Why Sony and CBS Have to Either Let Maria Arena Bell Helm Y&R Her Way or Fire Her
Is anyone else experiencing any soapy flashbacks, set to Nadia's Theme of course, to when Maria Arena Bell first managed to wrest control of The Young and the Restless from Lynn Marie Latham and later Josh Griffith? I certainly have been, thanks to all these backstage casting dramas.
Once Ri Ri was the HIIC (Head In-Law in Charge) she quickly undid everything Latham had done on the soap, even killing Victor's (Eric Braeden) dog! We didn't mind it so much, because LML wasn't the greatest of writers for Y&R (although LML never had Daytime Emmy-winner Greg Rikaart dressed as a rodent, had two doppelganger stories going at once, or had to have Jesse, Al and Victoria Rowell force her to write for the black folks), but it was evident to all that MAB was cleaning house. Basically the only major LML addition who survived the soap cleansing was Cane Ashby as played by the popular Daniel Goddard.
While we hear MAB was itching to toss the character of Cane and the actor out on their Aussie bums way back when, the network aka Barbara Bloom said "Not no, but hell no" due to the popularity of Cane's romance with Lily Winters (Christel Khalil). Although Cane and Lily have never been a favorite pairing of this blog's, I did get where the network was coming from. They are very popular. Don't believe me? Try dissing the pairing on Twitter. You'll see the blue whale in five seconds flat from all the incensed retweets. In this day and age it really doesn't make sense to piss off soap fans who are still that diehard, all for the sake of banishing any memory of a prior regime and/or high school-esque backstage b.s.
Now that Babs Bloom has left the building, MAB has once again tried to fire Goddard, only reportedly for the new network rep to make her re-hire him, with the support of Y&R's parent company Sony. While rumors abound that Goddard's scene partners wanted him out, there had to be a way for a showrunner worth his or her salt to mediate? I mean, hello this is the same soap where Eric Braeden allegedly head-butted Peter Bergman on set and those two still manage to share scene after scene decades later. It's called work, not play. Unfortunately for another Bloom casting decision, Maura West (Diane), who is reportedly on her way out, there's no rabid fanbase, or exec fighting for her.
See, now this is why, even though Y&R is so good these days, I am beyond jaded and snarky about the soap's expressed plans to bring on stars from All My Children and One Life to Live. If it's one thing the current regime at Y&R has shown us over and over again, it is they will bring on an insanely popular actor from another soap and because of petty backstage b.s. and/or the fact that this exec liked him or her and wouldn't let MAB cast someone from Baretta instead, she''ll eff over the character—not to mention the actor—out of spite and/or boredom. This does nothing but damage the soap in the short run and help to put a nail in its coffin in the long run. Ask Ellen Wheeler, Chuck Pratt and Chris Goutman. They played the same kinds of reindeer games at their respective sudsers. That reminds me, did anyone DVR Let's Make a Deal today?
Why should I be excited about Genie Francis or Debbi Morgan or anyone else coming to Y&R when I know all it will take for the character to die on the vine is for a network and/or Sony exec to have made the suggestion to hire them against MAB's wishes? Meanwhile, Sony, not MAB, allegedly claims they can't afford to play Y&R's top female superstar of all-time, Melody Thomas Scott. This really doesn't make good horse sense, people.
There are seriously way too many cooks in the Genoa City kitchen and the ones who end up having to eat a big, ol' plate of mess when a character or story is overcooked—or not even allowed to be brought to a boil—are the fans. Wait, I take that back. It's also the talented actors, who, because MAB is forced to write for them and/or gets bored, gives them crappy, plot driven stories which water down their brands and popularity. Hello, Maura West won the freaking Lead Actress Daytime Emmy last year and this is the treatment she gets?!
Sony and CBS needs to either allow MAB to write, produce and cast the show as she wishes, or fire her and bring in someone who will do the show the way they want it done. A fan shouldn't have to make sure which faction is invested in a character or story in order to decide whether or not it's even worth the effort to root. All I'm saying is, I hope before Y&R goes after any more "big gets", they get their ish together and get on the same page about this soap's future.