Young and the Restless in strong ABC markets (New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Philadelphia) although Loving only competed with the first half hour of The Young and the Restless.

Opening sequences[]

During Loving's 12 year-run, the series went through quite a few theme and visual changes, primarily due to the ever-changing role of executive producer, and each's attempt to make the show more attractive to viewers (in order to boost ratings). In addition, Loving was one of the few soaps in history to implement a special, limited-run opening sequence to represent a major storyline, for The Loving Murders in 1995.
June 27, 1983 - March 24, 1989
Nixon & Marland's Original Loving Image

For its first six years on the air, Loving's main title visual consisted of a rather simple flash of the show's iconic script logo against a sky blue background. The outline of the title would appear in pink, entering diagonally, and then match itself with a white layer of the title; the two would zoom out together until the pink outline in the background disappeared, leaving the title in white. An underline below the Loving title was used in both opens and closes during this period. The instrumental theme, a pleasant 10-second waltz in D-major, was titled "Theme from Loving". The short opening cut and the longer, complete version used in the closing sequence, was written and composed by Michael Karp.

The original closing credits sequence, which for the most part remained unchanged for Loving's first nine years on the air, used a live-action extended scene with a single character or more (minus dialogue), while the credits scrolled in white Goudy Bold Italic font. Since the soap was fully owned by Agnes Nixon's Dramatic Creations company, its copyright notice appeared much different than on its ABC-owned weekday stablemates: it was in the same Goudy font, on three different lines as "(year) Copyright, Dramatic Creations, Inc., All Rights Reserved", and showed up separately on the screen before the Loving logo. (In the 2-hour primetime pilot that aired on June 26, 1983, the copyright first appeared as "© 1983 Dramatic Creations, Inc., All Rights Reserved" on three separate lines, however.)

For a brief few months in late 1987 into early 1988, the closing credit crawl appeared in transparent white, without the use of black shadowing. Soon after Joseph Hardy replaced original executive producer Joseph Stuart in the spring of 1988, there were other minor cosmetic changes. The opening sequence now featured a chime-like sound effect during the 4-6 second mark, as the pink outline of the show's title met the white display of it. The closing sequence also went from playing out mimed scenes to featuring a series of stills from that day's episode, a change seen by Hardy five years earlier when he took over Ryan's Hope. The crawl, which now had its black shadowing reinstated, now moved the writing staff from being positioned on the left-hand side of the screen (much like the cast and all technical crew) to the center (as all other production principals were).

March 27, 1989 - February 1, 1991
The Johnny Mathis Loving Package

As Joseph Hardy changed Loving's musical scores and overall image to represent more of a youth appeal, steering away from the show's original old-fashioned, "classic" image, it was imminent that he would revamp the show's theme and visuals altogether within time. On Monday, March 27, 1989, a new theme package debuted on Loving. The new theme was a full orchestral piece sung by Johnny Mathis, and was written by Mathis along with composers Bob Israel, Michel Camilo and Bobby Daye. This was accompanied by visuals of charcoal and pastel paintings of couples in love. The opening begins with a glass version of the iconic Loving logo moving gingerly toward the screen, at the bottom, over a replica of a religious painting of two boy and girl infant angels showing affection. This view proceeds into a series of paintings which chronicle one couple's romance throughout a single lifetime. The paintings overlapped each other while glass letters of the Loving logo flew over them (one at a time), and were comprised of the exact following:

The pre-teen boy and girl sharing a first kiss
The teenagers having a slow dance at their prom
The two young adults engaging in passionate lovemaking
The couple in a suit and vail on their wedding day
Husband and wife holding their first child
The couple embracing during older age (as evidenced by the man's white hair)

At the end of the sequence, the show's title in glass would zoom inward, with another layer meeting it in the back, over a variation of the original angel painting. The painting would then undergo a ripple effect, as if it were floating in wind or water.

Two longer-length versions of Johnny Mathis' theme were used in closings during this tenure, each running 2 minutes in full. An extended vocal version was often used early on, but it alternated with a long instrumental cut on other episodes. When the vocal cut was played, network announcements were not run over the credits. The only graphic aspect to change in the closing on March 27, 1989 was that of the Loving logo, which had its underline removed. By July of that year, the copyright notice now appeared under the Loving logo at the end, still in the classical "(year) Copyright" format. Then, in December 1989, the notice was changed to the more conventional version of "© (year) Dramatic Creations, Inc. All Rights Reserved". It was now in a separate Arial Italic font. Also, from December 1989 to April 1990, coordinating producer and executive producer credits, in that order, were moved towards the end of the credit crawl following "JOHNNY MATHIS Sings The Loving Theme" (which appeared after cast or crew everyday).

During the run of the Mathis theme/painting visuals, there would be an accelerated turnover in Loving staff, especially in the executive producer's chair. First, ABC moved Joseph Hardy over to General Hospital in late November 1989, replacing him with veteran daytime producer and future Real World creator/producer Mary-Ellis Bunim. Bunim, however, only served four months as the show's EP before abruptly leaving. In April 1990, former All My Children producer Jacqueline Babbin took over. Babbin decided to make some noticeable adjustments of her own, which eventually included the Loving theme package. After just less than two years, the Mathis theme was retired on February 1, 1991.

February 4, 1991 - February 13, 1992
New Age Loving - The Contender For the Shortest Lived Soap Opening Ever

On February 4, 1991, new opening visuals premiered, composed of a series of videotaped, live-action shots of a couple's romance. These shots include a man feeding a strawberry into a woman's mouth, a shattering wine glass, the man placing a ring on the woman's finger, etc. The last scene is a silhouette of the man and woman holding hands, and then embracing, over a sunset sky visual, while the Loving logo flashes to the center of the screen, with the font clear and transparent. The dramatic, yet somewhat soothing theme music, which featured piano and synthesizers, was composed by David Randall Lowe and David M. Shapiro. The visuals overall, and the new age theme song that accompanied it, were later seen as a preview of the similar "New Age" visuals of One Life to Live, which ran from January 1992 to November 1995. While this Loving theme package was still running when OLTL's new package debuted, it would be gone a month later - due to the fact that Jacqueline Babbin was replaced with new EP Fran Sears in July 1991, with Sears wanting to implement different visuals of her own.

The cut of Lowe/Shapiro Loving theme used in the opening was the only length produced, so during the closing credits a continual loop of the :30 theme was used, with the ending notes of the tune meshing into the beginning notes over again each time. Some episodes even played the theme in a slower pitch, in order for it to not loop as much. The graphic changes that occurred in the closing credits during the previous theme package, along with the long-running Goudy Bold setup, remained in place for another year.

February 14, 1992 - November 10, 1995
The Final Main Package ft. Jeffrey Osborne

Appropriately enough, for Valentine's Day on Friday, February 14, 1992, the final Loving main title visuals and theme debuted. It was clear that Fran Sears wanted to bring back a vocal theme, but she did so this time with a more contemporary artist, R&B star Jeffrey Osborne. The new theme by Osborne was joined by new visuals that panned over the inside of the master bedroom of two lovers, over to their bed, which was followed by overlapping squares and shots of rose pedals. The entire sequence was tinted in shades of red and pink. The final scene displayed a "dollhouse model" of the lover's home, while a brand new Loving logo appeared over it; the logo consisted of each letter of the title, in a white capital Shelley Script Andante font, encased in individual black boxes. With the exception of the period during late summer to early fall of 1995, which was the special storyline period of The Loving Murders, the Jeffrey Osborne theme package ran until Loving's final telecast on November 10, 1995.

Originally, an all-new, innovative closing credits format accompanied these visuals. Scenes that were based on, and directly from the opening were seen on the left side of the screen while the credits, in a new, smaller white font, appeared against a black square potion of the screen on the right. Most often the credits now faded in and out, but at times they would even scroll. Joining the closing visuals was a full instrumental version of Jeffrey Osborne's Loving theme, with minor vocal contingents being heard in the end of it. Possibly due to an unfavorable reaction from viewers, this credits sequence was scrapped after only a month.

Thereafter, beauty shots of the characters were reinstated; the credit font changed yet again to a Times New Roman type. The same instrumental version of the Jeffrey Osborne theme would remain from late March of 1992 until the end. A return to the beauty shot also meant the reinstatement of the original Loving logo, that was now no longer used in the opening sequence. From March 1992 until 1993, it appeared diagonally on either the left or right bottom corner of the screen (often alternating), across a small pink heart. Under this artistic display, the copyright appeared in thin, mostly lowercase Times New Roman font, and was just as small as the logo. Prior to this display at the end of all closing sequences, the "Videotaped at ABC Television Center in New York" credit would scroll up, remain still, and then fade out. By no later than March 2, 1993, live action scenes from that day's episode had replaced the beauty shots permanently; and late that year, a more traditional display of the classic Loving logo returned to closings, with the title appearing dead center of the screen. The copyright remained the same, but enlargened again under the title logo.

While the opening sequence remained the same, and the package itself managed to outlast the previous two, the minor closing credit changes aforementioned were just small indications of the revolving door of executive producers, which continued its swing during the final three-and-a-half years. Only three months into the Osborne package, Fran Sears was out, replaced by Haidee Granger. Seen by viewers as Loving officially going on "life support" due to Granger's role at ABC (she was a recently-arrived network executive), Granger had one of the hardest turns as show-runner on the program (for more, see article on Granger). She would be ousted by two more replacements, first with JoAnn (Josie) Emmerich in the fall of 1993, and finally with Jean Dadario Burke in December 1994. Fortunately, none of them chose to change this theme package in any way.

July 1995 - October 1995
The Loving Murders Special Sequence

After ABC announced that Loving would be folded into the new soap The City, the producers planned to kill off many of the show's central and veteran characters, while the survivors would ultimately be carried over to The City. In July 1995, The Loving Murders plot began, in which a mysterious character killed each selected citizen of Corinth in a unique way. For the duration of the storyline, a special opening was used which encouraged viewers to "figure it out". It consisted of black-and-white or dark color shots of various objects ticking - from a pen, to a metronome, clock, a purse, etc. During the series of objects, a woman narrated the official epigram to the plotline:

"This is the sound of trouble. The kind that caresses lives, even as it steals them away. That delicately unravels the fabric of entire towns like Corinth, Pennsylvania. When the trouble comes, it will sound like this. And Loving, will never be the same again. Trouble, with a capital L. Figure it out."

At the end of the sequence, there are the letters L-O-V-I-N-G cut out from magazines, ala a ransom note. Then, they are blown away. The final scene has the original Loving logo (the one used in openings from 1983-1992, but still in the closing to the very end) floating around like it is on a curtain that is blowing, with "Figure it out" on the bottom right corner.

Cast and crew Template:Anchors[]


Main article: List of Loving cast and characters

Executive Producers[]

Duration Name
June 27, 1983 to April 1988 Joseph Stuart
April 1988 to November 30, 1989 Joseph Hardy
December 3, 1989 to April 1990 Mary-Ellis Bunim
April 1990 to July 1991 Jacqueline Babbin
July 1991 to May 25, 1992 Fran Sears
May 26, 1992 to October 1993 Haidee Granger
November 11, 1993 to December 1994 Josie Emmerich
December 1994 to November 10, 1995 Jean Dadario Burke

Head Writers[]

Years Names
1983-1985 Douglas Marland
1985-1988 Agnes Nixon
1988 Ralph Ellis
1988-1991 Millee Taggert and Tom King
1991 Mary Ryan Munisteri
1991-1992 Addie Walsh
1992-1993 Millee Taggert and Robert Guza Jr.
1993 Millee Taggert
1994 Agnes Nixon
1994 Addie Walsh and Laurie McCarthy Template:Fact
1994-1995 Barbara Esensten and James Harmon Brown


  1. "Loving at", ABC. URL last accessed 2008-06-17

External links[]

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