The two-hour television special airs May 19 on ABC

Soap operas bring way more than just drama to the table!

The Story of Soaps, a two-hour television event from ABC and PEOPLE, will highlight the massive impact soap operas have had on television over the years.

Premiering May 19 on ABC, the special features some of today’s biggest stars — many of whom started their careers working on daytime dramas.

"When people think about soaps, they think about daytime, that’s not the whole story," Andy Cohen, whose Real Housewives franchise has many similarities with soap operas, says in a promo giving viewers their first look at the show.

“It was one of the most important moments of my life,” adds Alec Baldwin, who starred in several soap operas over the years, including The Doctors and Knots Landing.

Revealing just one of the ways soap operas have shaped the television landscape over the years, Bryan Cranston — whose early roles include a stint on the ABC soap opera Loving in 1983 — notes, “daytime created serialized television, which we love now.”

“There are elements of soap opera in every dramatic television show,” adds Jon Hamm. “It was the first binge-watch.”

Carol Burnett The Story of Soaps
Carol Burnett
| Credit: ABC

The Story of Soaps will offer viewers a deep dive into the rich cultural history of the soap opera — and how many aspects of modern television dramas can be traced back to the storytelling structures that have been employed for over three decades. Additionally, the special examines how female creators became a dominant force in the genre, after making the original transition over from radio and television.

To help bring the story to life, an impressive group of experts has been assembled, including Carol Burnett, Vivica A. Fox, Denise Richards, John Stamos, Chandra Wilson, soap opera legend Susan Lucci, as well as many more.

The Story of Soaps airs Tuesday, May 19 at 9:00 p.m. ET on ABC.