NEW YORK — When you're the longest-running daytime soap opera on television, you just have to kick up your heels every now and then, and that's what the cast and crew of "Search for Tomorrow," which premiered on Sept. 3, 1951, did last week. To celebrate the taping of the show's 9,000th episode, there was a champagne reception at the Manhattan studio where the soap is taped daily.
In September, "Search for Tomorrow" will be celebrating its 35th anniversary--and another celebration bash is anxiously awaited.
In the meantime, what's in store for the show's story lines?
New executive story consultant Pamela K. Long (she joined the show last month) has lots of ideas that she hopes will keep the audience glued to their couches.
"I intend to utilize all of our existing characters," said Long. "We're not bringing on anybody new right away and we don't have any big plans to get rid of anybody. I like the current characters. In my mind, Jo and Stu (played by Mary Stuart and Larry Haines) are the backbone of the show. Their friendship has endured since the show debuted.
"The McCleary brothers, Cagney (Matthew Ashford), Quinn (Jeffrey Meek) and Hogan (David Forsyth), really sparked my imagination and made me want to get involved with 'Search for Tomorrow.' I think the McClearys and their women are the lifeblood of the show because their connections cross through all the story lines."
Known for her Gothic-style stories from her previous writing work on "Guiding Light" and "Texas," Long said she has a different style in mind for "Search for Tomorrow."
"I intend to bring a reality to my storytelling on 'SFT,' which is a result of my own personal growth. I'm not interested in wild, outlandish, fantasy-type stories. People and their relationships are more fascinating to me."
Some of the story lines she will be developing over the next few months, along with that of the McCleary brothers, will include a torrid love triangle between Patti (Jacqueline Schultz), Liza (Louan Gideon) and Hogan; there will be a hot new love story between Quinn and Evie (who is now played by Joanna Going) which Long hopes "will rival the love story of Bo and Hope Brady (Peter Reckell and Kristian Alfonso) on 'Days of Our Lives."'
Also in the works is a steamy love story between Sunny (Marcia McCabe) and Bela (Lee Godart) that will exemplify the light and dark forces of love.
Comments "Search for Tomorrow" executive producer David Lawrence, who joined the show last March: "I'm very happy to have joined a company that's achieved such an amazing record. I look forward to building onto the show's achievements.
"We took a long, hard look at our show to determine what we had that's really unique," Lawrence continued.
"In addition to all the values that have kept the show on the air for nearly 35 years, it seems apparent that a major strength is the fact that we have the three attractive, charismatic McCleary brothers, and so for a period of time we will be focusing our major stories on their strengths and conflicts. We've also created a new opening for the show, which now includes clips of all of our performers."