New CBS Show ‘The Gates’ Marks Return of Predominantly Black Cast to Daytime Soaps for First Time in Three Decades


March 8, 2024

Let the grandmas know we’re returning to the daytime “stories” in big way!

CBS and the NAACP are collaborating to produce The Gates, the first daytime soap opera with a predominantly Black cast since the trailblazing Generations in 1989. According to Entertainment Weekly, this historic show aims to offer a fresh perspective, featuring multidimensional characters, engaging storylines, and putting Black culture front and center.

Generations premiered in 1989 and was the first-ever daytime soap to highlight a Black family. Despite its groundbreaking nature, the show faced challenges in network ratings and was ultimately canceled just 13 months after its debut. Sally Sussman, the series creator, reflects on the cancelation, noting the lack of internet advocacy in those pre-internet days. She emphasizes the show’s ahead-of-its-time design to organically feature African American, white, and mixed family life.

Now nearly 35 years later, Emmy-winning daytime veteran Michele Val Jean, known for her contributions to The Bold and the Beautiful, takes the reins as The Gates’ showrunner, writer, and executive producer. The series will dig into the lives of a wealthy Black family residing in an upscale community. Sheila Ducksworth, President of the CBS Studios NAACP venture, expressed excitement, stating, “The Gates will have impactful representation, one of the key touchstones of the venture.” With the commitment to showcasing Black culture and narratives, the series is poised to resonate with an audience that has been traditionally underserved in daytime drama.

In prime-time television, Tyler Perry has played a key role in addressing the lack of predominantly Black casts in soap operas since Generations. Perry’s soap operas, including successful series like The Haves and The Have Nots, Sistas, and The Oval, have become an essential component of Black representation in the soap opera genre. According to Essence, the Oprah Winfrey Network’s ratings turned around after a rocky start in 2011, due in large part to Perry’s shows. In 2015, the network delivered its then most-watched year, and firmly positioned itself as the #2 cable network in primetime among African-American women.


As The Gates takes center stage, it pays homage to the legacy of Black soaps while breaking new ground in the world of daytime drama. The series is set to make a lasting impact–and we can’t wait to watch it!

Cover photo: After Three Decades, CBS’ ‘The Gates’ Marks Return of a Predominantly Black Cast to Daytime Soaps/The Gates, is set to be the first daytime soap opera with a predominantly Black cast since Generations in 1989 / Credit: NBC

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