Tuesday, August 4, 2009


In the summer of 1961, after seven years on the air on CBS-TV (it started as a radio soap), the network moved production of THE BRIGHTER DAY from New York City to Los Angeles to help save on production costs.

The move actually hurt the struggling show because some actors refused to relocate causing some stories to abruptly end.

Unfortunately the move didn't work out and the soap was canceled in 1962, last airing on September 28.

At the time, the Val Adams at the New York Times surmised that the cancellation of the soap, along with NBC's OUR FIVE DAUGHTERS, meant soaps were not going to work on television as well as they did on radio.
The cancellations are further indication that daytime serials do not stimulate interest on television as widely as they did on radio. While serials used to dominate daytime hours on all radio networks, the only real home they have found in television - a somewhat mortgaged on, at that - is on C.B. S.

After C.B.S. drops THE BRIGHTER DAY, it will have six soap operas left, all in the afternoon. The network has found through experiments that there seems to be little public interest in watching television soap operas before noon.

It is tough for a serial to catch on in the morning," said Oscar Katz, vice president of day programs for C.B.S.-TV. He added:

"The daytime serial on television is much different from what it was on radio. It has advanced considerably - better plot and more character delineation. Therefore, it obviously requires more attention to watch than it did to listen to on the radio. And since the morning hours bring the greatest activity for the housewife in doing her chores, I suppose she finds it hard to keep up every day with the serials."

The radio networks abandoned day soap operas several years ago and replaced them primarily with news, special-events and public-affairs programming.

THE BRIGHTER DAY, which is televised at 11:30 A.M., Monday through Friday, will be replaced by filmed reruns of PETE AND GLADYS. Apparently C.B.S. assumes that PETE AND GLADYS requires no great concentration by the busy housewife.

It should be mentioned that C.B.S. seems to do well with its hard-core soap operas. According to its research estimates, soap operas are watched by 3,000,000 to more than 7,000,000 persons daily. And the serials, C.B.S. says, are in the upper half of daytime ratings for shows on all three television networks.

In the early days of television, the management of C.B.S. was interested in developing soap opera where other networks were not. It also had backing from the Procter & Gamble Company, which had been the major sponsor of soap operas on radio. The cancellation of THE BRIGHTER DAY came soon after C.B.S. had announced that Rex Ingram, a Negro actor, would join the show on Sept. 17. It will be a short day for Mr. Ingram.

Despite the struggles in 2009, obviously this doom and gloom article about soaps on television in 1962 was very off the mark. There will always be a market for continuing stories. The industry just needs the right people to produce them.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Rex Ingram was the first African American to have a contract role on a daytime soap.


  1. This is why I love -- LOVE -- WLS. "Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it." Not when we have the amazing Newcomb and his gang around to remind us!

  2. Thanks, Mark. I always try to find the historical context of a story. Things are different now but history tends to repeat itself a lot. And there have also been multiple times in history where game shows were predicted to take over daytime and eliminate soaps.

  3. Poor Rex Ingram! The irony must have been sickening for him.

  4. Poor Rex Ingram! The irony must have been sickening for him.