The time has finally come for fans of The Bold and the Beautiful, and the soap world, to see Susan Flannery’s final storyline play out on-air. As had been previously announced and reported, on the heels of Ronn Moss’ (Ridge) departure from the ever-popular CBS soap, series icon Susan Flannery also announced her plans to exit the series after 25 years as Stephanie Forrester.
This conundrum gave series head writer and executive producer, Brad Bell the chance to write Stephanie’s exit story which has now been revealed that her lung cancer has returned. However this time … she won’t survive it. Bell spoke to TV Guide revealing his plans to take Susan and her alter-ego Stephanie on one last emotional journey. Stephanie finds out on this Friday, October 12th’s episode that her cancer has returned, setting the stage for several weeks of heart-wrenching moments. Susan’s last airdate will be in December. Here are a few excerpts below from Bell’s preview of Daytime Emmy winner, Flannery’s exit story.
Bell on how there is no hope for Stephanie to survive the cancer this time around: “She receives the diagnosis that the cancer has spread and that there is no chance for survival. Stephanie has always been a woman of great strength and character and she’s determined to deal with this in her own way. She doesn’t want tears and long faces — she wants a celebration of her life, a blowout to end all blowouts. She’ll definitely be in touch with her mortality, living each day as if it’s her last, and she’s determined to make the most of every moment. After the diagnosis there is some initial shock, but she is quick to create a purpose — the party — and that becomes her obsession. She wants everyone to remember her in peak form. And that’s the way Susan feels, too. She wants to go out on top.”
Bell on if Stephanie’s party plans are similar to the bucket-list she had last go-round with her battle with cancer: “Yes, only much bigger! She’ll be inviting a lot of people to the party but certain people will receive hand-written invitations that will be delivered personally by Stephanie. This is going to play out on air starting Oct. 18 for eight [consecutive] episodes. Each day Stephanie goes to one of the key people in her life — her sister Pam, her son Thorne, her best friend Taylor, her namesake Steffy — and tells them her time is up and that she’s throwing herself a party. Donna will also have a day, as will Brooke, of course. Stephanie and Brooke are the true supercouple of B&B. Each day will be a video tribute to one of Stephanie’s great relationships, with lots of flashbacks featuring the “best of” moments. We’ve even worked out a way to have Stephanie visit with her old pal Sally Spectra (played by the late Darlene Conley), with Fabio as a special guest since he was a part of their story.”
Bell on if the character of Ridge, Stephanie’s son, would show up: “There’s a big question as to whether or not Ridge will show up for the party. He may make a surprise appearance…you never know! (Laughs) It’s a possibility. Stephanie’s daughters Kristen and Felicia will also be there. We’re firing up the Forrester living room set for the last time. Emotion will be filling that room.”
Bell on as difficult as it is to see Susan leave the series, how it is an honor to write her out this way: “In a way I feel we’re doing this for the entire soap-opera community. We all know each other and we deeply respect the great actors who play our matriarchs and patriarchs — the ones who made this business — and it’s been sad to see so many of them drop away without getting a proper homage. This is a wonderful opportunity that’s bigger than B&B, a very special and universal thing. I’m so happy to be able to do it this way. And I’m only able to do it because Susan came to me and said, “I’m ready to leave the show, but I will give you the time you need to write out the character.” She also said, “I don’t want to know what you’re going to do. I just want you to do it your way, and I will play it.” So I’m writing it and I can’t wait to see what she does with the material.”
So soapers, get out your hankies for this one! Do you like the exit strategy for Stephanie Forrester and icon Susan Flannery, that Brad Bell has planned? Weigh-in!