CBS officially orders ‘The Gates’ soap that’s likely to replace ‘The Talk’

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After weeks of speculation, CBS has give the daytime soap opera “The Gates” a series order.

The show will be television’s first Black daytime soap to debut in 35 years.

CBS said that the series, which follows the lives of a Black family living in a wealthy gated neighborhood, will debut in January 2025.

That timing matches up with the previously-announced December 2024 end of “The Talk” on the network, though CBS did not confirm if “The Gates” is the replacement for “The Talk” or specify a timeslot. 

CBS had announced “The Gates” was being developed in March 2024. It partnered with the NAACP and P&G Studios on the project.

Michele Val Jean, who has written over 2,000 epsiodes of “The Bold & the Beautiful” and “General Hospital,” will serve as showrunner. She is executive producing alongside Sheila Ducksworth, who heads up the CBS-NAACP joint venture. Leon Russell, Derrick Johnson and Kimberly Doebereiner will also get EP credit.

The last soap opera to center around Black characters was “Generations,” which debuted in 1989.

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Soap operas have been having a mixed run of late.

The genre, which once dominated afternoon network TV, is down to just three on the major U.S. networks — “The Young & The Restless” and “The Bold & The Beautiful” on CBS and “General Hospital” on ABC. “Young” was recently renewed for four seasons by CBS. “Bold” is also renewed into 2025.

At least some CBS stations appear to be poised to return to having a decent soap block in the afternoon.

However, CBS did not announce a runtime for “The Gates.” Its two current soaps run 30 minutes each and “The Talk” is vacating an hour-long slot.

It’s possible the network could expand one of its current offerings to 60 minutes with “Gates” coming in at a half hour or opt to run the newcomer for the full hour.

If all three soaps end up only being 30 minutes long, the network would essentially need to fill a leftover half hour, though it seems more likely that “Gates” will run the full hour.

Slotting the newcomer to only 30 minutes would mean the network would either have to fill the spot with another production, run a repeat of another program in the spot or give affiliates back the slot for local news, syndicated or other programming, which doesn’t seem as likely.

It’s also possible that CBS could be considering an broader schedule shakeup that would see the existing soaps, assuming they both continue, moving elsewhere and “The Gates” getting their old time or dropping into a completely different one.

The NBC television network completely exited the soap business in 2022, when it announced longtime show “Days of Our Lives” would move to its streaming service Peacock.

The network replaced “Days” with “NBC News Daily.”

Soap operas have long been considered to be relatively inexpensive to produce while also being effective at drawing in viewers valued by advertisers, though their audiences have undergone shifts in recent years.

Soap operas are distinguished from other TV shows by relatively flat lighting, reusing sets and drama-filled storylines. Production costs can be kept lower by not having to change lighting setups for each take, recycling old sets and tight production schedules compared to hourlong dramas.

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