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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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WATCH: Ellen DeGeneres Address Toxic Workplace Issues & How She is a ‘Work in Progress’ in Talk Show Season Opener

Today marks the return of daytime’s Ellen DeGeneres Show for its 18th season in syndication.  Ahead of its airing, the show dropped the video of Ellen’s opening monologue where she addresses to the audience at home the allegations that came to light over the summer regarding her, and the toxic work environment behind the scenes of her popular series.

Those allegations prompted an internal investigation by WarnerMedia, which led to the dismissal of several key producers at the talk show.

Previously, Ellen shared that she would address what had happened during the new season, but she did so at the top of its first episode back, and repeated some of the same sentiments she also shared in a letter to her crew and staffers.

DeGeneres expressed  “I know that I’m in a position of privilege and power, and I realize that with that comes responsibility, and I take responsibility for what happens at my show. This is The Ellen DeGeneres Show. I am Ellen DeGeneres.”  She was quick to point out that she is turning the page and that “today, we are starting a new chapter.”

Addressing what has been her off-screen behavior vs. her on-air persona, Ellen said: “The truth is, I am that person that you see on TV. I am also a lot of other things.  Sometimes I get sad. I get mad. I get anxious. I get frustrated. I get impatient. And I am working on all of that. I am a work in progress… I don’t think I’m that good of an actress that I could come out here every day for 17 years and fool you. This is me, and my intention is to always be the best person I can be. And if I’ve ever let someone down, if I’ve ever hurt their feelings, I’m so sorry for that.”  Within the monologue she shares how she became known as the “Be Kind Lady” a moniker that also came back to bite her during the summer.

So, what do you think about what Ellen has to say at the top of the new season of her show? Do you think this is enough of an explanation to the public? Are you ready to watch her new season? Comment below.

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72nd Primetime Emmys: ‘Schitt’s Creek’ Sweeps Comedy, ‘Succession’ Takes Drama, Zendaya Becomes Youngest Lead Actress Drama Winner

The first ever virtual Primetime Emmys were held last night amid the coronavirus pandemic with host Jimmy Kimmel presiding over the proceedings in an empty Staple Center in Los Angeles and nominees streamed in from locations in the United States and around the globe.

After the dust settled, Canada was having quite the night with the clean sweep by Schitt’s Creek in the comedy categories.  The series, which ended after its sixth season, saw all of its nominated stars win in all the comedy performer categories: Dan Levy, Eugene Levy, Catherine O’ Hara and Annie Murphy.  Dan continued to be on a hot streak also taking the Writing and Directing categories..  The show then won the Comedy Series award.  The impressive night for Schitt’s Creek make it a record-breaker with seven trophies in a row.  That, coupled with their two wins during the Creative Arts Emmys, set the new record for most Emmy wins.

Photo: ABC

In the drama categories it was Succession which racked up four major awards including: Outstanding Drama Series, Outstanding Lead Actor for Jeremy Strong, and in the writing and directing categories.

Photo: ABC

Zendaya bested some heavyweights in the Lead Actress in a Drama Series for her work in Euphoria making her the youngest winner in this category in TV Academy history at 24.

Photo: ABC

The complete list of winner’s from Sunday night are listed below.

OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES
CATHERINE O’HARA as Moira Rose  Schitt’s Creek

OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES
EUGENE LEVY as Johnny Rose   Schitt’s Creek

OUTSTANDING WRITING FOR A COMEDY SERIES
DANIEL LEVY, Written by Schitt’s Creek –  Happy Ending

OUTSTANDING DIRECTING FOR A COMEDY SERIES
ANDREW CIVIDINO, DANIEL LEVY, Directors  – Schitt’s Creek – Happy Ending

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES
DANIEL LEVY as David Rose  Schitt’s Creek

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES
ANNIE MURPHY as Alexis Rose  Schitt’s Creek

OUTSTANDING COMEDY SERIES
SCHITT’S CREEK

OUTSTANDING VARIETY TALK SERIES
LAST WEEK TONIGHT WITH JOHN OLIVER

OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE
REGINA KING as Angela Abar / Sister Night Watchmen

OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE
MARK RUFFALO as Dominick Birdsey/Thomas Birdsey  I Know This Much Is True

OUTSTANDING WRITING FOR A LIMITED SERIES, MOVIE OR DRAMATIC SPECIAL
Watchmen

OUTSTANDING DIRECTING FOR A LIMITED SERIES, MOVIE OR DRAMATIC SPECIAL
Unorthodox

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE
YAHYA ABDUL-MATEEN II as Cal Abar / Dr. Manhattan  Watchmen

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE
UZO ADUBA as Shirley Chisholm  Mrs. America

OUTSTANDING LIMITED SERIES
WATCHMEN

OUTSTANDING COMPETITION PROGRAM
RUPAUL’S DRAG RACE

OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES
JEREMY STRONG as Kendall Roy Succession

OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES
ZENDAYA as Rue Euphoria

OUTSTANDING WRITING FOR A DRAMA SERIES
Succession – This Is Not For Tears

OUTSTANDING DIRECTING FOR A DRAMA SERIES
Succession – Hunting

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES
BILLY CRUDUP as Cory Ellison  The Morning Show

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES
JULIA GARNER as Ruth Langmore Ozark

OUTSTANDING DRAMA SERIES
SUCCESSION

So, what did you think of the winners at the 72nd annual Primetime Emmys?  What did you think of the virtual ceremony … thumbs up or thumbs down? Comment below.

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‘This Is Us’ Guest Star Ron Cephas Jones & Jasmine Cephas Jones Become First Father-Daughter Winners In Emmy History

On Saturday night, Ron Cephas Jones took home his second Emmy for his guest-star turn on the hit NBC drama, This Is Us.   Jones, plays the biological father, William Hill to Sterling K. Brown’s Randall Pearson.  Jones took home the gold during the final night of the Creative Arts Emmys leading into Sunday’s night’s major ceremony on the 72nd annual Primetime Emmys on ABC. (8 p.m. EST/5 p. m. PST).

But what made last night all the more special for Ron is that with this win, he, along with his daughter actress Jasmine Cephas Jones, became the first father-daughter duo in Academy history to win Emmys.  Jasmine won on Thursday night’s Creative Arts Awards for her work on Quibi’s #FreeRayshawn.   Ron won in the Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama series, while Jasmine took home the gold in the Outstanding Actress in a Short Form Comedy or Drama Series category.

In the virtual press room following his win, Ron expressed: “As a parent that’s the most fulfilling that I could ever feel at the moment. Winning another Emmy is the icing on the cake, but to see my daughter progress and move into this place where she’s earned an Emmy is beyond words and I tear up every time I think about it to be honest with you. To see my daughter become healthy and happy, that’s a parent’s dream.  I’ve always focused on the work ever since she was a little girl, and coming from the theater it’s always been about trying to do good work…when you do what you want to do and you’re happy and you’re healthy that’s the win in itself… When we found out she was nominated, I was expressing to her that’s the win in itself when your work gets acknowledged and the win itself is the icing on the cake that keeps you humble and keeps you hungry.”

However, Ron’s win did not go off without hitch!  The broadcast announced The Outsider‘s Jason Bateman as the winner, and then suddenly cut to a commercial.  After the break, a title card acknowledged the mistake and confirmed that the This Is Us star was the actual winner.  In the virtual press room an announcement to all was made that: “They announced the right winner and the right slate, but the voiceover was incorrect.”

So what do you think about Ron Cephas Jones second Emmy win for This Is Us, and his daughter winning an Emmy the same Emmy season? Comment below.

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Video du Jour

B&B’s Heather Tom talks with Michael Fairman immediately following her record-tying win in the Lead Actress category during the 47th annual Daytime Emmy Awards.  Heather and Erika now hold the most wins for an actress with 6! Leave A Comment

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