Search for Tomorrow

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Search for Tomorrow
Title card, 1982–86
GenreSoap opera
Created byRoy Winsor
StarringMary Stuart
Larry Haines
Narrated byDwight Weist
Composer(s)Dick Hyman
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons35
No. of episodes9,130
Camera setupMulti-camera
Running time15 minutes (1951–68)
30 minutes (1968–86)
Production company(s)Procter & Gamble Productions
DistributorAmericana Entertainment (1951–82)
Original networkCBS (1951–82)
NBC (1982–86)
Picture formatBlack-and-white (1951–67)
Color (1967–86)
Audio formatMonaural
Original releaseSeptember 3, 1951 (1951-09-03) –
December 26, 1986 (1986-12-26)

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]

Set in the fictional town of Henderson in an unspecified state, the show focused primarily on the character of Joanne, known to the audience as "Jo." Actress Mary Stuart played Jo for the entire run.[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 thirteen weeks and later by Irving Vendig.[3]

The program was one of several packaged from the 1950s through the 1980s by Procter & Gamble Productions, the broadcasting arm of the famed household products corporation. Procter & Gamble used the show to advertise products like Joy dishwashing liquid and Spic and Span household cleaner. As the show's ratings increased, other sponsors began buying commercial time.

Search for Tomorrow initially aired as a fifteen-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, 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 fifteen-minute soap operas 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's timeslot out of its 12:30 PM/11:30 AM Central one where it had been for 30 years, to the 2:30/1:30 PM timeslot between As the World Turns and Guiding Light in order to accommodate the hit serial The Young and the Restless. Procter & Gamble, who owned Search for Tomorrow, urged CBS to return the show to its former slot. The network refused, and when their contract with CBS expired, P&G sold Search to NBC, airing its last episode on CBS on March 26, 1982, with the show's NBC premiere coming the following Monday, the 29th. CBS replaced Search for Tomorrow in its timeslot that same day with Capitol.

In 1983 (by which time the show had spent more than one full year on NBC), both the master copy and the backup of an episode of Search for Tomorrow scheduled for that day were lost, and on August 4, the cast was forced to do a live show for the first time since the transition to recorded broadcasts sixteen years before.[5]

In the fall of 1986, NBC announced that Search for Tomorrow would be canceled due to low ratings against both The Young and the Restless and the ABC soap opera Loving, which premiered 1½ years after the show was moved to NBC. 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 television program in history, since surpassed by other shows. The following Monday after the show's final episode aired, the game show Wordplay took over the 12:30 p.m. Eastern timeslot.


From 1987 until summer 1989, reruns aired on cable TV in late night on the USA Network. The network aired episodes from the first three years (1982-1985) of the NBC run.

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]


Daytime Emmy Award wins[edit]

Drama performer categories[edit]

Category Recipient Role Year
Lead Actor Larry Haines
Val Dufour
Stu Bergman
John Wyatt
Supporting Actor Larry Haines Stu Bergman 1981[10]

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]


  1. ^ Schemering, Christopher (1987). The Soap Opera Encyclopedia (2nd ed.). Ballantine Books. pp. 200–212. ISBN 0-345-35344-7.
  2. ^
  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. ^
  6. ^ "AOL to Launch New Video Portal,", July 31, 2006.
  7. ^ "PGP Classic Soap Channel,", January 1, 2009.
  8. ^ "Daytime Emmys – 1976". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2013-02-22.
  9. ^ "Daytime Emmys – 1977". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2013-02-22.
  10. ^ "Daytime Emmys – 1981". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2013-02-22.

External links[edit]