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05.16.2008

"THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS" History

The date is March 26, 1973.  Richard M. Nixon is two months into his second term as President of the United States.  The Number One song on the pop charts is Roberta Flack's Killing Me Softly and the novel The Odessa File by Frederick Forsyth tops The New York Times best seller list.  William J. Bell, head writer of the popular serial Days of our Lives, has just launched what is to become television's most successful and groundbreaking daytime drama ever - The Young and the Restless - on the CBS Television Network.

 

The continuing drama takes place in the Midwestern town of Genoa City and revolves around the loves, enmities, hopes and fears of its residents.  When The Young and the Restless premiered on March 26, 1973, it revolutionized the daytime drama genre with its emphasis on storylines geared to younger audiences, its frank sensuality, sleek production values and use of rock and popular music.  The show has also been acclaimed for its socially conscious stories dealing with issues including alcoholism, smoking, breast cancer awareness, sexual harassment, date rape, illiteracy, HIV drug testing, domestic violence, drug addiction, Internet predators and foster care. 

 

The Young and the Restless was co-created by the late William J. Bell and his wife, Lee Phillip Bell.  They also co-created the CBS daytime drama The Bold and the Beautiful, and Lee was a long-term story consultant on both serials.  Their daughter, Lauralee, starred as Christine Blair Williams on The Young and the Restless for many years, while son William J. Bell is President of Bell Dramatic Serial Company and Bell-Phillip TV Productions, Inc.  Bradley P. Bell, the Bell's second son, is executive producer and head writer of The Bold and the Beautiful

 

Truly a legend in the television industry, William Bell enjoyed a 25-year tenure as head writer and senior executive producer of The Young and the Restless - the longest in the history of daytime drama.  He wrote more than 15,000 episodes of daytime drama that aired continuously and without interruption since 1956.  He created two of the eight serial dramas that currently constitute the daytime drama lineup and was a writer or head writer for three others.  In fact, Bell once worked as head writer on two daytime dramas simultaneously: from 1966-1977 on NBC's Days of our Lives and from 1973-1977 on The Young and the Restless.  Bell's writing trademarks have become the standards for the industry - fascinating and complex characters, intricate relationships, heartfelt romance and sensitive, timely treatments of both serious and controversial social issues and topics.

 

Bell received 10 Emmy Awards, four as a writer for The Young and the Restless, five as the show's producer and one Governor's Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS) and the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (ATAS).  Bell received the Editor's Award twice from Soap Opera Digest and was one of the inaugural inductees into Soap Opera Weekly's Hall of Fame.  Bell and Lee Bell previously received the Nova Award from the Muscular Dystrophy Association.  In 2007, Lee Phillip Bell was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 34th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards.

 

More recently, Bell's two current daytime dramas have popularized the soap opera format to audiences in more than 100 countries, introducing a vast and appreciative new audience to the phenomenon of the American daytime drama. In fact, The Young and the Restless has a daily worldwide audience of more than 10 million viewers.  In the United States, the broadcast reaches a daily audience of 5.6 million viewers.  The show has been the Number One daytime drama, according to the Neilsen rankings, for the past 19 years.  It also continues as the Number One rated daytime drama with African-American viewers in the United States since 1991, with an average daily audience of 1.6 million viewers. 

 

The Young and the Restless is a hit in international markets, including Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Greece, India, Israel, Italy, the Middle East, New Zealand, Romania, Slovenia, South Africa, Switzerland, Turkey and the United Kingdom.

 

The Young and the Restless has been the recipient of numerous awards for artistic merit, program excellence and social responsibility.  The show has won 100 Emmy Awards to date, including seven Emmy Awards in the category of Outstanding Daytime Drama.  Additional honors include The People's Choice Award for Favorite Daytime Drama and seven NAACP Image Awards for Outstanding Daytime Drama, the first daytime drama ever to be honored by the organization.

 

In 1992, CBS dedicated Studio 43 at CBS Television City in Los Angeles to both William J. Bell and to The Young and the Restless. The dedication, in conjunction with the 5000th episode, marked the first time in the history of CBS that a studio has been dedicated to an individual and a series.