How America’s biggest soaps Y&R and B&B are connected
The Young and the Restless and the Bold and the Beautiful are two of the four remaining broadcast soaps on the air in 2022. While both of these are top rated soaps, Y&R has been the number one soap on American daytime television since 1988. Fourteen years after Y&R debuted on CBS, its sister soap, The Bold and the Beautiful, began airing in 1987, and quickly joined Y&R at the top. Several characters have crossed over between the two soaps, but that’s not the only way these classic shows are related. Let’s take a look at the connection between these two classic CBS soap operas.
The Bells family created Y&R and B&B
Longtime viewers will know that the Young and the Restless and the Bold and the Beautiful are creations from the same family. We have the Bells to thank for creating two of the most popular soap operas on television today. Legendary screenwriter William J. Bell got his start in soaps when he was hired as a writer on The Guiding Light and As the World Turns.
In the late 60s, Bell changed the dynamics of soaps when he began to include the sexual side of romance in his storylines. In 1972, William along with his wife, Lee Phillip Bell, who was a renowned radio host, created the Young and the Restless, then known as The Innocent Years, and the show debuted on March 26, 1973.
Years later, the Bells created a second soap opera for CBS where they weaved stories revolving around the Los Angeles fashion industry and the show aired in 1987. During this time, all three of their children, William Jr, Bradley Bell and Lauralee Bell, were involved in their soaps in some capacity.
William Bell Jr. served as the president of the family’s production companies, Bell Dramatic Serial Co. and Bell-Phillip Television Productions Inc. Meanwhile, Bradley Bell co-created The Bold and the Beautiful with his father and Lauralee Bell has played Christine Williams on The Young and the Restless for decades now.
In March 2020, The Bold and the Beautiful dethorned the Young and the Restless as the number one soap opera in the United States after 33 years on air. Eight time Daytime Emmy Award winner Bradley Bell continues to serve as the executive producer and head writer for the Bold and the Beautiful.
Y&R and B&B have common characters
On screen, we have seen several crossovers between the Young and the Restless and the Bold and the Beautiful. Most recently, Sheila Carter returned to Los Angeles to reunite with her son, John Finnegan and ruin Brooke Logan’s life, but she has a long history of misdeeds in Genoa City. Deacon Sharpe has also been soap hopping over the years and is currently making amends on the Bold and the Beautiful. In 2020, Sally Spectra moved to Genoa City after a series of mishaps in Los Angeles.
Similarly, Lauren Fenmore left Genoa City for Los Angeles where she began working for Forrester Creations and had a relationship with Eric Forrester. But eventually, she chose to return to Genoa City where she married Michael Baldwin and had Fenmore. In early 2021, the two soaps did a few crossover episodes where more characters traveled back and forth.
Hopefully we’ll get more crossovers in the future and the connection between the soaps will remain intact. Take a look at 16 iconic times when Y&R and B&B exchanged their cast members.