On Friday, The Bold and the Beautiful will officially celebrate its 7,000th episode milestone with its viewers and fans with a special retrospective look with special cast commentary, original screen test footage, a look at fashion through the years, and so much more in a very special broadcast of the almost 28-year-old series.
However last week, B&B marked the occasion with an on set celebration and dedication ceremony to Brad Bell, the executive producer and the head writer of the CBS Daytime drama. Brad, one of the hardest working men in television, was acknowledged for his achievements, and now has Stage 31 at CBS dedicated in his name. While executives, his family, cast (past and present) surrounded him, Brad spoke eloquently and emotionally about being the son of the late great Bill Bell (creator of Y&R and B&B), and what this day, and the significance of it, held for him.
After the dedication ceremony and subsequent festivities, On-Air On-Soaps caught up with the man of the hour to share in the emotion and spirit of the day, and to get his thoughts on: the current state of The Bold and the Beautiful, his red hot storyline with Rick (Jacob Young) at the epicenter of it, Brooke’s (Katherine Kelly Lang) return, and even writing the exit story for the beloved Kim Matula (Ex-Hope).
Before our interview with Brad, we have first included some excerpts from his speech below, so you could also read his words that resonated with such heart to all those who have worked with him.
BRAD BELL SPEECH: “In 1992, I stood here as did some of you in the same place, only facing in that direction when CBS dedicated Studio 43 to my father at the completion of 5,000 episodes of Y&R. My dad Bill Bell was a brilliant writer, a true gentleman, and an extraordinary father, and today to have these plaques across the hall from each other makes me so incredibly proud. We were in an inseparable writing team for many years, and now in someway I feel like we are joined together again. To share this with my family: my business partner Bill, my beautiful sister and accomplished actress Lauralee, the ambassador (Wife Colleen Bell), and our son Chasen, a fantastic young man who is here, and the co-creator of The Young and the Restless and The Bold and the Beautiful, my mother Lee Phillip Bell, makes this a milestone to remember.
‘Team Bold and the Beautiful’ has been like an extended family. Some have been here for months, and some longer, and some even longer, and even longer. This show has taken us around the world to Italy, Australia, Paris, Mexico, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and beyond. All have been amazing experiences. I’ve tried to think what has been my favorite B&B experience of all-time and after going over it, my true favorite B&B experience happens every time I walk on to Stage 31. I am greeted with smiles and welcoming waves, an occasional kiss on the cheek from a beautiful actress, hugs and handshakes for a team that means the world to me. Nothing beats that, and I can’t thank you all enough. To see this empty box transformed into another world through the magic of all departments is astounding. Assembled here we have the finest in the business: the finest talent and the finest people. And finally, my dad always said when I was stressing out, “Don’t worry, son. I didn’t hit my stride till I was 50 years old.” Well … I have recently turned 50! I think this B&B is team is hungry, and we are in top form. We are ready to reach new heights, and this plaque is an honor of 7,000 episodes completed. But, it is also a launching pad for the best is yet to come (and I am going to say it) … on the Bradley P. Bell Stage 31!”
The speech you made had every one choked up, including yourself. This accomplishment has got to be so special for you.
BRAD: It was so special, and I can’t find the words. When you lose a parent, there are times when you think about them a lot, and there are other times when you are busy with your lives, and this really makes me reflect back in a way I haven’t in a very long time.
When you think about the legacy of The Bold and the Beautiful, and that you worked together with your father the great Bill Bell Sr., and he handed the reins of the show over to you. That is a beautiful moment to recall.
BRAD: I know. It’s been such a wonderful ride, and to have parents in my life, and such a great mentor and teacher as my father. One of the things that I am most thrilled about is that my mother could be here. because I know that it is a special day for her.
Was there ever fear that once you took over B&B that you could not measure up to your dad, Bill Bell?
BRAD: It was a fear until I decided to be different. His storytelling was epic and at unbelievably high caliber, and mine has its own merits and its own style. We are two very similar writers, and yet two very different writers at the same time.
When you look at the 7,000 episodes and this honor of having the studio dedication in you honor and the plaque that is now here and what it symbolizes … what runs through your mind?
BRAD: It is pretty special. What runs through my mind is; I remember when dad got to the 5,000 episode, it was such a big number, and now to look up here and see 7000 … it does feel like a big accomplishment.
Your wife Colleen Bell, now U.S Ambassador to Hungary, said such loving and moving words about you in her speech. She had been the constant in your life. Has she been able to champion you on in your professional career, if there were moments of difficulties or challenges, or even if there is a day where you think you just don’t want to do this anymore?
BRAD: There have been moments. When the show is not going well the audience can tell, and the writers can tell, too! And, try to put on a happy face. But, those are tough times, and it’s so wonderful to feel that I am in a spot where the cast is brilliant and the stories are flowing. And, when the stories aren’t flowing, I rely on Colleen, and I rely on Colleen now. She will say to me, “Oh, you love this … you will figure a way out of this.” I haven’t felt like that in a long time, the show is awesome right now.
I also want to commend you and your team for the beautiful job you did on such short notice with coming up with an exit strategy for Hope’s exit when Kim Matula decided to leave the series. The use of slo-motion, the music, and the dissolve where the character kind of vanishes into thin air … were all very effective.
BRAD: We spent a lot of time on that ending for her, and we sort of dreamed it up. I thought, “You know, this is one where I am just going to be a writer, and my character is just going to disappear.” Don’t ask how, and don’t ask why, but Hope is gone and Kim is gone, and Jacqui’s (Jacqueline MacInnes Wood as Steffy) back!
Currently, the Rick (Jacob Young), Maya (Karla Mosley) and Caroline (Linsey Godfrey) drama has captivated the audience in such huge way! This story really is must-see television. Did you think this story would become such a bonafide hit?
BRAD: I had hopes for it, and these are all very fine actors, and sometimes you have everything in place and it doesn’t work. This one not only worked, but it exceeded my hopes and expectations. The roll out of this story is going to blow people’s minds! We have a few twists and turns up our sleeve that are going to be amazing.
Brooke’s (Katherine Kelly Lang) back! When I spoke with Katherine, she said you have big story coming up for her, but it’s not centered around a man this time? True?
BRAD: No, it’s not … but of course it is! (Laughs) But it’s more than that; it’s not simply a triangle, or a love affair. There is more to the story, and it will be something she will be battling that she has never battled before. I am excited for that story, too! This is going to be a great 2015.
What did you think of the portions of Brad’s speech, and his comments about his iconic father? What are your thoughts on the accomplishments of B&B reaching 7oooth episodes? In story; is the Rick, Maya, and Caroline story one of the best stories in recent memory on the CBS Daytime drama series? Share your thoughts below!