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Y&R's Maria Arena Bell Interview: Her thoughts on Franco, Darnell, Bach & Spring in Genoa City!

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

Photo Credit: Kathie Hutchins

The Bell family has a lot to celebrate over the next few weeks as this week The Bold and the Beautiful turns 23 and next week The Young and the Restless turns 39. 

On-Air On-Soaps caught up with the executive producer and head writer of Y&R, Maria Arena Bell, on the silver carpet of B&B’s anniversary shindig to get some quick thoughts on the some of the series latest casting coups, how her art world and soap world have collided, and a preview of what is to come in Genoa City.

Performance artist, Kalup Linzy recently did an interview with you for The Huffington Post.  The two of you and James Franco seem to all be intertwined now.  First from the art world, and now the soap opera world … or vice versa!

MARIA:  That was the most amazing thing.  When I met James Franco I kind of thought, I was one of the few people involved in the contemporary art world and soap operas, until I met James.  In fact, the big major sequence that was part of his storyline on General Hospital was shot at MOCA (The Museum of Contemporary Art).  I was there that night wearing my MOCA hat and seeing what General Hospital was producing.  It was sort of an ironic situation.  I met Kalup before they ever went on GH, when they were sort of thinking about how they might do a project within soap opera.  I think Kalup is a very talented artist.  James Franco is also a very serious artist and in fact, MOCA is really excited. We are doing another project with James Franco, and it’s called the Rebel Project and that will be opening very soon here in Los Angeles.  It’s based on the movie, Rebel Without a Cause.  

Courtesy/HuffingtonPost

James enlisted the help of other major contemporary artists to collaborate with him on this.  It’s almost like a performance art meets installation art, and it should be really brilliant.  What I like about what James and Kalup did, was that they were actually very respectful of the soap genre. I was afraid that they would mock it, but it was not mocking at all.  Especially, not Kalup, because he is the biggest soap fan.  He is a huge Y&R fan, and he is adorable. The whole experience was fun.

Do you think you would bring MOCA into The Young and the Restless with a big location remote as General Hospital did?

MARIA:  It’s interesting, not necessarily MOCA, but we have had contemporary art stories on the show.  We had Victor with Sabrina, and she was his art consultant.  Then we had Devon collect a piece by Shepard Fairey.  Shepard is someone I know though MOCA because we did the Art in the Streets show.  We like using a little touch of art on Y&R, as it sort of rounds out our world in Genoa City.

How is it having all these very popular and well-respected and beloved All My Children actors now over at Y&R?  I am referring to Darnell Williams (Sarge) and Melissa Claire Egan (Chelsea) and Debbi Morgan (Harmony).  Look at the talented array of people you have added to the cast.

Photo Credit: Kathie Hutchins

MARIA:  It’s incredible and it’s a total, total dream team, and to add to the incredible actors we have as our core characters.  We have always had the greatest cast.  Then you bring in a few of these people to add to the cast and add new dynamic stories, it’s amazing.  Darnell is just fantastic.  I really wanted to play him in a very different way than Jesse Hubbard from AMC.  I think that is the same thing we have experienced with Debbi.  Debbi’s character is very different, than who she was as Angie on AMC.  I think Debbi was very anxious to do that, and to play someone who was not always the “nice gal”.   She wanted a breath of fresh air and that is also what Genie Francis (Genevieve) wanted.  She wanted to bring something new other than Laura from General Hospital.  These are actors I have watched and admired for years.  I am a soap fan.  I watch all these shows!

Will we see Darnell’s character evolve and have legs?  Is there a plan in place for him?

MARIA:  Yes, you will. What I really love is that viewers are going to see him really bond with Jack Abbott.  One of the things on a soap you don’t get to play as much is friendship.  You don’t usually get to play the deep bonding between two guys.  I think it’s so important for the audience to see that.  I think this is going to be an important friendship for the both of them.  I feel that Darnell will be with us for a long-long time, and so not to have him right off the bat with a romance, but to instead really have him in a bromance! (Laughs)   I really liked that idea.  Sarge is really tough on Jack, and he is going to help him make some progress.

Let’s talk a minute about Catherine Bach.  Now that really caught me by surprise. Where did the casting idea come from to make Daisy Duke, Chelsea’s mom?

Photo Credit: Kathie Hutchins

MARIA:  I love Catherine Bach.  I know her because our children went together when they were in pre-school.  I also know her personal story.  I was at her husband’s funeral when he passed away.  I knew the fun side of Catherine. I knew that Catherine was this very dynamic and fiery person, and that she is a talented actress.  So when we were looking for a mother for Chelsea, I was: A) always struck by the idea to bring Catherine to daytime, and B) That Catherine and Melissa Claire Egan have this very striking resemblance and that they really do seem like mother and daughter.  I don’t know if you have noticed, but she and Melissa are very connected.  When I met with Catherine about the role, I said to her, “Wait till you meet Melissa Claire Egan.  You are going to see that she is going to remind you of yourself!”  And Catherine said, “Oh my Gosh. She really does!”

What can you preview for spring on The Young and the Restless?

MARIA:  We are going to see the struggle that Jack Abbott is facing, and the obstacles he has and his fight to overcome them.  There is going to be a lot of unexpected romance.  There is going to be some interesting movement in the boardroom as well as the bedroom.  A very Y&R move! (Laughs)

Photo Credit: Kathie Hutchins

Finally, look at the accomplishments of the Bell legacy that we are celebrating.  Y&R is turning 39 and B&B turns 25!

MARIA:  Everyone at Y&R just celebrated our 39th Anniversary the other week, and we are thrilled to be 39 officially on March 26th.  Our 10,000 episode is going to air this summer. That is a huge milestone and next year will be 40 years.  And 25 years of The Bold and the Beautiful is amazing.  I went to work there in 1989.  It’s really exciting to see and I think it’s fantastic.

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Harlee
Guest
Harlee

My question is why does everyone that interview MAB give us viewers such softball interviews? Why not push her on the disastrous decisions she has made about the direction of Y&R? There have been plenty questionable decisions and I think in your heart you realize the horrible state Y&R is in at the moment. Why not ask her about the ratings slide especially during the Feb. sweeps? Y&R didn’t post any increases what so ever? So does this mean advertising will take a hit for revenue and which could mean long time vets will be out or pushed aside for… Read more »

Leisha
Guest
Leisha

Why is everything about the new additions to the cast? It’s consumes her interviews and consumes the show. Can’t they write a story without a new character? I don’t remember every story having to have a someone new in it. The onslaught of new characters has smothered the show and prevented the viewers seeing their classic families and favorite relationships they watch the Y&R for. Jill & Katherine haven’t had a story in years and pass like ships in the night. New viewers must wonder why those 2 old ladies live together, if they even notice they live together. Not… Read more »

Jared
Guest
Jared

Michael, I hope you do get a chance to discuss fan concerns with MAB. I want to put something out there because Y&R was my favorite show for decades, long before I discovered RC/FV’s OLTL. Bill Bell wrote smart, beautiful soap. I didn’t always like what he did, but I trusted him, because I knew that 4 out of 5 times, there’d be a satisfying payoff, which is darn good for a soap opera, given the amount of episodes that have to be produced. Y&R today is a plot-driven, overpopulated shell of its former self, and that makes me sad.… Read more »

Mo
Guest
Mo

Too many new characters (although I do think Catherine and Melissa are doing a good job), too many storylines. She needs to take a machete to the cast and trim it down and maybe that will help with the writing. I would like to see more Gloria–she is who got me hooked on the show in the first place. Would also like to see Sharon and Adam together. I get recycling is in, but not with storylines. How many times are Sharon and Nick going to be pushed together before they realize it’s not working? I don’t feel the heat… Read more »

Bart
Guest
Bart

MAB and her co-hacks Hogan Sheffer and Scott “My name’s NOT Earl” Hamner have ruined my beloved show!! SORAS-ing the character of Kyle will be another move certain to put another nail in this show’s coffin!

NEW WRITERS PLEASE AND STAT!!

Wayne Anderson
Guest
Wayne Anderson

Will we see Michael E. Knight on Y&R? I would love to see him as a friend on Paul Williams that takes over and covers his detective operation. And later becomes a partner, ad a condition of getting freedom for killing his son, even though he never meant to. And there he .can have his long time reunion with Darnell and Debbi from AMC. days. He could become to new PI of Genoa City

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‘Days of our Lives: Beyond Salem’ Limited-Series Ordered by Peacock

The NBCUniversal streaming service, Peacock has ordered a five-episode limited run featuring Days of our Lives!

In the first of its kind for the streamer, the series entitled Days of our Lives: Beyond Salem will feature fan favorite returns, the current cast and more which includes: Lisa Rinna as Billie Reed, Deidre Hall as Dr. Marlena Evans, Drake Hogestyn as John Black, Jackée Harry as Paulina Price, James Reynolds as Abe Carver, Victoria Konefal as Ciara Brady, Robert Scott Wilson as Ben Weston, Billy Flynn as Chad DiMera, Lamon Archey as Eli Grant and Sal Stowers as Lani Price.

According to the announcement on the series Monday morning; here is what fans can look for in the limited series: Over a long weekend, John & Marlena travel to Zurich, Ben & Ciara have a romantic getaway in New Orleans, Chad visits some old friends in Phoenix, and Abe, Paulina, Lani, and Eli vacation in Miami.  All find themselves embroiled in a mystery involving stolen jewels which, in the wrong hands, could cause dire consequences for Salem.  It’s a race against time for ISA agent Billie Reed as she crosses the globe in search of this missing treasure. Packed with all of the romance, action, drama, and surprises that only Days of our Lives can deliver, fans will spend a week with their favorite Salem supercouples and reconnect with many familiar faces along the way.

Look for additional characters than those listed above to also make appearances as well in the hunt for the stolen jewels.

Days of our Lives: Beyond Salem is produced by Corday Productions in association with Sony Pictures Television. Ken Corday is the executive producer with co-executive producer Albert Alarr. Ron Carlivati serves as head writer.

So, what do you think about the upcoming series on Peacock featuring Days of our Lives? Comment below.

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Public Relations Exec & Former CBS Watch Guru, Jeremy Murphy, New Book with Special Nod to ‘Santa Barbara’ Avail for Pre-Order

If you want an inside look into the colorful, often back-stabbing world of PR and entertainment, but with a very candid yet very humorous take, you are going to want to order and pick up your copy of Jeremy Murphy’s new book, F**k Off, Chloe, and as it turns out, the author himself includes a surprising tribute to the beloved Santa Barbara!

Murphy, who spent 14 years at CBS where he the creator and editor in chief of the high-profile magazine, CBS Watch, later launched a successful career with countless clients in his boutique PR agency, 360 bespoke.  The agency is known for clients in the fields of luxury, the arts, fashion/ beauty, hospitality, travel, media, start-ups and entrepreneurs.  In fact, former Days and RHOBH star, Lisa Rinna beauty brand, Rinna Beauty, has been one of his clients.

Photo: Simon & Schuster

In the log lines for this new book, available for pre-order from Simon & Schuster, it details: ‘Public relations’ snarkiest publicist Jeremy Murphy expertly chronicles his hatred, love, indifference, amusement, and scorn for the profession in F*ck Off, Chloe. From entitled millennials to surly reporters, obnoxious clients, and cumbersome, color-coded “trackers,” Murphy takes a scalpel and glass of Châteauneuf-du-Pape to the PR industry in a searing, hilarious, and pissy voice that his own psychiatrist finds “deeply concerning.” His collection of annoyances shed light on the industry’s idiosyncrasies, insanities, contradictions, and past due invoices, providing an illuminating window into the dirty world of public relations not even Xanax can help. Complementing the scathing prose are color-in illustrations by artist Darren Greenblatt, creator of the “Ugly Lives of Beautiful People” sketch series.’

Murphy told Michael Fairman TV as to why soap fans may want to check out the book: “Any Santa Barbarian will love this because it finally says what needs to be said: best.show.ever.”  Jeremy is in indeed a hard core Santa Barbara fan.

On a personal note, Michael Fairman shared: “I used to work with Jeremy when he was an editor-in-chief and commissioned me to write profiles of celebrities, and it was always a fun journey to collaborate with him. This new book spoofs PR, journalism, TV and media, in an honest, unapologetic, but hysterical way.”

To pre-order, F**k Off, Chloe click here and look for its release in store and everywhere in March of 2022.

So, intrigued to read what Jeremy shares about Santa Barbara and more? Comment below.

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Y&R’s Melissa Claire Egan Baby Shower with Cast and Friends (Photos)

This past Friday, Melissa Claire Egan (Chelsea) was treated to a very special baby shower for her newborn on the way by some of her castmates: Elizabeth Hendrickson (Chloe), Greg Rikaart (Kevin), Michelle Stafford (Phyllis) and Joshua Morrow (Nick).

The gathering was held at The Grove near CBS Television City, where Y&R tapes.

Attending were not only the hosts, but Missy’s other castmates including: Brytni Sarpy (Elena), Bryton James (Devon), Peter Bergman (Jack), Camryn Grimes (Mariah), Mishael Morgan (Amanda), and more.

On her Instagram, Melissa had some special shout-outs to those who worked to put together the baby shower for her: “I’m so lucky to have a job I love so much, playing a role I love so much, with THESE PEOPLE THAT I LOVE SO MUCH!! Beyond grateful. Thank you @e.c.hendrickson, @gregrikaart, @therealstafford, & @joshuamorrowyr for throwing me my work baby shower. I’m spoiled and I know it!!! Thank you guys, and thanks to all you amazingly supportive fans who watch the show, and have sent your love my way during this time. It will forever mean the world to me, @katrosar, and this new little man💙”

Take a look at some of the moments from the baby shower through our photo gallery below.

Now that Missy is on maternity leave from Y&R, share your well-wishes to her and dad-to-be Matt Katrosar via the comment section.

Photo: JPI Studios (Click to enlarge images)

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GH’s Kelly Thiebaud (Britt) chats with Michael Fairman about Britt being on the run with Jason, their burgeoning romance, working with Steve Burton and her other co-star and Britt’s diagnosis of Huntington’s Disease. .Leave A Comment

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