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‘Knots Landing’ Premiered 40 Years Ago Today: Remembering The Greatest Primetime Soap Of Them All

Photo: JPI

It wasn’t Dallas that was proved to be the longest running primetime soap opera, but it’s spin-off Knots Landing, and forty years ago on this date, back on December 27th, 1979, the characters we loved from the Southern California cul-de-sac of Seaview Circle, began to capture our hearts and strike our fancy.

Originally, when the show made its debut on CBS, the series episodes were self-contained, but shortly thereafter, following the sudsy cliffhangers of Dallas, ‘Knots’ changed into the serialized storytelling format, especially with the arrival of bad girl seductress Abby Cunningham (Donna Mills), and when all was said and done, it gave viewers some of the juiciest cliffhangers ever, serving them up on a weekly basis, better than anyone else.  ‘Knots’ lasted 14 seasons and would end its run on May 13th, 1993.

‘Knots’ creator, David Jacobs said part of his inspiration for the series came from the classic 1977 film by Ingmar Bergman’s”Scenes from a Marriage”.  And as ‘Knots’ fans know, the show revolved around several couples in its humble beginnings; the Ewings (Val and Gary), the Fairgates (Karen and Sid), the Averys (Laura and Richard) and the Wards (Ginger and Kenny).  After Don Murray exited the series as Sid, it opened up the canvas for ‘Knots’ heroin, Karen played by Michele Lee.  In fact, Michele received the series only acting Emmy nomination for her performances in Sid’s death episodes.

Even though the other primtime soaps were glitzier,(Dallas, Dynasty, Falcon Crest), and in the public conscience (Who Shot J.R? – Dallas), ‘Knots’ continued to be the little engine that could, bringing more realistic stories and issues of the day to the forefront.

Photo: Lorimar

The series finally cracked the top ten, just once, back in 1985.  Over the years the cast included: Ted Shackleford, Joan Van Ark, Michele Lee, Kevin Dobson, Donna Mills, William Devane, Costance McCashin, Nicollette Sheridan, Julie Harris, Alec Baldwin, Lisa Hartman, and so many more.  In addition, well-known daytime soap stars came to ‘Knots’ including: Jane Elliot, Peter Reckell and Kathleen Noone.

In its 344 episodes during its 14-year run, who can ever forget when … Val’s twins were taken for her, and the cliffhanger when she is almost reunited with them! Karen’s drug addiction, Abby’s daughter, Olivia’s (Tonya Crowe) drug addiction, Laura’s videotape that she leaves for her friends and her beloved Greg Sumner when she succumbs to cancer, an unhinged Jill Bennett forcing pills down Val’s throat at gunpoint to make it look like she committed suicide, and all the other familial storylines, affairs, revenge plots, murder, corporate intrigue and takeovers.

In this primetime soap, it was the women who were the key and central figures of the story and they were played to perfection each in their own right by longtime series stars: Michele Lee, Joan Van Ark and Donna Mills.  (And Constance McCashin up to when she was killed-off the show).  One thing is for sure … Thursday nights at 10pm have never been the same since its departure.

So, today on its 40th anniversary, check out the videos below which include: the original pilot opening of ‘Knots”, the opening title sequences over the 14 years, the gut-wrenching cliffhanger where Val sees her twins, the emotional moment when Sumner sits alone and weeps as he watches Laura’s goodbye message, Abby dealing with her daughter;’s drug addiction, and the now classic Karen “polyanna” speech.

Then, share your remembrances and favorite moments as we celebrate Knots’ 40th anniversary via the comment section below.

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Jeff
Guest
Jeff

I sure miss this show! The storyline with Jill Bennett forcing Val to take pills just tore our hearts out. This show emphasized relationships as well a storylines (in contrast to today’s shows that emphasize storylines only). First class show all the way.

DMRR
Guest
DMRR

YES. & didn’t Jill kill herself, in order to blame Val or Gary?

TVJeff
Guest
TVJeff

Yes she did. Took pills, stuck her finger in a little hole in the trunk to shut it. Oh the random things we remember!

DMRR
Guest
DMRR

YES! I miss that show

Jimh
Guest
Jimh

This was the best of the prime time soaps…since Peyton Place but i liked them all..Alec Baldwin should had been included as a daytime star as he played Billy on The Docotrs!!!

Jimh
Guest
Jimh

Donna Mills, Ted Shackleford, Joan Van Ark and and kevin Dobson all did daytime too

DENIS ADAM POMPA
Guest
DENIS ADAM POMPA

Awesome show, simply the best, they don’t make this way anymore!

TVJeff
Guest
TVJeff

When will this be on a streaming service!!!

Kay
Guest
Kay

The best soap ever the baby storyline was done so well Joan Van Ark deserved a Emmy just a great soap

Soaphound
Guest
Soaphound

Oh Kay, the memories that storyline brings back! I remember rewatching that “Val sees her twins” scene over and over….so powerful. With all the dreck available on DVD, WHERE IS KNOT’S?

Jennifer
Guest
Jennifer

Oh, I did the exact same thing. I kept rewinding our Beta vcr over and over. The score music from that scene has been in my head ever since. I still get chills and tears watching it-so glad I’m not alone.

Keith
Guest
Keith

I agree 100%. After she gets the twins back and she lets the Fishers say goodbye to them – there has never been a more moving scene in television.

Kevin C
Guest
Kevin C

Knots IMO was by far the BEST nighttime drama on television and like you said Michael, Thursday nights have never been the same…of course TV hasn’t been the same in years but that’s a whole other subject…I didn’t start watching Knots until the second year when they decided to make it into a serial…By the way, Jaime Lyn Bauer actually guest star on Knots for an episode.

DMRR
Guest
DMRR

OMG! I remember watching on Thursday nights. I remember when Sid died & how sad that episode was-
I LOVED Abby and her affair with Gary; WOW. I remember Olivia’s escalating drug addiction. Remember when Paige slept with Karen’s son? OMG. #fire

Violet Lemm
Guest
Violet Lemm

Oh God,those were the days! I so loved that show, also Dallas, Falcon Crest, starting with Peyton Place and many others. There were so many of those night time soaps, as I called them. Never missed one!

rose
Guest
rose

Violet and all…Add Dynasty to list. What a cast. Also on my list, and while not a traditional soap, was The Thornbirds.

Violet Lemm2
Guest
Violet Lemm2

rose, I replied days ago, but maybe everyone’s on vacation as none of my replies have been posted, to you and others as well.Anyway, I just wanted to say I also loved Dynasty and do you remember Flamingo Road and the night time spin-off of Lisa with Eileen Fulton, from ATWT? Don’t remember the name.

Soaphound
Guest
Soaphound

Violet, wasn’t it called OUR PRIVATE WORLD? The great Eileen Fulton will never be forgotten in DAYTIME history. My mom started watching ATWT in 1968 (ish) just for Lisa.

Boop
Guest
Boop

Was it Our Private World or Our Private Lives?

Soaphound
Guest
Soaphound

Rose, thanks for mentioning my all-time favorite, THE THORN BIRDS. We watch the DVDs twice a year and reread the novel every other year. Talk about appointment TV!

Soaphound
Guest
Soaphound

You and me both, Violet. All the great actors and good writing that made those shows a part of our lives even today. Looking forward to them got me through many a dull work day!

Denise A Daniel
Guest
Denise A Daniel

You just had to go & rebreak my heart with that Grey & Laura clip. Sobs……

Channing Capwell
Guest
Channing Capwell

Thanks for sharing those clips. I started watching at 10 years old with my grandmother the very first night (yep, she let me stay up until 11). Knots has endured as my favorite television show of all time. The saga of Val’s twins, which culminated from multiple seasons worth of stories involving Lotus Point, The Wolfbridge Group, Dr. Ackerman and every character on the canvas, was the greatest soap umbrella story I have ever seen. To me it was Shakespeare. And that frustratingly fantastic season finale sent my teenage self into a tailspin for the entire summer. Happy 40th!

Jennifer
Guest
Jennifer

Yes! I agree with all of this! I was 11 when I started watching, the very first night (it was Christmas break, and we were all at my grandparents’ house)… and I watched every week till the finale in May 1993. Season 6… oh, Val’s babies. It was just… phenomenal stuff… like you said, Shakespeare. Joan Van Ark was just incredible. Goodness, I love and miss this show. So glad I’m not alone.

clb
Guest
clb

Knots Landing lasted 14 years and is one of the best. Great cast, great stories and great cul-de-sac! Can we go back for a re-union on CBS?

Susan
Guest
Susan

Great acting by the entire cast! One standout among many was when Val finally saw her twins. Riveting!

Michael (not Fairman)
Guest
Michael (not Fairman)

I thought that story arc with Olivia’s drug problem was phenomenal. If Val had been Olivia’s mother, she would have just utterly collapsed; if it had been Karen, she’d have spent her time wringing her hands and agonizing over what she’d done wrong and trying to be “supportive” and what not. But not Abby! No indeed; she handled it in true Abby fashion, got right down to work and starting taking care of business–and from that moment, the drugs did not have a chance! It was totally different from the way I had seen kid-is-taking-drugs storylines handled on any other… Read more »

Caleb
Guest
Caleb

Is the series available on any of the streaming services?

Aurora
Guest
Aurora

I have searched everywhere and can only find clips on YouTube whereas the others like Dallas are available in full episodes. Anyone have any info on streaming this show?

Matt
Guest
Matt

Knots Landing was much more satisfying than any other nighttime soap because it took itself seriously in the right places. Noteworthy were the use of music, lighting and editing. A lot of classic scenes have already been discussed but I remember one in which Paige went to a hospital to visit her mother. The scene opens with Paige walking towards the camera down a long hallway all alone carrying a flower. Then there’s drama in the hospital room. Then it closes with Paige walking away from the camera down that long hallway and pausing to drop the flower either onto… Read more »

All My Children

Michael B. Jordan Recalls His Acting Start as All My Children’s Reggie in SNL Opening Monologue

Last night, Michael B. Jordan hosted Saturday Night Live.  The Creed star, who is the director of the upcoming Creed III due out in March, took to the stage to deliver his opening monologue, and right off the top he mentioned his beginnings as All My Children’s Reggie.

Jordan portrayed Reggie from 2003-2006 on the ABC soap opera (his character was eventually adopted by Jack Montgomery).

When Michael hit the stage, he shared: “Yesterday, I had a crazy full-circle moment. We pre-shot some videos for the show and when I got to the studio I realized it was the exact same place where I shot one of my first acting roles on the soap opera All My Children.

Photo: ABC

He then tossed to a clip of his 16-year-old self in which Reggie says, “sometimes the animal in me gets kind of crazy” and then howls life a wolf at the end of the scene. Back to the SNL stage, Jordan said mockingly, “I’m pretty sure I hit puberty mid-howl.”

Jordan ended his monologue by looping it back to his early acting days on AMC, sharing: “I just want to say, I’m so grateful to be standing on this stage. Sometimes, I can take myself a little too seriously but tonight, I’m going to have fun, I’m just going to go for it. And maybe, just maybe let the inner animal get a little crazy.”

Watch Michael’s opening monologue below.  Then let us know, what did you think of the the AMC Reggie clip reference? Do you recall Michael’s days on the ABC daytime drama series? Comment below.

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Days Of Our Lives

Chrishell Stause Makes a Return to Days of our Lives

You just never know who you will find in purgatory (ah-hem) on Days of our Lives ! And now, in a surprise return, Chrishell Stause reprises her role of Jordan Ridgeway in all new episodes on the Peacock streaming soap opera.

In the latest promo released on Friday, Chrishell is seen in the ‘afterlife’ as Kate Roberts (Lauren Koslow) runs into Jordan … her old arch-nemesis! Let the games begin.

Stause, who is one of the mainstays of the Netflix reality series, Selling Sunset, comes back to her old stomping grounds at DAYS just as Kayla (Mary Beth Evans), Marlena (Deidre Hall) and Kate have ‘died’ and have all landed in this white space which looks to be heaven, but really is hell in disguise, especially given Marlena’s latest visit with Susan Banks (Stacy Haiduk), who seemingly reveals herself to be possessed by Satan.

Chrishell made her DAYS debut back in August of 2013 and exited the series on March 9th of 2015.  Stause returned in 2019 until Jordan finally met her demise. She returned once again in 2020 in a series of flashbacks.

Watch the promo for next week’s DAYS below.

Now let us know, what do you think of Chrishell returning to DAYS to raise some hell for Kate and company? Comment below.

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Days Of Our Lives

Zach Tinker Joins the Cast of CBS ‘Fire Country’

Zach Tinker (Sonny, Days and Fenmore, Y&R) has joined the cast of CBS’ freshmen drama Fire Country.  Primetime viewers previously saw him on the season premiere of ABC’s Big Sky.

According to Deadline: Tinker will make his series debut this weekend in a special episode that airs immediately following the AFC Championship game on Sunday night, January 29th.

In Fire Country, Tinker takes on the role of Collin, who is said to be a  humble, charming, and talented probie firefighter.  In addition, it turns out the Collin is the son of a firefighting hero and he now is trying to live up to dear old dad’s name.

Photo: CBS

The series is centered around young convict Bode Donovan (Max Thieriot) who joins a firefighting program that returns him to his small Northern California hometown, where he and other inmates work alongside elite firefighters to extinguish massive blazes across the region.

Will you be checking out Zach in his new role on CBS’ Fire Country? Comment below.

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DAYS Billy Flynn (Chad), Greg Rikaart (Le0) and Mary Beth Evans (Kayla) talk with Michael Fairman on the series move to Peacock and their latest storylines.. Leave A Comment
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