Search for Tomorrow

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CBS (ended 1986)

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Search for Tomorrow

Show Summary

One of the earliest TV soaps, Search for Tomorrow debuted on CBS in 1951 as a 15-minute live show, produced by Procter and Gamble. For most of the first half of its run, it would stay as that 15 minute live show, and quickly became a hit. The center of Search for Tomorrow was Mary Stuart's character Joanne, a Midwestern housewife. The ratings were high in the '50s, but the start of the next decade Search was in a ratings decline. To try to combat this, CBS brought in Frank and Doris Hursley as new writers for the show. The new writers weren't able to bring the ratings out of decline, and in 1963 the Hursleys left after a storyline involving Joanne's baby running in front of a car caused friction between the producers and star Stuart. In 1968, Search for Tomorrow finally abandoned its live format, moving to tape and extending the show to half an hour. In the 1970's, new storylines involving the younger characters on Search took center stage, while Joanne was cut back on her appearances. Many felt that this would be the death knell for Search, but it stayed consistent, pulling in a steady #4 rating among all soaps throughout the decade. In 1981, CBS decided that Search for Tomorrow would be better off in a new time slot (it had aired at 12:30 EST for its entire run up until that point), and moved the show to 2:30 PM, replacing it with The Young and the Restless (which still holds the spot to this day). This didn't work, as the ratings dipped once again. Proctor & Gamble wanted to move back to an earlier time slot, but CBS wouldn't bite and cancelled Search for Tomorrow in early 1982. The show was replaced by Capitol, which aired for four and a half seasons. NBC picked up the Search on March 29, 1982, and moved it back to its 12:30 timeslot (opposite the show that had replaced it, Y&R). The second soap to switch networks (The Edge of Night was the first). The ratings continued to slide, and by 1984 the writers were resorting to ridiculous plots and storylines to grab viewers. Nothing worked, as the show continued to struggle against the hit The Young and the Restless. Due to a missing video tape, one 1983 episode had to air live! NBC pulled the plug in 1986, and on December 26 the Search finally ended after 35-plus years. The show would be replaced by the game show Wordplay, which lasted eight months. When it ended, Search for Tomorrow had the longest run of any daytime soap opera (35 years). The record has since been surpassed by Guiding Light, which premiered on television one year after Search. Guiding Light is now in year 52. First Aired: September 3, 1951 Last Aired: December 26, 1986moreless
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Frieda Altman

Frieda Altman

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