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The Gates, a daytime soap opera featuring a predominantly Black cast, will debut on CBS in 2025, according to Variety. 

Initial reports of the series surfaced in March, emerging from development within CBS Studios’ collaboration with the NAACP. According to the outlet, the forthcoming series will showcase the lives of an affluent Black family living in an exclusive “gated community.”

The Hollywood Reporter cited that the CBS-NAACP-produced soap opera will make history upon its debut, becoming the first soap opera in 35 years to feature an all-Black cast since 1989’s Generations.

The Gates will be everything we love about daytime drama, from a new and fresh perspective,” said CBS Studios President Sheila Ducksworth in a statement.

“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.”

Ducksworth added, “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.”

Legendary TV writer Michele Val Jean, the mastermind behind more than 2,000 episodes of daytime soap opera classics like The Bold & The Beautiful and General Hospital, will work alongside CBS and the NAACP to executive produce and write for the forthcoming show.

Variety reported that The Gates is slated to debut in January 2025, though an exact date is unclear.

What was the first all-Black soap opera about? 

Black characters in the soap opera world were sparse until the groundbreaking drama Generations premiered on NBC in March 1989.

Created by Sally Sussman Morina and executive produced by Richard and Esther Shapiro, the series took viewers into the fictional world of the affluent Black family, the Marshalls, and the wealthy White family, the Whitmore clan, living in Chicago.

At its core, Generations was a sprawling saga centered on love, betrayal, ambition and family dynamics. Against the backdrop of the bustling city, viewers were introduced to a diverse ensemble of characters, each grappling with their own dreams, desires, and dilemmas as they navigated life in the windy city, according to A Hot Set.

The show’s pioneering approach to storytelling was evident in its commitment to representing the full spectrum of the Black experience. From corporate executives to working-class heroes, Generations depicted a rich tapestry of African American life, showcasing the complexities and nuances of race, class and identity.

Cast members included Kristoff St. John, who played the handsome, rich, and charming Adam Marshall, a college student with the demeanor of a playboy. Alongside Adam were other compelling characters, such as his sister Chantal Marshall, played by Debbi Morgan, and a young Vivica A. Fox played Adam’s love interest. Together, they formed a dynamic trio that added depth and diversity to the show’s ensemble cast. The soap opera aired from 1989 to 1991.

Before Generations, the late and beloved Ellen Holly blazed a trail for diversity in the soap opera realm. In 1968, she made history as the first Black leading star on ABC’s acclaimed soap opera One Life to Live. Before her groundbreaking role, Holly had already made a name for herself as a Broadway star.

Best remembered for her portrayal of Carla Gray on One Life to Live, Holly graced the show with her talent from 1968 to 1980. Following a three-year hiatus, she returned to the long-running series for another impactful stint from 1983 to 1985.

Sadly, Holly passed away in December 2023 at the age of 92. Despite her departure, her legacy as a trailblazer for diversity and representation in the soap opera industry lives on, inspiring generations of actors and viewers alike.


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