Daytime Confidential's Top 10 Writers/Producers of 2008
No. 3: Maria Arena Bell, Paul Rauch, Hogan Sheffer and Scott Hamner - The Young and the Restless
What do you get when you take a Bell-trained writer/producer (Maria Area Bell), mix her with the man who made a soap so popular it went to a whopping 90 minutes for a time in the 70's (Paul Rauch), mix them with the scribe who brought As The World Turns back from the dead during the first part of the current decade (Hogan Sheffer) and for good measure, throw in a writer who cut his teeth writing for some of the most dazzling primetime pot boilers of the 80's (Scott Hamner)? The Young and the Restless Dream Team that's what.
In 2008, the late Bill Bell's daughter-in-law Maria Arena Bell pulled an Athena Move, by seizing control of the legacy her family's patriarch left behind. Arena Bell effectively rescued Y&R from the clutches of Lynn Marie Latham, whose stint running both the writers' room and the executive offices of Y&R damn near dismantled the soap. Bell was teamed with the iconic Paul Rauch, who was brought in as her co-executive producer. Rauch had famously kept Another World at the top of the Nielsens for most of the 1970's, before going on to helm Texas, One Life to Live, Santa Barbara and Guiding Light. Arena Bell also smartly hired Hogan Sheffer, daytime's answer to Tennessee Williams, whose electrifying storytelling skills made ATWT appointment TV for the first time since the days of the late Douglas Marland. Co-head writer Scott Hamner, son of Earl Hamner Jr., who created The Waltons and Falcon Crest for CBS was already on staff when the other members of the Dream Team were assembled, Like Arena Bell, Hamner had learned from a master storyteller, writing for both of the primetime serials his father created, before going on to pen stories for Knots Landing and Dynasty. Together this Fab Foursome set about writing the wrongs of Latham, starting with the dismal, forgotten "Who Killed Ji-Min Kim?" murder mystery, dispatching of David Chow, reinventing the Abbotts (Welcome home Ash!), refocusing on the vets (namely Jeanne Cooper's Kay), assembling and/or nurturing the most impressive stable of young adult actors in soaps and most miraculously, bringing glamour back to Genoa City. For most of the DC editors, Y&R is the only soap that doesn't log much time in our DVR que. Missing the show for more than a day or two could send you into withdrawals and nobody wants to see Luke with the shakes. It's not pretty stuff.