US soap opera 'The Young and the Restless' hits 12,000th episode

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Actors Melody Thomas Scott and Eric Braeden of 'The Young and the Restless' are seen in February 2005 at CBS Television City in Los Angeles

"The Young and the Restless," one of the longest-running TV soap operas ever filmed, marks another milestone next week with its 12,000th episode in the US.

"Since 1973, 'The Young and the Restless' has been part of daily life for millions of Americans," CBS, which airs the series, said in a release about the big day next Tuesday.

The show has tens of millions of fans in dozens of countries.

It centers on families living in an imaginary Wisconsin town called Genoa City, and follows their personal dramas of love, marriage, separation and people vanishing before mysteriously reappearing.

Some of the actors have played the same characters for decades.

To celebrate episode 12,000, a special week for the show is planned, featuring flashbacks and the return of what CBS called beloved characters.