NEW YORK -- 'Ryan's Hope,' a soap opera that has won 17 daytime Emmys since it premiered in 1975, will go off the air in January, ABC announced Tuesday.
Fittingly, its last broadcast will be on Friday the 13th.
When the show premiered, it was to high critical praise for the excellence of its writing. The scene was set in New York City, where the Ryan family owned a bar. Unlike other soap operas they had solid ethnic identity -- Irish and Roman Catholic.
The alumni of 'Ryan's Hope' include Corbin Bernsen of 'L.A. Law,' Nell Carter of 'Gimme a Break,' Christine Ebersole of 'The Cavanaughs,' Kate Mulgrew of 'HeartBeat' and Catherine Hicks.
The show also from time to time featured characters played by former Hollywood stars, including Sylvia Sidney, Gloria DeHaven and Gale Sondergaard.
Helen Gallagher, who has played matriarch Maeve Ryan since the series opener, has been awarded a record three Emmys as outstanding actress in a daytime drama.
The soap opera was cancelled because it was being preempted by too many ABC affiliates in favor of local news shows -- coverage had begun to dip below 75 percent.
Jo Ann Emmerich, vice president of daytime programs for ABC Entertainment, said the soap opera would be sorely missed on the ABC scheduled and added:
''Ryan's Hope' has not been rejected by the audience but has simply been unavailable to viewers because of a continued diminishing of station clearances. Without sufficient stations to carry it, the program has become a victim of audience erosion.'
No replacement show has been announced.