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TV & Showbiz

CBS Plans New Soap Opera…But Where Will It Go?

An African American couple sits on a couch with a remote control watching television.Deposit Photos

Just when you thought the genre was in the middle of a slow death, CBS announced plans to launch a brand new soap opera this year.

Maybe soaps aren’t dying after all. At least, CBS seems to think there’s still life left to the genre. The Eye network announced a partnership with the NAACP to develop a new soap opera.

The show, to be called The Gates, will feature a predominately-Black cast. It’ll be the first time a mostly Black daytime soap premieres since Generations made its debut on NBC in 1989. That was 35 years ago. (Yeah, I know…how could 1989 have been 35 years ago?!?)

The partnership will work with a former writer from CBS’s The Bold and the Beautiful. Michele Val Jean will serve as writer, showrunner, and executive producer, Variety reported. She has written for The Bold and the Beautiful since 2012 and has also written for shows like General Hospital and Santa Barbara.

The Gates will follow the lives of a wealthy Black family living in a posh, gated community, The Hollywood Reporter reported. CBS Studios/NAACP production venture in partnership with P&G Studios, a division of Procter & Gamble. Soap fans will likely remember P&G had a long association with soaps for decades. Past P&G shows included Guiding Light, the longest-running drama in broadcasting; As the World Turns, Another World, The Edge of Night, and Search for Tomorrow, among others.

Daytime television was once replete with soaps. Now, there are just three left on network television: The Young and the Restless and The Bold and the Beautiful on CBS, and General Hospital on ABC. Days of Our Lives, which premiered on NBC in 1965, left the network for its streaming service, Peacock, in 2022.

The last new soap opera to premiere was Passions on NBC. It, like dozens of others, long-since left the airwaves.

But there’s one big question about this new soap opera

CBS plans to air The Gates on its daytime schedule. But if you stop and think about it, it’s a packed daytime schedule already. Looking at eastern time zones, CBS airs The Price is Right at 11 a.m. The Young and the Restless airs at 12:30 p.m. after stations’ local newscasts at noon. The Bold and the Beautiful follows at 1:30 p.m. The Talk, a daytime talk show similar to but much less political than ABC’s The View, airs at 2 p.m. Then, Let’s Make a Deal runs for an hour at 3 p.m.

Some CBS stations run Let’s Make a Deal at 10 a.m., when the network is “down,” meaning it’s not offering network programming. Those stations then run local programming at 3 p.m. instead of 10 a.m.

So you can immediately see a problem: There’s no slot available for a new show unless something old gets the ax.

We don’t know whether The Gates will be a half-hour or hour-long show. But I suspect there’ll be an hour hole to fill in CBS’s lineup.

The Young and the Restless is TV’s number one soap and CBS recently renewed it for four years. The Bold and the Beautiful somehow managed to become the most watch soap in the world, airing in dozens of countries. I’d say they’re both safe from cancellation. Meanwhile, The Price is Right still pulls in huge numbers, often beating Y&R in total viewers. Let’s Make a Deal is still strong in its 15th year with Wayne Brady at the helm.

That’s four out of five shows that seem to be doing well enough to be immune from the ax.

That leaves The Talk, which seems to be the lowest-rated of CBS’s daytime lineup. That’s the show I expect to disappear when The Gates is ready to debut.

The real question, though, is what happens if The Gates is only a half-hour? What would you place in that other half-hour slot? A game show? That might be a problem for stations that don’t air Let’s Make a Deal at 3 p.m. Those stations will have a game show as the lead-in to whatever 3 p.m. programming they offer, whether it’s a syndicated show or local news. And they surely wouldn’t break up a block of soaps to put something different in between.

I’m betting The Gates will be an hour and it’ll take the 2 p.m. slot.

But we’ll have to wait and see how it really plays out.

the authorPatrick
Patrick is a Christian with more than 30 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.