Search for Tomorrow is an American television soap opera. It began its run on CBS on September 3, 1951, and concluded on NBC, 35 years later, on December 26, 1986.[1]

Search for Tomorrow
GenreSoap opera
Created byRoy Winsor
StarringMary Stuart
Larry Haines
Narrated byDwight Weist
ComposerDick Hyman
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons35
No. of episodes9,130
Camera setupMulti-camera
Running time15 minutes (1951–68)
30 minutes (1968–86)
Production companyProcter & Gamble Productions
Original release
NetworkCBS (1951–82)
NBC (1982–86)
ReleaseSeptember 3, 1951 (1951-09-03) –
December 26, 1986 (1986-12-26)

Set in the fictional town of Henderson in an unspecified state, the show focuses primarily on the character of Joanne "Jo" Gardner, portrayed by Mary Stuart for the entire run of the series.[2]

Broadcast history and production notes edit

Search for Tomorrow was created by Roy Winsor and was first written by Agnes Nixon (then known professionally as Agnes Eckhardt) for the series' first 13 weeks and later by Irving Vendig.[3] The program was one of several daytime soap operas produced from the 1950s through the 1980s by Procter & Gamble Productions, the broadcasting arm of the famed household products corporation. Procter & Gamble used the program, as well as the company's other serials, to advertise its products (such as its Joy dishwashing liquid and Spic and Span household cleaner). As Search's ratings increased, other sponsors began buying commercial time during the program.

Search for Tomorrow initially aired as a 15-minute serial from its debut in 1951 until 1968, at 12:30 p.m. Eastern/11:30 a.m. Central Time. The serial discontinued live broadcasts in favor of recorded telecasts in March 1967, began broadcasting in color on September 11, 1967, and expanded to a half-hour on September 9, 1968, keeping the 12:30/11:30 slot, while its old 15-minute partner The Guiding Light also expanded to 30 minutes and moved to the CBS afternoon lineup at 2:30/1:30.[4] At the time, Search for Tomorrow and The Guiding Light, which had shared the same half hour for sixteen years, were the last two 15-minute daytime programs airing on television. Search for Tomorrow would remain the top-rated show at 12:30/11:30 well into the late 1970s, despite strong competition from shows like NBC's The Who, What, or Where Game and ABC's Split Second and Ryan's Hope.

On June 8, 1981, CBS moved Search for Tomorrow from its longtime 12:30 p.m./11:30 a.m. Central time slot, which it had held for 30 years, to the 2:30/1:30 p.m. time slot between As the World Turns and Guiding Light, its two P&G sister shows in order to accommodate the hit serial The Young and the Restless. Procter & Gamble urged CBS to return Search for Tomorrow to its former slot. The program's relocation confused or angered many longtime viewers habituated to seeing it earlier in the day. Another P&G-produced soap opera, The Edge of Night, had suffered the same problem six years earlier when the company insisted that the show be moved to the 2:30/1:30 p.m. time slot; it had previously dominated the other two networks in the ratings for the 3:30/2:30 p.m. slot for almost a decade. The network refused to move Search for Tomorrow back to its original 12:30/11:30 time slot and, as the show's contract with CBS was about to expire, Procter & Gamble sold the broadcast rights to Search for Tomorrow to NBC rather than negotiate a renewal with CBS. NBC already had two soaps produced by the company, Another World and its Dallas-inspired spin-off Texas, as part of its daytime lineup. Search for Tomorrow aired its last episode on CBS on March 26, 1982, and had its NBC premiere the following Monday, March 29; CBS filled the program's former time slot with a new political soap opera, Capitol.

The shift from CBS to NBC would prove to be the beginning of the serial's terminal decline. At its new network, Search for Tomorrow now found itself going head-to-head with its former CBS stablemate The Young and the Restless and would later face additional soap competition when Loving premiered on ABC in June 1983. Additionally, several NBC-affiliated stations opted to run syndicated programming or local newscasts in the 12:00/11:00 slot, a practice dating back to NBC's daytime ratings struggles in the 1970s that also affected already struggling soap opera The Doctors, which was airing at 12:30/11:30, until NBC bumped it to 12:00/11:00 (the fourth and final time slot that the show occupied during its 19-year run) to accommodate Search for Tomorrow. (The Doctors, along with Texas, were both canceled at the end of 1982.) As a result, Search for Tomorrow's ratings plummeted through its four-year run on NBC and never recovered; it was among the lowest-rated soaps on television at the time, kept alive mainly by its hardcore and largely elderly fans. As such, the show was increasingly unappealing to advertisers other than P&G. (The Edge of Night faced similar issues following its move to ABC in the 4:00/3:00 timeslot, where it did only slightly better in the ratings, before being cancelled in 1984 due to the erosion of its overall ratings caused in part by affiliate preemptions for syndicated programming.)

On August 4, 1983, both the master copy and the backup of an episode of Search for Tomorrow scheduled for that day were reported missing, and the cast was forced to do a live show for the first time since the transition to recorded broadcasts 16 years earlier.[5] It was the first live daytime serial since two other CBS soaps, As The World Turns and The Edge of Night, had discontinued the practice in 1975; to date, the only other soap operas to have done live episodes in any capacity since – albeit as programming stunts – were ABC's One Life to Live (for a one-week "sweeps" stint from May 13–17, 2002) and General Hospital (for two episodes on May 15 and 18, 2015).[citation needed]

In the fall of 1986, NBC announced that Search for Tomorrow would be canceled, citing its declining ratings. The show aired its 9,130th and final episode on December 26, 1986, after 35 years on the air. At the time of its cancellation, it was the longest-running daytime program in American television history, but has since been surpassed by other shows. The following Monday, the game show Wordplay took over the 12:30 p.m. Eastern time slot.

Syndication edit

From 1987 until the summer of 1989, reruns of Search for Tomorrow aired late nights on the USA Network. The cable network aired episodes from the first three years on NBC (1982–1985), along with its sister P&G soap The Edge of Night.

In 2006, P&G began making several of its soap operas available, a few episodes at a time, through America Online's AOL Video service, downloadable free of charge.[6] Reruns of Search for Tomorrow began with the October 5, 1984, episode and ceased with the January 13, 1986, episode after AOL discontinued the P&G Soaps Channel on December 31, 2008.[7]

Cast and characters edit

Actor Character Duration
John Aniston Martin Tourneur 1979–84
Rod Arrants Travis Sentell 1978–84
Lewis Arlt David Sutton 1976–81
Matthew Ashford Cagney McLeary 1984–86
Kevin Bacon Todd Adamson 1979
Kathleen Beller Liza Walton 1972–74
Meg Bennett Liza Walton 1974–76
Neil Billingsley Danny Walton 1975–77
Domini Blythe Estelle Kendall 1985–86
Marion Brash Eunice Gardner Wyatt 1957–61
Robert Curtis Brown Alec Kendall 1984–85
Hope Busby Liza Walton 1977–78
David Canary Arthur Benson 1978
Melanie Chartoff Nancy Craig 1976
Maree Cheatham Stephanie Wyatt 1974–84
Jill Clayburgh Grace Bolton 1969
Kevin Conroy Chase Kendall 1984–85
Michael Corbett Warren Carter 1982–85
Colleen Dion-Scotti Evie Stone 1985–86
Val Dufour John Wyatt 1972–79
Olympia Dukakis Barbara Moreno 1983
George Ebeling Peter Rand 1963
Terri Eoff Susan Wyatt 1984–86
Morgan Fairchild Jennifer Pace 1973–77
Larry Flieschman Ringo Altman 1982–83
David Forsyth Hogan McCleary 1983–86
David Gale Rusty Sentell 1982–83
Jennifer Gatti Angela Moreno 1983
Anthony George Tony Vicente 1970–75
Cynthia Gibb Susan Wyatt Carter 1981–83
Louan Gideon Liza Walton 1985–86
Nicolette Goulet Kathy Phillips Taper 1979–82
Marian Hailey Janet Collins 1971
Larry Haines Stu Bergman 1951–86
Ron Hale Walt Driscoll 1969
Bethany Hanes Victoria Carson 1977
Page Hannah Adair McCleary 1984–85
Peter Haskell Lloyd Kendall 1983–85
Michael Hawkins Steve Haskins 1951
Joel Higgins Bruce Carson 1977
John James Tom Bergman 1977
Jane Krakowski T.R. Kendall 1984–86
Mark Lenard Nathan Walsh 1959–60
Audra Lindley Sue Knowles 1962
Mitch Litrofsky Thomas "Trip" Bergman 1981–83
Richard Lohman Gary Walton 1975–77
Carl Low Bob Rogers 1965–83
Christopher Lowe Eric Leshinski 1969–78
Robert Mandan Sam Reynolds 1965–70
Sherry Mathis Liza Walton 1978–85
Andrea McArdle Wendy Wilkins 1977
Jane McArthur Marian Rand 1963
Marcia McCabe Sunny Adamson 1978–86
Marilyn McIntire Carolyn Hanley 1977–80
Stacey Moran Susan Wyatt 1977–80
Denise Nickerson Liza Walton 1971–72
Michael Nouri Steve Kaslow 1975–78
Terry O'Sullivan Arthur Tate 1952–56
Tina Orr Meredith Hartford 1977–78
Will Patton Kentucky Bluebird 1984–85
Anne Pearson Allison Metcalf 1959–65
Patsy Pease Cissie Mitchell Sentell 1978–84
Lisa Peluso Wendy Wilkins 1977–85
Melba Rae Marge Bergman 1951–71
Leslie Ann Ray Donna Davis 1977–78
Sandy Robinson Janet Collins 1956–61
Robert Rockwell Greg Hartford 1977–78
Frank Schofield John Austin 1963
Louise Shaffer Stephanie Wyatt 1984–86
Fran Sharon Janet Collins 1961–65
Courtney Simon Kathy Phillips 1971–79; 1984
Peter Simon Scott Phillips 1969–79
Marcus Smythe Dane Taylor 1982–83
Ellen Spencer Janet Collins 1951–56
Ralph Stantley Lloyd Gibson 1963
Douglas Stevenson Lee Sentell 1980–82
Mary Stuart Joanne Gardner 1951–86
Tom Sullivan Michael Kendall 1983
Millee Taggart Janet Collins 1971–82
Wayne Tippitt Ted Adamson 1980–82
Gary Tomlin Bruce Carson 1973–74
Patrick Tovatt Matt McCleary 1986
Martin Vidnovic Cord Tourneur 1984
Douglass Watson Walter Haskins 1960s[a]
Billie Lou Watt Ellie Harper Bergman 1968–81
Ann Williams Eunice Gardner Wyatt 1966–76
Marian Woods Victoria Windsor 1984
Anne Wyndham Amy Carson 1975–77

Awards edit

Daytime Emmy Award wins edit

Drama performer categories edit

Category Recipient Role Year
Lead Actor Larry Haines
Val Dufour
Stu Bergman
John Wyatt
1976[citation needed]
Supporting Actor Larry Haines Stu Bergman 1981[citation needed]

Other categories edit

  • 1986 "Outstanding Achievement in Music Direction and Composition for a Drama Series"
  • 1978 "Outstanding Individual Achievement in Daytime Programming: Costume Designer" (Connie Wexler)

Other awards edit

References edit

  1. ^ Schemering, Christopher (1987). The Soap Opera Encyclopedia (2nd ed.). Ballantine Books. pp. 200–212. ISBN 0-345-35344-7.
  2. ^ Klemesrud, Judy (September 4, 1976). "'Search for Tomorrow' (Sob!) Holds 25th Anniversary Party". The New York Times.
  3. ^ Copeland, Mary Ann (1991). Soap Opera History. Publications International. pp. 214–223. ISBN 0-88176-933-9.
  4. ^ Hyatt, Wesley (1997). The Encyclopedia of Daytime Television. Watson-Guptill Publications. pp. 381–387. ISBN 978-0823083152. Retrieved 22 March 2020.
  5. ^ "'Search For Tomorrow'...The LIVE Episode! – Eyes Of A Generation...Television's Living History".
  6. ^ "AOL to Launch New Video Portal". AOL. July 31, 2006. Retrieved 2022-11-21 – via WebWire.
  7. ^ Snyder, Jen (2009-01-02). "PGP Classic Soap Channel On AOL No More". TV Source Magazine. Retrieved 2022-11-21.

Notes edit

  1. ^ There are conflicting sources on when Watson appeared on the soap opera; some say that he debuted in 1966, whilst others say 1967, and it is conflicted whether he last appeared in 1966, 1967 or 1968.

External links edit