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How Black Representation Finally Coming to Daytime Soap Operas

A joint venture between CBS Studios and the NAACP is developing a new daytime drama for the CBS Television Network.

The series, titled The Gates, will follow the lives of a wealthy Black family in a posh, gated community and will be the first soap opera with a predominately Black cast to air in 35 years. Michele Val Jean, who has written over 2,000 episodes of daytime dramas and won multiple Daytime Emmy and WGA Awards for her work on The Bold and the Beautiful and General Hospital, will serve as writer and showrunner. Val Jean will also be an executive producer alongside Sheila Ducksworth, Leon Russell, Derrick Johnson and Kimberly Doebereiner.

The Gates will be everything we love about daytime drama, from a new and fresh perspective,” said Ducksworth, president of the CBS Studios NAACP venture. “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.”

The Gates will be produced by the CBS Studios and NAACP production venture in partnership with P&G Studios, a division of Procter & Gamble that was formed to increase a diverse range of voices as well as increase the visibility of Black artists on broadcast and streaming platforms in an ever-evolving media landscape. While numbers have increased in diverse representation over the years, Black actors only made up about 12.9% of leading roles in cable-scripted shows in a 2023 survey conducted by Gitnux. A soap opera like The Gates, known for its numerous cast members, strives to increase this statistic once it airs.

“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,” Ducksworth continued in a press release. “I also want to thank CBS’ George Cheeks, NAACP’s Derrick Johnson and P&G’s Marc Pritchard for their personal involvement and support to take our next step forward with The Gates.

The Gates is especially important to daytime television as it will be one of the few remaining soap operas still airing on television, the first new soap opera to be announced since 1999 and will bring more diverse representation to a genre known to lack in its diversity. The project also aims to improve rankings and popularity compared to Generations, the first daytime soap opera to feature a Black family as the stars. Though beloved by the community, Generations received low ratings during its 13-month run, ultimately ending in 1991.

The project has no current release date at the time of writing, but it is projected to air in 2025.

Explore more articles for the Black Community here.

The post How Black Representation Finally Coming to Daytime Soap Operas appeared first on DiversityComm.

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