Soap Opera, CBS, Sheila Ducksworth

Are We Ready For A Black Daytime Soap Opera?

CBS network has officially greenlit "The Gates," the first Black daytime soap opera in almost 35 years.

CBS has officially greenlit The Gates, the first Black daytime soap opera to air in almost 35 years.

Paramount Global said The Gates will premiere on CBS in January 2025, Deadline reports. The news came shortly after the broadcast network announced the cancellation of The Talk. It’s speculated that the soap opera will fill that time slot.

The series will follow a wealthy Black family living in an upscale gated community. It fills a major void of Black representation in daytime soap operas since Generations, which aired from 1989 to 1991.

Daytime Emmy award-winning writer Michele Val Jean will serve as writer, showrunner, and executive producer on The Gates, bringing her years of experience writing for over 2,000 episodes of The Bold & The Beautiful and General Hospital. Joining her on the EP side include the president of the CBS Studios/NAACP venture, Sheila Ducksworth, as well as Leon Russell, Derrick Johnson, and Kimberly Doebereiner.

The show’s launch date, time slot, and cast will be announced later. The news comes one month after CBS announced its partnership with the NAACP to develop the daytime soap opera.

The Gates will be everything we love about daytime drama, from a new and fresh perspective This series will salute an audience that has been traditionally underserved, with the potential to be a groundbreaking moment for broadcast television,” Duckworth said.

“With multi-dimensional characters, juicy storylines and Black culture front and center, The Gates will have impactful representation, one of the key touchstones of the venture. I’m excited to develop this project with CBS and P&G, two of the longest and most passionate champions of broadcast and daytime television, and the NAACP, whose enduring commitment to Black voices and artists is both powerful and inspiring.”

While Black characters have helped add to the storylines and representation of major daytime soap operas, there have been few daytime soaps featuring an all-Black cast. Generations has served as the first and only Black soap opera in over 30 years.

It was a 30-minute NBC show that followed generations of the Marshall and Whitmore families. By January 1991, it was canceled due to low ratings after 470 episodes. Over the years, the daytime soap opera scene would flourish in the ’90s but take a hit in the 2000s when TV viewership changed.

In 2011, NBC shocked many when it canceled All My Children and One Life to Live. Currently, only three surviving daytime soaps remain: The Young & the Restless, Bold & the Beautiful, and General Hospital.

Days of Our Lives moved from NBC to Peacock a few years back.

Lee Daniels’ Empire was considered a primetime soap when it aired on Fox from 2015 to 2020. Now The Gates will aim to carry on Generations’ legacy and possibly revive the daytime soap opera industry.

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