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Where was Bill Bell's Y&R headed?


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#1 Aback

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 03:39 PM

If Bill Bell was still alive, and he had a say on Y&R, what stories do you think he would suggest for the show?
Do you think that he laid the basis for future stories that the following HWs didn't follow up?

I for one always thought that Brad was supposed to turn out to be Victor's brother or something. Hence the mystery about his past. And the fact that he and HT's Victoria were never put together, even though they had tons on chemistry and constantly flirted.

Then, I always thought that the sperm-gate (which I loved) was supposed to lay the foundations for a huge custody battle between Victor/Brad/Ashley/Abby, while I'm not sure how Diane and Kyle would fit in.

Finally, of course Phyllis was never supposed to have anymore children, and Niktor would have been kept together as the staple couple.

OT. Before you say anything, I would like to clarify that I have always thought that KA's 'succesfull tenure' wasn't really HER. I firmly believe that up to 2001, BB was still at the helm of the storylines and the direction of the show. KA would only do the dirty work, breaking down his ideas. Therefore, I think that the sperm-gate was all BB's idea, and that KA proved how poor a headwriter she was when she actually did write the show in 2002, and started out by recasting Sean in a power struggle with ES. I know this is pure speculation on my part but I really think this makes sense.

Edited by Hotness, 08 October 2012 - 03:42 PM.

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#2 yr9190

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 03:57 PM

Hard to say a lot of things, but I still believe eventually Victor would have paid more, for his past crimes, Braeden went along with everything Bell planned for him and never use to bitch about stuff.
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#3 CSF

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 04:46 PM

So funny you posted this.

For the first time in a long time, I actually sat down to watch Y&R and I thought I was watching As the World Turns meets Days of our Lives. What did that moronically atrocious b!itch known as MAB do to Y&R? The sets, the lighting all horrible. Victor's office? I was like "he downsized?" I mean the writing is just all around bad as we've known since the beginning of 2009, but for the first time, it really hit me that something that used to be so visually appealing was so ugly and unattractive. AMC's Pine Valley meets LA looked better.

And what is up with Sharon Case and her weird facial expressions? Who told her that would enhance her performance because it doesn't.

I watched Y&R for years and there were times were Bill Bell's stores got a little mundane and dragged on, but you always kept your eye on the screen because everything was so beautiful.

If Bell were alive today, the cast would be very different. Nikki, Jill, Brad, Jack, Ashley, Victor, Sharon, Dru, Neil, etc. would all be front and center. None of those women would be walked all over like they are now. As said above, Victor would be accountable for his actions.

Event MAB's "update" to the opening is all out of focus.

Kay Alden definitely was in control from 1998 until 2003, but I think the real issue was Y&R not having a stronger EP after Ed Scott was fired.
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#4 will81

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 07:28 AM

Yeah I don't believe Bell was in charge after 1998, I think the whole reason he stepped down was because of his Alzheimers, which when watching his TV Legends interview (from around 1998) seems to have started affecting him. I also don't think he would have been responsible for sperm gate as it was so out of character of Ashley to do something like that, Bell seemed to really love Ashley, I think he was able to do with her what he couldn't with Leslie Brooks after Janice Lynde left. He respected the character too much. I personally dislike that story and think it really tainted Ashley somewhat as a character, even Eileen didn't think Ashley would be the one who took the sperm.

As for what the show would be if Bell was healthy and in charge longer (or still today) I agree with the above. The women would be stronger, there would be a defined core to the show and most importantly a caring and loving hand behind the creation, this is what Bell brought to that show, I think that was his baby and he looked after it, a mentality that has been missing from soaps for a long time.
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#5 DRW50

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 07:56 AM

#1 there would be no Fisher/Baldwin family. Characters like Kevin are anathema to everything Bill Bell wrote.

#2 Jill and Katherine never would have been related. There would be no Tucker.

#3 John Abbott would still be alive.

#4 Sharon would have kept her dignity and integrity.
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#6 Mr. Vixen

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 02:21 PM

Jill would still be a Foster.
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#7 y&r_fan

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 03:41 PM

Cassie, John, Drucilla, Hope, Colleen and Diane would still be alive.
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#8 DeeeDee

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 07:47 PM

Liz would be alive.

Philip would not.
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#9 Paul Raven

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 09:14 PM

It is an interesting question. Bill Bell never faced the challenge of writing for characters for the number of years he would have faced had he been able to stay on at Y&R.

At Days he set up Bill/Laura.Mickey and Doug/Julie and saw those stories through to resolution (happy marriage) but left after about 10 years for other writers to work out what to do next and how to integrate those popular characters into a new set of storylines.

At Y&R he chose to drop all his original characters (save Jill and Katherine) after 8-10 years so he didn't have to come up with years and years of story for the Brooks and Fosters. Would Lorie have gone through marriage after marriage like Nikki?

The Abbotts and Newmans came aboard and Bell wrote for those characters for about 18 years-his longest stint.

I wonder whether he would have made some bold moves and removed some characters from the canvas rather than have them fall victim to damaging plots or was he talented enough to keep them fresh for another 20 years?

We definitely know that Jill and Katherine would not be related.Phillip would have stayed dead and Cane would never have existed.

The Mac/Billy story would have gone in a different direction.
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#10 edgeofnik

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 11:50 PM

For sure, NO Jill/Kay relation and also the Malcolm/Dru/Lily would HAVE NEVER HAPPENED. Bell talked about that "seduction" as one of his biggest mistakes. I hated that they went there. And, yes, Philip would be straight and DEAD - like it was intended.

Ashley would have never been tarnished as Will81 noted. The Ashley character was always a moral center for the show. She was the perfect contrast to Jack and all his dealings and was able to keep Victor in check (somewhat). The only real mistake he made with Ashley was the abortion, which was a choice I don't believe the character would've have made (but that's not important). It was having her go crazy afterwards, which was just terrible. Ashley was a strong woman and if she decided to make that choice, she wouldn't have gone nuts. (She may have had regrets, but that's a completely different feeling and it could have been played out in a more positive way. Instead of branding her.)
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#11 will81

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Posted 14 October 2012 - 08:39 AM

For sure, NO Jill/Kay relation and also the Malcolm/Dru/Lily would HAVE NEVER HAPPENED. Bell talked about that "seduction" as one of his biggest mistakes. I hated that they went there. And, yes, Philip would be straight and DEAD - like it was intended.

Ashley would have never been tarnished as Will81 noted. The Ashley character was always a moral center for the show. She was the perfect contrast to Jack and all his dealings and was able to keep Victor in check (somewhat). The only real mistake he made with Ashley was the abortion, which was a choice I don't believe the character would've have made (but that's not important). It was having her go crazy afterwards, which was just terrible. Ashley was a strong woman and if she decided to make that choice, she wouldn't have gone nuts. (She may have had regrets, but that's a completely different feeling and it could have been played out in a more positive way. Instead of branding her.)


I gotta disagree on the abortion/breakdown. It made perfect sense. Ashley wanted that baby, she was happy to be pregnant, to her it meant a family with Victor. She had the abortion for all the wrong reasons, to keep Victor and Nikki (who she found out was dying) happy. If she had an abortion because she wasn't ready for a child, I would agree the breakdown would seem like a punishment, in this case it was because she gave up a baby she really wanted just to keep from complicating other people's lives.
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#12 SOAPSFOREVER

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Posted 14 October 2012 - 12:03 PM

It is an interesting question. Bill Bell never faced the challenge of writing for characters for the number of years he would have faced had he been able to stay on at Y&R.

At Days he set up Bill/Laura.Mickey and Doug/Julie and saw those stories through to resolution (happy marriage) but left after about 10 years for other writers to work out what to do next and how to integrate those popular characters into a new set of storylines.

At Y&R he chose to drop all his original characters (save Jill and Katherine) after 8-10 years so he didn't have to come up with years and years of story for the Brooks and Fosters. Would Lorie have gone through marriage after marriage like Nikki?

Bell didn't really "choose" to drop the Brookes/Foster families. So many of the original younger actors had moved on, and he recast, though the recasts were never as successful. When the recasts started to leave for prime time, he opted to create a new family instead of doing a third round of recasts. It cost the show in the ratings, too, but with Bell's skill and patience, he built another solid family in the Abbotts.

The Abbotts and Newmans came aboard and Bell wrote for those characters for about 18 years-his longest stint.

I wonder whether he would have made some bold moves and removed some characters from the canvas rather than have them fall victim to damaging plots or was he talented enough to keep them fresh for another 20 years?

We definitely know that Jill and Katherine would not be related.Phillip would have stayed dead and Cane would never have existed.

The Mac/Billy story would have gone in a different direction.


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#13 YRBB

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Posted 15 October 2012 - 08:38 PM

OT. Before you say anything, I would like to clarify that I have always thought that KA's 'succesfull tenure' wasn't really HER. I firmly believe that up to 2001, BB was still at the helm of the storylines and the direction of the show. KA would only do the dirty work, breaking down his ideas. Therefore, I think that the sperm-gate was all BB's idea, and that KA proved how poor a headwriter she was when she actually did write the show in 2002, and started out by recasting Sean in a power struggle with ES. I know this is pure speculation on my part but I really think this makes sense.

This reminds me of people proclaiming that Nixon was the one who really wrote something because it happened to be interesting. Please. Whether Kay Alden (or any Headwriter) was at the helm is not a matter of belief. Kay Alden was the headwriter, end of story. Bell's involvement went as far as being the story consultant and the senior executive producer. Besides, what's your rationale behind the "change" in 2002? You liked the show up until 2001, ergo it must have been Bell? Come on!
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#14 Paul Raven

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 02:34 AM

In an interview with Soap Opera Update Kay Alden talked about the decision to drop Michael Damian (Danny).She made it clear that it was Bill Bell's decision.She talked about her idea of Danny being involved with Callie in a music storyline,but stated that Bill nixed it. So at that stage,Bill still had the final say on Kay's storylines.
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#15 Aback

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 04:18 AM

This reminds me of people proclaiming that Nixon was the one who really wrote something because it happened to be interesting. Please. Whether Kay Alden (or any Headwriter) was at the helm is not a matter of belief. Kay Alden was the headwriter, end of story. Bell's involvement went as far as being the story consultant and the senior executive producer. Besides, what's your rationale behind the "change" in 2002? You liked the show up until 2001, ergo it must have been Bell? Come on!


After 2001, a time came when the show went downhill (remember the fakeMac/stepfather fiasco? Sean being recast?), and it was still Kay Alden in charge. I don't see how someone who is a gifted writer (as she apparently proved in the 98-2001 era) starts producing sloppy material. And keeps doing it. She's moved to B&B now, and she's not doing wonders. Okay, Brad is the boss there. But so what? You couldn't see a hint of that beautiful 98-2001 era in any of KA's co-HW gigs.

So my idea is that BB supervised KA's work big time, dictating storylines when needed, up until 2001. Then his health issues got really serious and he left everything in her hands. That's when the show started spiralling out of control (KA and ES power-struggling, people recruiting Jack Smith, and so on). I'm sorry but that's my opinion and nothing you guys have said so far has changed my mind.
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#16 will81

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 07:47 AM


After 2001, a time came when the show went downhill (remember the fakeMac/stepfather fiasco? Sean being recast?), and it was still Kay Alden in charge. I don't see how someone who is a gifted writer (as she apparently proved in the 98-2001 era) starts producing sloppy material. And keeps doing it. She's moved to B&B now, and she's not doing wonders. Okay, Brad is the boss there. But so what? You couldn't see a hint of that beautiful 98-2001 era in any of KA's co-HW gigs.

So my idea is that BB supervised KA's work big time, dictating storylines when needed, up until 2001. Then his health issues got really serious and he left everything in her hands. That's when the show started spiralling out of control (KA and ES power-struggling, people recruiting Jack Smith, and so on). I'm sorry but that's my opinion and nothing you guys have said so far has changed my mind.


Giving this a second thought, I feel Bell wouldn't have just walked away from Y&R, as I said it was his baby, from all I have heard and read of the man it sounds like he would have stayed hands on as much as he could for as long as he could, but the nature of his health problems makes it too hard to tell how involved he might have been and for how long. It is quite possible Bell laid out some story projections for Kay and made decisions about elements where possible, but that Kay was ultimately in charge. So some story-lines and character decisions Bell may have been heavily involved in during that 98-01 era you mention, and others not so much.

Edited by will81, 16 October 2012 - 07:49 AM.

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#17 KMan101

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 08:21 AM

Im sure Bell maintained overall creative control. Im sure Kay worked closely with him. As evidence over the Michael Damian dropping.
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#18 CSF

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 11:01 PM

It is an interesting question. Bill Bell never faced the challenge of writing for characters for the number of years he would have faced had he been able to stay on at Y&R.

At Days he set up Bill/Laura.Mickey and Doug/Julie and saw those stories through to resolution (happy marriage) but left after about 10 years for other writers to work out what to do next and how to integrate those popular characters into a new set of storylines.

At Y&R he chose to drop all his original characters (save Jill and Katherine) after 8-10 years so he didn't have to come up with years and years of story for the Brooks and Fosters. Would Lorie have gone through marriage after marriage like Nikki?

The Abbotts and Newmans came aboard and Bell wrote for those characters for about 18 years-his longest stint.

I wonder whether he would have made some bold moves and removed some characters from the canvas rather than have them fall victim to damaging plots or was he talented enough to keep them fresh for another 20 years?

We definitely know that Jill and Katherine would not be related.Phillip would have stayed dead and Cane would never have existed.

The Mac/Billy story would have gone in a different direction.


I agree with you. But he wrote for Kay and Jill for 25 years which is longer than how long her wrote for the Abbotts and Newmans.

But I think he dropped the Brooks and the Fosters because he didn't want to go through more recasts and also felt that Y&R had moved past them, no?
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#19 Delia

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 11:29 PM

Brad would still be alive and the same goes for Dru, Cassie and Colleen. There never would've been the Pheila or Sarah Smythe fiascos. I doubt Phyllis and Nick would've ever been paired. No Gloria.
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#20 DRW50

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Posted 17 October 2012 - 07:45 AM


Giving this a second thought, I feel Bell wouldn't have just walked away from Y&R, as I said it was his baby, from all I have heard and read of the man it sounds like he would have stayed hands on as much as he could for as long as he could, but the nature of his health problems makes it too hard to tell how involved he might have been and for how long. It is quite possible Bell laid out some story projections for Kay and made decisions about elements where possible, but that Kay was ultimately in charge. So some story-lines and character decisions Bell may have been heavily involved in during that 98-01 era you mention, and others not so much.


I can't imagine Bell approving of the sperm stealing storyline. Yes he had Ashley break down over and over and have an abortion she didn't want to have, but surely he had moved the character on.
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