BEVERLY HILLS —This week’s Leaders in the Arts goes to the cast of “The Bold and The Beautiful.” The executive producer and head-writer of the most watched show on the planet is Bel Air resident Bradley P. Bell. The Emmy-winning leader helms the most successful American soap opera in television history. The show is watched not only by housewives and college students, but many famous athletes and musicians count themselves as viewers of the show that has reinvented what used to be one of the staples of the early 1960s and 1970s, daytime continuing drama or soap operas as they were once called. Bell took his father’s show and not only made it more exciting but more successful than anyone else could have done in the industry.
What James Cameron and Steven Spielberg are to film, Bradley P. Bell is to television. Primetime producers and writers can often take notes from Bell’s incredible understanding of what makes great entertainment. With high drama led by the queen of all actresses today, Susan Flannery, great flying by your pants style acting by former “Melrose Place” hunk Jack Wagner, solid supporting performances by Ashley Jones, who is the best actress under 30 in Tinseltown, Kyle Lowder is simply one of the most enthralling actors of this generation and Katherine Kelly Lang who plays a role that any other actress would find it hard to make sympathetic to the viewers but she does so on a daily basis. Characters Stephanie, Nick, Bridget, Rick and Brooke round out a wonderful group of rich characters, some inherited by Brad, but most he created and/or improved.
Bill Bell, Sr. and Lee Phillip Bell knew how to create great drama. Before “B&B,” the dynamic couple created the classic drama, the number-one rated for over 19 years “The Young and the Restless.” However, it was Bradley Bell who reinvented “B&B,” with great recasts, keeping his solid actors and aging to perfection roles like Rick and Bridget, which Lowder and Jones have made their own. Bradley Bell received The Leader in the Arts a few weeks ago along with his brilliantly talented and beautiful sister Lauralee Bell, so it was not fair to forget the people who inhabit Brad Bell’s set and the characters he loves to make us drool over, hate, want dead and even want to marry at any given time.
Susan Flannery, who I call in my book “The Making of Hollywood Stars,” “An act of nature,” is one of the best thespians ever in this industry. Fans love when Stephanie gives Brooke the evil eye and even a slap or two on the cheek for being a tramp. Ronn Moss has made the character of Ridge a lovable guy, when Ridge is very often one of the most selfish playboys in Beverly Hills history, while John McCook rounds out the patriarchal role with vision. Winsor Harmon is incredible when he’s given great material, which is often, Lowder and Jones are great additions to Bell’s stable of stars. They each bring a youthful vitality to a solid acting team. However, Brad’s decision to create the role of Nick Marone and bring on Jack Wagner to be that character was one of the best casting decisions of the twenty-first century.
Hunter Tylo as Taylor, Alley Mills as Pamela, Jennifer Gareis as Donna, Heather Tom as Katie and Don Diamont as Bill are equally as incredible and unforgettable in their roles. Each star adds an amount of their own style, talent and class that makes this series as posh and elegant as its sister soap “Y&R” but it has a fever pitch level of storytelling that fans find as addictive as chocolate or a drug. Tyler Bell, Rick Hearst, Texas Battle, Brandon Beemer, Lesley-Anne Down, Lesli Kay, Sarah Brown and Jacqueline Macinnes-Wood all bring a tremendous amount of unique gifts as actors to the series that has taken on success at an incredible level, which is well deserved.
There are so many Emmy worthy performances in 2009 on this series. Led by Susan Flannery, Kyle Lowder, Ashley Jones, Jack Wagner and Katherine Kelly Lang. However, anyone who is nominated on this series is deserving of the nomination and should win. Bradley Bell’s series as groundbreaking and exciting as it is, remains faithful to its viewers and to the genre of daytime drama.
This week the Leaders in the Arts is the cast, crew, creators and most importantly the man who brings it to us like no other producer in Hollywood, Mr. Bradley P. Bell. “B&B” airs weekdays on CBS.
Photographs Courtesy: Cast member, Bell Phillip Television Productions and Forrester Family by Gilles Toucas