An hour of The Gates? CBS president spills more news about the new soap

Posted Friday, March 15, 2024 10:12:12 AM
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CBS seems committed to The Gates -- and the future of soap operas on the eye network.

Soap fans rejoiced when CBS announced on March 6 that it was developing a brand-new daytime drama series. The last soap to debut was NBC's Passions in 1999, and the 21st century has seen several beloved soaps canceled, including the CBS mainstays As the World Turns and Guiding Light.

Now, the company that gave birth to soaps and produced ATWT and GL, Procter & Gamble, has partnered with CBS and the NAACP to develop a new daytime soap centered around a wealthy Black family.

In an interview with Vulture in which he discussed the future of network television and streaming, CBS President George Cheeks expressed his enthusiasm for the new joint venture and offered a little more background -- including why the network chose to turn its new venture with the NAACP into a daytime soap project. Cheeks also answered two questions that fans have had since the news of the new soap broke: when will the soap start to air, and will it be a 30-minute or hourlong show?

"When we hired Sheila Ducksworth to run the NAACP venture, she and I had multiple meetings talking about what different genres she was going to lean into, and we talked a lot about daytime," Cheeks said. "One of the things that the data made very clear to both of us is that daytime soap operas over index with Black women, and yet when you look at soap operas, it's usually sort of a white-led family with supporting characters that reflect more of our society. So we just thought, wouldn't it be interesting to flip that and make the core anchor family a Black family, and then make the other characters reflect more the broader scope of society?"

That's where veteran soap writer Michele Val Jean comes in. Val Jean began her soap career writing for Santa Barbara in 1992, and has worked on Generations, General Hospital, and most recently, The Bold and the Beautiful. She has the distinction of being the first Black head writer of a US daytime soap.

"[Michele] came up with a pitch, and we loved it," Cheeks explained. "We brought Procter & Gamble into it as well, because if there were going to be [product] integrations, we could do it more holistically and organically. All of that is to say, we did a lot of work on the front end to put this together. So while yes, it's development, it's accelerated development."

Cheeks cited the continued success of The Young and the Restless and B&B as another reason for expanding the network's soap lineup, but he was not able to give a specific time frame for when The Gates will premiere.

"I wish I could tell you more about exact timing," he said. "But we're so focused on getting it right, and that will dictate when we're ready to launch it."

What do you think? Are you excited for a possible hour of The Gates? We want to hear from you -- so drop your comments in the Comments section below, tweet about it on Twitter, share it on Facebook, or chat about it on our Message Boards.

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