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CBS Developing the First Black Daytime Soap Opera in 35 Years

In a move that could bode well for the future of daytime dramas, CBS Studios and the NAACP, in partnership with P&G Studios, is developing a new sudser for CBS.

via: The Hollywood Reporter

CBS is developing a soap opera about a wealthy family that could become the first daytime TV drama with a predominately Black cast in decades.

The project is titled The Gates and it follows the lives of a wealthy Black family living in a posh, gated community.

The show will be produced by a CBS Studios/NAACP production venture in partnership with P&G Studios, a division of Procter & Gamble. The Gates will be written by Emmy-winning daytime veteran Michele Val Jean (The Bold & The Beautiful), who will also serve as showrunner. Val Jean has also written more than 2,000 episodes of daytime TV.

The last Black daytime soap was NBC’s short-lived Generations, which launched in 1989 as a half-hour drama and was reportedly the first U.S. soap to center around a Black family from its inception. Also, Fox’s 2015 hit drama Empire was regarded by some as a soap opera, though one that aired in primetime.

“The Gates will be everything we love about daytime drama, from a new and fresh perspective,” said Sheila Ducksworth, president of the CBS Studios NAACP venture (pictured above). “This series will salute an audience that has been traditionally underserved, with the potential to be a groundbreaking moment for broadcast television. 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.”

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Launching any new daytime soap would actually break a decades-long streak as the genre has fallen out of favor given its declining ratings amid competition from streaming. The last time a broadcaster launched a new soap opera was in 1999 (NBC’s Passions), while CBS’ last new soap was The Bold & The Beautiful, which debuted in 1987.

There are currently only three surviving daytime soaps on broadcast: The Young & the Restless, Bold & the Beautiful and General Hospital (with Days of Our Lives on Peacock). In 2011, ABC made headlines for axing two of the long-running soaps, All My Children and One Life to Live. Two years later, Prospect Park later attempted to re-launch the soaps online. But CBS recently renewed the 51-year-old Young & The Restless for four additional years.

Duckworth and Val Jean will executive produce The Gates alongside Leon Russell, Derrick Johnson and Kimberly Doebereiner.




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