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B&B's Brad Bell Interview: How he sustains the soap after 25 years, a preview & loving tributes to his dad and wife!

Courtesy/CBS

Photo Credit: CBS

Today is the silver anniversary of the hit CBS soap, The Bold and the Beautiful.  And to mark the occasion, we spoke with the series head honcho, the executive producer and head writer of the three-time Daytime Emmy Award winning Outstanding Drama Series, Brad Bell.

From a loving tribute to his father, Bill Bell Sr, to beautiful thoughts about his wife, Colleen, to the difficulties in writing a show while facing challenging decisions in letting cast members go, and the importance of infusing the show with new life, all were integral aspects of our chat.  Brad also previews more on Hope’s pill-popping storyline, and gives us a preview for spring.   So raise your glass to B&B today, 25 years on television is no small feat, my friends, and certainly not in the climate we live in!

Brad, you have to pinch yourself! It’s now officially 25 years of B&B!  Big question, is it as exciting as having President Obama and the First Lady at your house a few weeks ago for the incredible fundraiser that you and your wife, Colleen, put together?

BRAD:  It’s beyond my wildest dreams for B&B to around this long.  The fundraiser was amazing and it was so cool.  The adrenaline was pumping, and the Foo Fighters were playing, and President Obama was so cordial, charismatic, intelligent and interesting. It was a special night.  But I have to say, this is equally as special, because I put my heart and soul into this for 25 years.  It does feel like I finished a marathon.

Your dad, the legendary Bill Bell Sr. started B&B, along with your mother, Lee Phillip Bell.  You must think of him often, and perhaps send a special prayer out to him, especially at this 25 year milestone?

Courtesy/CBS

BRAD: Yeah, I know.  I have moments with him now and then.  When I am writing the show I think of what he might do, given the next twist and turn.  The longer he has been gone, the more I feel I am losing touch with what he would have done, but I still know. My dad was so interesting and unpredictable.  Above all, he had zero tolerance for boring shows.  I think you can be anything, but don’t be boring!

Now on B&B, you are tackling Hope’s (Kim Matula) pill-popping, and the telling of this tale about how prescription drugs runs rampant in our society these days, and how it can destroy people lives.  What inspired the decision to tell this story and have the vehicle be Hope?

BRAD: I think it was two things.   First, it’s very topical right now because of Whitney Houston’s sudden death, and just so many kids are having issues with drugs. And as my kids get older, it’s interesting to hear the stories of their friends, and hear what everyone is going through.  It gives me a fabulous inner spark that you need as a writer.  It’s topical and a fresh story that is appropriate for young people, and yes, I know what Kim Matula is capable of.   She has been our sweet and conservative, preppy princess for awhile.  Now, I want her to be my pill-popping princess, who is going to be able to show us her range as an actress. And, I can tell you, Kim has great range.

© Gilles Toucas

The good and bad of having a half hour show is that you have to clear the deck to make way for new characters and story, when there is not as much airtime.  So did that play into your decision to take Jack Wagner (Nick), Lesley-Anne Down (Jackie) and Brandon Beemer (Owen) off-contract?

BRAD: We have 19 minutes of airtime, and with Lesley-Anne and Jack and Brandon, they are three great actors. I was very well aware that I was not giving them the quality of material that they need and deserve.  So it is much out of respect to them that I leave them open to other options, better options, than being around and being the background at The Bold and the Beautiful.  This is a great place to be working at, but it’s frustrating for talented actors to just chime in a couple times a month.  I am so glad that Jack is doing Dancing with the Stars! I actually think it’s very cool!

You must at times think with your four original core characters …  Ridge, Brooke, Stephanie and Eric, “What can I do now with them after all the drama of the last 25 years?”  Does that cross your mind?

BRAD:  Daily! It’s daily!  (Laughs) It’s amazing.  It’s a blessing and a curse of writing for people and characters for so long. At times, you feel like you have told every story under the sun with these people, and yet as we bring in new actors, new characters, and their roles change.  It’s also necessary to bring new characters to re-infuse the people that have been here a long time, that may have grown stale, and they need that infusion of someone new to the canvas.

What can we look forward to with the upcoming 25th anniversary episode?

Photo Credit: Kathie Hutchins

BRAD: Stephanie and Eric are remarried and they are celebrating their anniversary. And at the end of the show, we will be able to say, “Happy Anniversary!” Yes, we are saying it to Stephanie and Eric, but we are also saying it to the fans, to us, and everyone in the know. March 23rd is our official anniversary, but because we were pre-empted one day when the President was speaking, the show will now air on Monday, the 26th! He bumped the show, and we had a fundraiser for him! (Laughs)  I’m completely kidding, but it is a great episode that any fan of B&B will thoroughly enjoy.  It is a fabulous, fabulous episode. And this is always a lesson to me. When I throw plot away and just get our core actors to speak fondly and lovingly of each other, it’s touching and beautiful and those are very often are most wonderful episodes … when there is no plot. They are all just being themselves and loving each other.

What can you preview for spring on B&B?

BRAD: We know that Steffy is working to hold to her marriage, and in six months in the state of California the divorce is final, and then Liam is willing and able to move on.  So early this summer, this will elapse and Liam will have to have a path with one of these two women.  We know we have Taylor in favor of her daughter, Brooke in favor of her daughter, Ridge caught in the middle, and Stephanie rooting for her namesake. The story just gets better and better and encompasses the whole cast. I can tell you it’s all going to come to a great peak this summer in Italy!

You made a beautiful speech at the cake-cutting ceremony at CBS in honor of B&B’s 25 years on the network.  And the one thing, that I thought was so endearing, was how you spoke of your wife, Colleen, and how without her love and support and encouragement, you would not be here today.  

Photo Credit: Kathie Hutchins

BRAD: Colleen is a very special woman. I met her when she was 14 years old. We both went our own separate ways, and now we are back together for 20 years of marriage and four children.  I think it’s important to acknowledge because this job is so consuming and what we do here. It does not affect the person who is writing it or a person working on it, but it’s the families, the kids, the husbands, the wives, the partners, they deserve a big shout out!

Colleen is also your Director of Special Projects for the show and has tweaked the fashion elements of the series, and stepped it up a notch, or three!

BRAD: She has brought such ‘street cred’ to us in the world of fashion, and we are going to be in Vanity Fair in Italy.  We have been using Monique Lhuillier gowns, and where we were in the past was we were designing our gowns, and at times, not sure what we were doing. People in Italy were saying, “Are we supposed to take these fashions seriously?” Now they do take them seriously. Colleen is doing a tremendous job.

Finally, what did you think when you read the reports that ABC is producing a primetime soap opera pilot called, Americana, centered around the fashion industry?  All I can say is, “hmmm.”

BRAD: Well, I think its sounds very familiar. I wish them well and I wish all of these new soap operas platforms well. But in essence, they are all us.  And, we will continue doing what we do.  I have not read that much about Americana.  They probably want to sell it s a brand new soap, but let me tell you, imitation is the best form of flattery.

So soapers, how do you feel about Brad’s thoughts?  How about we show the soap some love, and put some congrats on the posts today? Just a suggestion.

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kay killgore
Guest
kay killgore

Congrats to B&B!!! Even though I do not watch it much anymore I still want the remaining soaps to stay on!

Mo
Guest
Mo

I miss Jackie and Owen and Jack and Felicia and Thorne and Bridget. I get there is only 19 mins of airtime a day, but does it all 95 minutes have to revolve around Hope and Liam and Steffy? Even when they’re not actually on-screen, the other characters are rehashing the story and their probs. Even the secretaries at Forester knew about Hope and Liam’s ‘special’ night!!!!! Enough already! Give us balance and good story and good, interesting characters with drama and humor. I’d like to see Amber and Rick get back together. This Rick romancing Steffy just doesn’t work.… Read more »

Jeanette Gibbons
Guest
Jeanette Gibbons

I have been an avid fan of the show for many years, but not until the story about Bill and Steffy have I been excited to watch. It was a wonderful love match…passionate, exciting, dramatic. Disappointingly, this storyline has been put on the back-burner, and I can’t understand why? There are a multitude of STILL fans who support this show, and we are waiting for something to happen between Bill and Steffy again. The current storyline does not make sense… please reunite STILL and bring back the excitement and drama that they bring to the show. You will make a… Read more »

Kathleen
Guest
Kathleen

Congratulations to Brad Bell, Lee Phillip Bell, Colleen Bell and the entire Bell family, the B&B cast and crew. I love B&B!!!

Sallie Bolton
Guest
Sallie Bolton

The Liam/Hope drama is just too long, please end this senseless drama with them and go back to the basics of a haute couture designer firm and show us some wow designs and the drama it takes to produce these designs. I love JMW and I believe she is the draw for your soap right now. The Bridge/Tridge is just too passe.

kay killgore
Guest
kay killgore

Get ready the twentysomethings is going to be all he writes for / Liam/Seffy/Hope and the new three Thomas/Caroline/Rick. Taylor and Thorne will be seen two days this week and are engaged and that is the last you will see of them for a long while he has decided to put all his eggs in one basket. Google Lynda Hirsch she is out of Cleveland,Ohio and been commenting on the soaps for years/and read her take on B&B. How good it use to be and how she feels it has really gone down hill.

News

Dr. Oz Set to Announce Candidacy For Pennsylvania U.S. Senate Seat; Will Likely Take Break from Talk Show

There is a new celebrity who has entered the political arena.  This time it’s Daytime Emmy-winning talk show host, Dr. Mehmet Oz.

According to TMZ overnight, Dr. Oz will announce his intentions to run for the republican U. S. Senate seat in Pennyslvania.

Oz will run for republican Pat Toomey’s seat.  Toomey is set to retire.

Sources tell TMZ that Oz has already made a multi-million dollar media buy in the state for his political run, and that he make the official announcement on Tuesday night on Fox News Channel’s Hannity,

The report also shares that Dr, Oz already has a  full campaign staff former National Republican Senatorial Committee head, Chris Hansen.

As to the future of the Dr. Oz show, it would appear that Oz would likely take a step back from the show over the next few months, but that has yet to be confirmed.

So, if the report holds true, what do you think of Dr. Mehmet Oz running for a republican senate seat? Comment below.

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Breaking News

OLTL Alum Arlene Dahl Dead At 96, Son Lorenzo Lamas Shares: “She Was The Most Positive Influence In My Life”

Another loss for the soap world and its extended family.  Arlene Dahl, who had a notable career in film and television, and who appeared on both One Life to Live and All My Children, has passed away at the age of 96.

Her son, former Falcon Crest and The Bold and the Beautiful star, Lorenzo Lamas (Ex-Lance and Ex-Hector, respectively), shared the news via his Facebook page: “Mom passed away this morning in New York. She was the most positive influence on my life. I will remember her laughter, her joy, her dignity as she navigated the challenges that she faced. Never an ill word about anyone crossed her lips. Her ability to forgive left me speechless at times. She truly was a force of nature and as we got closer in my adult life, I leaned on her more and more as my life counselor and the person I knew that lived and loved to the fullest. My sympathies go to her loving husband @marcrosennyc who, for the last 37 years, made her life so wonderful and joyous. Love you mom forever ♥️ #ArleneDahl #Moviestar #legend #mom #RIP”

Photo: JPI

Dahl came on to One life to Live as Lucinda Schenk Wilson, the selfish and manipulative mother of Mimi King played by Kristin Meadows.  Arlene made appearances on the ABC soap starting in 1981 and eventually was offered a one-year contract that took her through till 1984. A decade later, Dahl came on to play Lady Lucille on All My Children for a short time.

Photo: YouTube

On One Life to Live, Arlene mixed it up with Phillip Carey’s Asa Buchanan and Jeremy Slate’s Chuck Wilson.  Dahl is also well-known as one of the regular panelists on the game show, What’s My Line?

While still working in TV and films, Arlene branched out into beauty and cosmetics, eventually becoming an executive and beauty columnist.

Throughout her life, Arlene was married six times.  She had been married to Marc Rosen since 1984 and they remained together till her death.  She is survived by her son Lorenzo, two other children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

Watch Arlene with Phillip Carey in scenes from OLTL below.

Then share your condolences to Arlene’s family, and share your remembrances, via the comment section.

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Guiding Light

Guiding Light’s Robert Newman Pays Tribute to the Brilliance of Lisa Brown

On Sunday, longtime Guiding Light mainstay, Robert Newman (Ex-Josh Lewis), shared a heartfelt message on his Facebook page on the death of his former co-star, Lisa Brown (Ex-Nola Reardon).

As previously reported, Brown passed away earlier this week at the age of 67 from cancer. She portrayed the beloved role of Nola on the CBS soap opera from 1980-1985 and was front and center in many stories which featured Nola’s antics, fantasies, and of course, her love affair with Quint, the late Michael Tylo.

In his message on Brown’s death, Robert Newman expressed: “I was greatly saddened to hear of the sudden death of the great Lisa Brown. When I first joined the show in 1981, Lisa was pretty much the center of everything. A real whirlwind. Her work with the late Michael Tylo was fantastic. I particularly have fond memories of Nola’s fantasies …Wizard of Oz, Casablanca, etc. I don’t think I was ever a part of those fantasies, but I remember watching them being taped in the studio and she was just amazing.”

Newman goes on to say: “One of my fondest Lisa memories, however, was sitting in the audience at the Winter Garden Theater in NYC watching Lisa head up the cast of 42nd Street with Lee Roy Reams in 1981 or so. It was one of those times when you see a colleague that you know from one genre, Daytime Drama, in an entirely different genre, Musical Comedy, and you are completely surprised and blown away. Again, she was just fantastic in the role and I as a fellow musical comedy performer, I had great, great respect for her. Below is a clip from a television performance of her as Peggy in 42nd Street. Her death at such a young age is a great loss to the daytime community. Love and prayers to her family and friends.”

Michael Fairman TV also shares below the video posted by Robert below, which reminds us of just how multi-talented Lisa was for her fans, the audience, and to all that knew her. On a personal note: “Lisa always performed at the ‘Night of the Daytime Stars’ benefit for AMFAR in New York City during the AIDS pandemic that I created and produced.  It was the annual event held the night before the Daytime Emmys, and she was always willing to lend her support and talents to help others in need.”

Share your thoughts on Robert Newman’s remembrance of Lisa Brown via the comment section.

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DAYS head writer, Ron Carlivati talks with Michael Fairman on the creation and the making of the limited-series “Days of our Lives: Beyond Salem” currently streaming on Peacock. Leave A Comment

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Airdates:11-16/17-2021

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