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CBS Schoolbreak Special is an American anthology series for teenagers that aired on CBS from April 1980 to January 1996. The series began under the title CBS Afternoon Playhouse, and was changed during the 1984 – 85 season. The concept was similar to ABC's Afterschool Special.

CBS Schoolbreak Special
Cbs schoolbreak special screenshot.jpg
Titular screenshot
Also known as''CBS Afternoon Playhouse''
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons13
No. of episodes83
Production company(s)CBS
Original networkCBS
Original releaseApril 19, 1980 (1980-04-19) –
January 23, 1996 (1996-01-23)


List of specialsEdit

Afternoon Playhouse specialsEdit

Under its original name, the Afternoon Playhouse aired a handful of made-for-TV films, the most notable of which was the 1983 release of Revenge of the Nerd.[1] The TV special was often mistaken for the film of a similar name which premiered one year later in 1984.

Season 1 (January 24 – June 12, 1984)Edit

Episode Synopsis
Dead Wrong: The John Evans Story Convicted of murder and set for execution, John Evans tells his story to the prison chaplain. Starring John Laughlin, and Timothy Gibbs.
Welcome Home, Jellybean The story of Geraldine Oxley, a cognitively deficient 12-year-old girl whose parents remove her from the institution where she's been raised in order to give her a normal-as-possible home life. Christopher Collet stars as her older brother.
All the Kids Do It The consequences of driving under the influence are suffered by a teenager Scott Baio who has earned them, and by his family, who have not. Directed by Henry Winkler; co-starring Barbara Bosson and George Dzundza as Baio's parents, Jeremy Licht as Baio's brother, and featuring Danny DeVito.
The Alfred G. Graebner Memorial High School Handbook of Rules and Regulations Teenagers from diverse backgrounds experience their freshman year in high school, in this adaptation of the same-titled novel. Starring Fisher Stevens and Suzanne Snyder.

Season 2 (October 10, 1984 – April 23, 1985)Edit

Episode Synopsis
Hear Me Cry Two high school sophomores decide to make a suicide pact. Starring Lee Montgomery and Robert MacNaughton. Co-starring Claudia Wells and Elinor Donahue.
Contract for Life: The S.A.D.D. Story The true story of high school hockey coach Bob Anastas. After losing two of his finest players to alcohol-related car crashes, Anastas gets their teammates — and the players' families — to prevent more tragedies by forming Students Against Driving Drunk. Co-starring Nicky Katt, Timothy Gibbs, and Don Dubbins.
The Exchange Student Teenager from India comes to the US to live with her American 'sister'.
The Day the Senior Class Got Married Students are paired off in a make-believe marriage class, so they can learn how money problems can affect a marriage. Based on the novel by Gloria D. Miklowitz.
Ace Hits the Big Time On his first day at Manhattan's Kennedy High, 16-year-old Horace "Ace" Hobart (Rob Stone) wears an eyepatch to class. Consequently, he's urged to join a gang of street youths who run the school, or do they? Co-starring James LeGros.
Student Court When a teenager is caught shoplifting, she decides to stand before a jury of her peers, rather than face judgement from a Juvenile Court. Co-starring Marcelino Sanchez and Moosie Drier.

Season 3 (October 22, 1985 – April 1, 1986)Edit

Episode Synopsis
The War Between the Classes In this Emmy Award-winning adaptation, racial discrimination is examined when a high school teacher assigns his students to play "The Color Game", thus dividing the youngsters into different social classes. Based on the same-titled novel by Gloria D. Miklowitz; co-starring Marcelino Sanchez.
Have You Tried Talking to Patty? Wanting to be accepted by her peers, a hearing-impaired teenager attempts to change her image. Co-starring Khrystyne Haje, Dedee Pfeiffer, Mark Patton, Heather Langenkamp and Joseph Mascolo.
Babies Having Babies Five pregnant teenage girls meet in the same group-counseling session. They discuss their varied feelings about their common situation. Directed by Martin Sheen, whose real-life daughter Renee Estevez portrays one of the young moms-to-be. Also starring Eileen Ryan, Jill Whelan, Claudia Wells and Lori Loughlin.
God, the Universe & Hot Fudge Sundaes A teenage girl questions her religion after her sister is diagnosed with a terminal illness.

Season 4 (September 10, 1986 – June 21, 1987)Edit

Episode Synopsis
The Drug Knot Dermot Mulroney portrays a high school student who seems hopelessly addicted to drugs, until he's slapped with the most horrifying wake-up call imaginable. A pre-Married...With Children star David Faustino co-stars as Mulroney's younger brother; Tracy Nelson plays Dermot's girlfriend. Also starring Rance Howard, and directed by Anson Williams.
Little Miss Perfect Not to be confused with the junior beauty pageant-reality show of the same title. Debbie Welker is upset over being forced into a new neighborhood and a new high school. Having a (seemingly) flawless, and oblivious (at first), single mother doesn't help at all. To cope with her problems, Debbie takes up binging and purging, which leads to an even greater problem, and to a long-overdue revelation from her mom. Co-starring April Lerman and Lisa Wilcox; directed by actress Marsha Mason; co-written by actress Judy Strangis.
My Dissident Mom Spouses' conflicting opinions on nuclear weapons policy jeopardize not only the husband (Martin Sheen)'s impending business deal, but their relationships with each other and their kids. Co-starring Lukas Haas and Amy Green.
The Day They Came to Arrest the Book Uncomfortable with racist language in "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn", a high school student and his parents attempt to get the book removed from the school's library. Starring Jonathan Crombie. Special appearance by Anne Meara.
What If I'm Gay? The popular and macho captain of his high school soccer team is forced to confront his homosexuality, after his buddies discover a male pornography magazine in his bedroom. Co-starring Gabrielle Carteris.
Juvi Teenager Susan Atherton (Traci Lind) is wrongfully accused of theft by her stepfather, who has her arrested and placed in juvenile hall. Co-starring Khrystyne Haje. Written and directed by actress Joanna Lee.
An Enemy Among Us A teenager is stunned to discover that he has contracted the AIDS virus after having a blood transfusion.

Season 5 (October 20, 1987 – April 19, 1988)Edit

Episode Synopsis
Soldier Boys Detective Robb (James Earl Jones) investigates a club for teenage boys who take their "war game" fantasies into the real world.
Never Say Goodbye After her grandmother is pronounced brain dead following a stroke, a teenage girl must make the painful decision whether to continue life support.
Home Sweet Homeless After a series of bad luck, a single mother and her sons become homeless and are forced to live in their car. Co-starring Michael Faustino and Alfonso Ribeiro.
Gangs On leave from the army, a 19-year-old returns home to find that his kid younger is the leader of a gang. A gang that he once led himself.

Season 6 (October 18, 1988 – April 11, 1989)Edit

Episode Synopsis
No Means No When Megan Wells (Dana Barron) becomes a date-rape victim, she and her brother Michael (Chad Lowe) must deal with the fallout, which has lasting effects on their relationship with each other, and with the opposite sex in general. Co-starring Tracy Wells and Lori Loughlin.
Gambler A 17-year-old becomes addicted to gambling, which soon takes over his life. Not to be confused with the James Caan movie of the same title, despite similar subject matter. Co-starring George Dzundza.
Words to Live By Two teenage boys are suspended from school after distributing an underground newspaper on campus. Starring Ricky Paull Goldin.
My Past Is My Own Two black teenagers are sent through time to experience how blacks were treated during the civil rights movement. Co-starring CCH Pounder.
15 and Getting Straight A look at a drug addiction treatment center for teenagers (including real-life victims Drew Barrymore and Corey Feldman), where the counselors are ex-addicts themselves.
A Matter of Conscience A teenager is stunned when his grandfather's Nazi past becomes known to his family. Co-starring Eli Wallach.

Season 7 (October 17, 1989 – April 24, 1990)Edit

Episode Synopsis
The Frog Girl A 15-year-old school girl refuses to dissect a frog and sues her school district for not allowing her to do an alternative project.
Flour Babies A group of high school students take part in a parenting class where their assignment is to treat a sack of flour like a newborn baby. Co-starring Ian Ziering.
The Girl with the Crazy Brother A teenage girl (Patricia Arquette) struggles to cope when her brother is diagnosed as a schizophrenic. Co-starring Alex Desert; Belinda Carlisle contributes several songs from her album Runaway Horses.
American Eyes A Korean boy, who has been adopted by an American family, decides to attend a Korean-American summer camp to learn more about his heritage.
Maggie's Secret 15-year-old Maggie Kingston must decide how to resolve not one but two drinking problems: that of her father (Joseph Bottoms); and that of her mother (Mimi Kuzyk).
Malcolm Takes a Shot Teenage athlete Malcolm Jones is in denial about his epilepsy, as he strives for super-stardom on the basketball court. Directed by Mario Van Peebles, who also makes a cameo as Malcolm's doctor.

Season 8 (October 16, 1990 – April 2, 1991)Edit

Episode Synopsis
The Fourth Man Not to be confused with the Paul Verhoeven movie of the same title. Seeking the respect of his star athlete-father, teenage computer-wiz Joey (Peter Billingsley) uses steroids to make his high school track and field team, and to win Heidi (Nicole Eggert), the class knockout, as his girlfriend. But soon those "roids" take their toll, both on Joey's social life and on his scholastic status, and, ultimately, on his body as well. Co-starring Adrienne Barbeau (as Joey's mom), Vince Vaughn (as his best friend) and Lyle Alzado. Co-scripted and directed by Joanna Lee, with a music score by TV host John Tesh.
Lies of the Heart Following a hit-and-run, wealthy high school seniors Jordan Crane (Christopher Rydell) and his best friend Kyle (Christopher Collet) are forced to deal with the consequences of their actions. It doesn't get any easier when Jordan, who was driving, falls in love with his victim's financially struggling daughter, who has no idea (at first) that he's responsible. Also starring Tricia O'Neil as Jordan's mother; with Brooke Theiss and Vince Vaughn.
The Emancipation of Lizzie Stern After a woman announces plans to move their family to another state, her 16-year-old daughter (Tammy Lauren) – the title character – seeks legal emancipation so she won't have to leave the school and friends she's had for so many years. Ultimately, Lizzie gets what she fought for, but wins much more than she counted on.
But He Loves Me When teenager Cassie O'Brian (Kelli Williams) hits it off with Charlie Tyler (Donovan Leitch), the most popular boy in her school, everything is wonderful, until he becomes violent towards her. Both take turns narrating this story. Co-starring Season Hubley and Robin Tunney.
Abby, My Love Teenager Chip Fulton (Josh Hamilton) is determined to help his new girlfriend Abby Morris (Cara Buono) when he learns she is being sexually abused at home. Anthony Heald and Veronica Cartwright portray Abby's parents.

Season 9 (October 22, 1991 – April 7, 1992)Edit

Episode Synopsis
Dedicated to the One I Love Teenage Amy Miller (Lisa Dean Ryan) is stunned to discover what killed her beloved boyfriend: AIDS. With Joely Fisher.
Two Teens and a Baby Two teenage brothers (one of them portrayed by Brice Beckham) are stunned when their mother announces that she is expecting a daughter. Co-starring Robert Picardo (as the boys' dad) and Maureen Flannigan.
50 Simple Things Kids Can Do to Save the Earth Special featuring 50 things young people can do to save the earth.
Please, God, I'm Only Seventeen Young Michael Leland is critically injured in an automobile accident, which teaches both his sister (Roxana Zal) and his best friend Steve (Stan Kirsch) never to take life for granted. Co-starring Randolph Mantooth and Talia Shire as Michael's parents.
Different Worlds: A Story of Interracial Love Two teens from racially different background begin a relationship after witnessing the murder of a mutual friend.

Season 10 (October 20, 1992 – April 13, 1993)Edit

Episode Synopsis
Sexual Considerations Teenager Jen (Heather McAdam) blows the whistle on sexual harassment by a classmate, so a student court is hand-picked to straighten things out. Co-starring Bernie Casey, Tito Ortiz and Hudson Leick.
Words Up! An illiterate 25-year-old (Kadeem Hardison) returns to high school, posing as a teenager so he can learn to read. Co-starring Richard Moll, David Faustino and Vanna White (as herself).
Love Off Limits Two youngsters cry censorship when their school demands that they edit out "inappropriate" portions of their student film. Co-starring Steve Guttenberg (who also directed) and John Savage.
Big Boys Don't Cry High school wrestler Tony suspects, accurately, that his younger brother is being molested by their uncle Paul (Robert Pine). For Tony, this causes painful memories of his own sexual abuse as a child by Paul, which all but destroys Tony's life, when his parents refuse to believe him and his wrestling coach doesn't care. Co-starring Mario Lopez as a fellow wrestler (and the only person who's sympathetic to Tony's plight).
Crosses on the Lawn A community begins to take sides when an affirmative action program is introduced.

Season 11 (October 12, 1993 – April 12, 1994)Edit

Episode Synopsis
Other Mothers Justin Whalin portrays a teenage basketball player who has been raised by a lesbian couple. Now he must contend with the conservative views of his new high school. Co-starring Joanna Cassidy, Meredith Baxter and Judith Ivey.
If I Die Before I Wake High school students must ultimately pick up the pieces when their entire track and field team is killed in an airplane crash. Co-starring Gavin MacLeod, Tammy Lauren and Tito Ortiz.
Love in the Dark Ages Teenage girl is stunned to discover that her boyfriend has given her an STD.
Same Difference Two teens from different cultural backgrounds face opposition from their parents when they begin to date.

Season 12 (October 11, 1994 – May 30, 1995)Edit

Episode Synopsis
The Writing on the Wall Three teens (one portrayed by Peter Billingsley) are arrested for defacing a Jewish temple. The indomitable rabbi (Hal Linden) – who prides himself on never writing anybody off, and on never blowing his cool (except, he admits, when the Mets lose) – persuades the judge (Steven Gilborn) to give the boys 25 hours of Holocaust/Judaism "Tolerance" education, which the rabbi himself will teach. Based on a true story.
My Summer as a Girl Desperate for a summer job, a teenage boy masquerades as a girl to land a chambermaid job at a swanky hotel.
What About Your Friends A unique look at the senior year successes, and failures, of three high school girlfriends (one of them portrayed by Lark Voorhies) as they prepare for college.
Kids Killing Kids Malcolm-Jamal Warner hosts this program, which depicts four separate stories showing the tragic consequences when teens use guns to solve their problems, and how they can solve the same problem without guns. Originally aired jointly as a prime time special by CBS and Fox in May 1994.
Between Mother and Daughter Anna Leone (Lindsay Crouse) is dying of breast cancer. Her husband Joe (Dan Lauria) has trouble dealing with this, as do their teenage offspring Scott (Christopher Daniel Barnes) and especially, Carla (A.J. Langer).
Stand Up A teenager wants to be a stand-up comic and go on tour, despite her father's opposition.

Season 13 (October 24, 1995 – January 23, 1996)Edit

Episode Synopsis
My Indian Summer Native American teenager decides to learn more about her culture by spending the summer on the Indian Reservation where her mother was born.
Children Remember the Holocaust Keanu Reeves hosts this special where celebrities narrate letters, diaries, and published stories of children who have lived through the Holocaust.
Crosstown When her parents split up, a teenage girl must move out of the suburbs and into the big city. Co-starring Roscoe Lee Browne.

See alsoEdit


External linksEdit