Look who’s already getting a mother! Just last week we brought you the news that CBS’s The Bold and the Beautiful had hired Emmy winner Darin Brooks (Days of Our Lives) for the new role of heartthrob Wyatt Fuller. Now TV Guide Magazine can exclusively report that another Emmy winner, former General Hospital star Rena Sofer, has been signed to play Wyatt’s mother, Quinn Fuller.
Not a lot of deets yet, except that Mama is as mysterious as Sonny Boy and both have secrets that will rock the soap. Sofer first gained suds fame on Another World and Loving, then went on to win her Emmy as Lois Cerullo on GH. She’s had recurring roles on 24, Covert Affairs, NCIS, Two and a Half Men and Heroes. The actress starts work at B&B May 22 and will hit the air July 12.
Ashley Jones is on the verge of making a bold return.
After finishing a seven-years-plus run as Bridget Forrester on the CBS daytime drama “The Bold and the Beautiful” early in 2012, the actress goes back to the serial this week to begin taping a new stint as the character. Last seen ending her relationship with the married father of her son, Bridget will reappear on the scene in just the way Jones wants.
“I’m only going in for three or four episodes as of right now,” she tells Zap2it, “but there’s some fun stuff with Bridget’s mom (Brooke, played by founding ‘B&B’ cast member Katherine Kelly Lang). I specifically didn’t want to go back for a wedding or a funeral. I feel like this is too cool a character to come back and just sit in the background. That’s not that fun.”
Should “B&B” want her to stay longer, Jones says she’s willing to listen: “I feel like so many things have changed in my journey and career. I know a lot of people have a plan for what’s going to happen, and the reality is that things change every year. And the business has completely changed since I started.
“Someone can do three episodes of ‘The Bold and the Beautiful,’ then turn around and book a primetime show. That’s happening all the time. I did tons of other stuff while I was on [the soap], so I’m so grateful to the show, and they’ve been so good to me. This is a fun character the audience really responds to, so I’m open to whatever they might have in mind for her.”
Jones also is known from Season 2 of HBO’s “True Blood,” on which she played Daphne Landry, and several movies she’s made for Lifetime. As was the case with “Dead at 17” and “Secrets From Her Past,” she’s both a star and producer of a new one: “A Sister’s Revenge,” casting her as a targeted new mother and premiering Saturday, April 27.
Whatever her re-entry into the soap world holds for her, Jones says she’s encouraged — as someone who also appeared earlier on CBS’ “The Young and the Restless,” and who makes television on both sides of the camera now — to see many peers coming back in the Online Network revivals of the former ABC shows “All My Children” and “One Life to Live” starting Monday, April 29.
“I think that’s the way everything will go, eventually,” she reasons. “When I have my producer’s hat on, I feel that if I could have a Web series, it would be a very smart move in setting up projects for the future. I’m interested to see what it does for the actors, but I don’t think it will hurt them at all. Who knows? It might even end up being a bigger audience.”
CBS has renewed its entire daytime slate for the 2013-2014 season.
That meansThe Bold and the Beautiful will continue like its sister soap The Young and the Restless, which was renewed earlier in a multi-year deal.
B&B averages 3.44 million viewers, up 6 percent from last season.
In addition, chatfest The Talk and game shows The Price Is Rightand Let’s Make a Deal – all of which have seen ratings gains in the past year — received pickups for another season.
“Over the past few years, we have successfully transitioned our daytime schedule to a balance of program genres with new creative energy, while maintaining our ratings leadership,” CBS Entertainment president Nina Tassler said in a statement. “We are proud of CBS’s history of quality and leadership in daytime, thrilled with our current success and we look forward to more great things ahead from the outstanding creative talent in place at each of the shows.”
Katherine Kelly Lang (Brooke, B&B) has filed for divorce from her husband Alex D’Andrea, to whom she has been married since 1997. According to TMZ, the actress has cited irreconcilable differences with D’Andrea and is reportedly seeking sole custody of their 15-year-old daughter, Zoe. Lang, an avid tweeter, has not yet spoken out to her fans about the split.
We can’t say she didn’t warn us. After 25 years, three Emmys, and several hints that she’s contemplating retirement, Susan Flannery has chosen to exit her role as Stephanie Forrester, the grand matriarch of CBS’s The Bold and the Beautiful. That has exec producer-head writer Bradley Bell planning a landmark sendoff, one sure to go down in the TV record books. In the episode set to air Friday, Oct. 12, Stephanie learns that her lung cancer, which had gone into remission, is back and now beyond treatment. Come December, the beloved character will die. TV Guide Magazine spoke exclusively with Bell about his plans for this startling and profound story.
TV Guide Magazine: This is huge.
Bell: It is huge. And amazing. I knew this day was coming but I’ve been in denial about it. I’ve been loving and treasuring every one of these last few days we have with Susan. Well, almost every day. [Laughs] You know Susan.
TV Guide Magazine: Was it always the plan to use Stephanie’s lung cancer as a way to write Susan off the show?
Bell: Susan has been talking about leaving us for a while now, but I knew that I could go into the cancer plot and come out of it two ways. Stephanie could survive it, or we could take the story to an unfortunate end. We will try to do justice to the disease itself, playing it honestly and accurately, but the primary goal is to honor both Susan and Stephanie and to give anyone who watches something beautiful to keep with them for a long time to come.
TV Guide Magazine: So Stephanie is told there’s no hope whatsoever?
Bell: She receives the diagnosis that the cancer has spread and that there is no chance for survival. Stephanie has always been a woman of great strength and character and she’s determined to deal with this in her own way. She doesn’t want tears and long faces — she wants a celebration of her life, a blowout to end all blowouts. She’ll definitely be in touch with her mortality, living each day as if it’s her last, and she’s determined to make the most of every moment. After the diagnosis there is some initial shock, but she is quick to create a purpose — the party — and that becomes her obsession. She wants everyone to remember her in peak form. And that’s the way Susan feels, too. She wants to go out on top.
TV Guide Magazine: Sounds a bit like the bucket-list party Stephanie threw after her diagnosis.
Bell: Yes, only much bigger! She’ll be inviting a lot of people to the party but certain people will receive hand-written invitations that will be delivered personally by Stephanie. This is going to play out on air starting Oct. 18 for eight [consecutive] episodes. Each day Stephanie goes to one of the key people in her life — her sister Pam, her son Thorne, her best friend Taylor, her namesake Steffy — and tells them her time is up and that she’s throwing herself a party. Donna will also have a day, as will Brooke, of course. Stephanie and Brooke are the true supercouple of B&B. Each day will be a video tribute to one of Stephanie’s great relationships, with lots of flashbacks featuring the “best of” moments. We’ve even worked out a way to have Stephanie visit with her old pal Sally Spectra [played by the late Darlene Conley], with Fabio as a special guest since he was a part of their story.
TV Guide Magazine: And Eric’s in the loop from the get-go?
Bell: Yes. In a way he’s the ringleader and will be planning more than a few surprises for the big event. This party is going to be Beverly Hills all the way with big-name performers. We’re blowing the budget on this one. It’ll air mid-November over the course of three episodes. It’ll be a real humdinger.
TV Guide Magazine: What about Ridge? How can he not be there to say goodbye his mother?|
Bell: There’s a big question as to whether or not Ridge will show up for the party. He may make a surprise appearance…you never know!
TV Guide Magazine: Might he show up looking just like Ronn Moss?
Bell: [Laughs] You just never know! It’s a possibility. Stephanie’s daughters Kristen and Felicia will also be there. We’re firing up the Forrester living room set for the last time. Emotion will be filling that room.
TV Guide Magazine: And, after that, how much longer until Stephanie dies?
Bell: It will be pretty quickly after that, within a matter of weeks. It’ll happen in December.
TV Guide Magazine: Which, as I recall, was the same time of year you had Stephanie’s mother Ann [Betty White] die.
Bell: Yes it is.We’ll also be seeing Ann in flashback during Stephanie’s day with Pam, who is of course going to fall apart. This is an opportunity to show a lot of different responses to impending death.
TV Guide Magazine: What about Stephanie’s response? Is this a mask? Does she have private moments of fear?
Bell: Oh, definitely. She’s scared. We’d be missing that beat if we didn’t play it. Even though she has platinum armor, she’s very human and the fear of death is strong within her.
TV Guide Magazine: Is there a spiritual aspect to this? I don’t recall Stephanie ever being all that into God.
Bell: She is not.She relies on her friends and family for that. She has always drawn her strength from them and that will continue to be the case until the bitter end. She will look to Eric and to her children and to Brooke in many ways. At the end, Stephanie and Brooke will have some of their finest scenes ever.
TV Guide Magazine: So far, Susan has chosen not to give interviews about her departure. How is she handling this?
Bell: Susan will not allow herself to get sad about this, to be traipsing around the set in tears. Like Stephanie, she is not that kind of woman.
TV Guide Magazine: As dreadful as it is to see Susan go, do you see it as a privilege to write her out your way?
Bell: Absolutely. In a way I feel we’re doing this for the entire soap-opera community. We all know each other and we deeply respect the great actors who play our matriarchs and patriarchs — the ones who made this business — and it’s been sad to see so many of them drop away without getting a proper homage. This is a wonderful opportunity that’s bigger than B&B, a very special and universal thing. I’m so happy to be able to do it this way. And I’m only able to do it because Susan came to me and said, “I’m ready to leave the show, but I will give you the time you need to write out the character.” She also said, “I don’t want to know what you’re going to do. I just want you to do it your way, and I will play it.” So I’m writing it and I can’t wait to see what she does with the material.
TV Guide Magazine: She literally has no idea how you’re going to handle the final days?
Bell: [Laughs] Not at all! But that’s Susan. She’s always been this way. I really, really offered to keep in her in the loop but she always insists on a separation between her performing from my writing. I tried to start the conversation. “What do you think would be the best way…” and she put up her hand and said, “Write it! I’ll play it! I don’t want to know anything!” So, no, she still has no idea where I’m taking this. She reads the scripts right before each episode. It’s been that way for 25 years. Her attitude is, “We don’t know what’s next in life, why should we know what’s next on B&B?”
TV Guide Magazine: As the end approaches, it will be hard on everyone — for you all at the show and for us watching at home. How do you make sure this is something people want to watch? How do you keep it from being one great big bummer?
Bell: By keeping the whole thing in the true spirit of Stephanie and Susan. We take our cue from them. To see how these two great ladies handle this will be very inspiring. Of course, there will be sadness. There will also be a lot of smiling through tears, a feeling so hard to capture but so terrific when you do. But mostly this will be uplifting, with a lot of love and laughs. We are going to pay proper tribute to our dear friend Susan — a brilliant actress and a daytime legend
Agnes Bruckner, who daytime fans know as B&B’s Bridget from 1997-99, has been tapped to portray Anna Nicole Smith in the upcoming TV movie biopic THE ANNA NICOLE STORY. “So excited to be a part of this! Cannot wait to start filming!” the actress Tweeted. Bruckner’s other soapy prime-time roles have included a 2009 stint on PRIVATE PRACTICE as Heather and DIRTY SEXY MONEY’s Daphne.
When suds superstar Ronn Moss abruptly quit his role as Ridge on The Bold and the Beautiful last month, the show’s exec producer Bradley Bell admits he was taken aback. But he wasted no time regrouping. Not only will Bell recast Moss’s role and already has several high-profile actors in mind, he also plans to move Ridge’s heartthrobby half-brother Rick (Emmy winner Jacob Young) into full Ridge mode.
“Rick is a young man sick of sitting on the sidelines and will finally come into his own,” says Bell. “He’ll become a passionate, sexy, driving force of the show, making a strategic play for Caroline [Linsey Godfrey] and going after Ridge’s position as head of Forrester Creations.”
Is this Bell’s quiet revenge against Moss? If so, he denies it. “This was always my plan for Rick,” Bell says. “It just works so much better now, what with Ridge going off on an extended honeymoon doing God knows what. It gives Rick a legitimate reason to take control.”
Also this fall, look for yet another Emmy-bait plot for the fantastic Heather Tom. Her character, Katie, will discover how evil her hubby Bill (Don Diamont) truly is just as she’s about to give birth to his son. “Katie’s going to have big issues with the guy she’s married to and will wonder whether or not she can share a child with him,” Bell says. “She’s going to have to really draw the line.” Adds the boss man: “Heather may have four Emmys already but this story is really going to test her.”
What about those lesbians? Bell made big news last spring with his same-sex story involving Karen and Dani, played by Joanna Johnson and Crystal Chappell, but after an intriguing start the characters went straight to the back burner. Blame it on Johnson, who grabbed a producing gig at the new CW series Emily Owens, M.D., and hasn’t been available to the soap.
“Joanna will definitely be back, if only for a day or two here and there,” says Bell. “And once her [Emily Owens] schedule backs off a bit I want her back for something meaty. We may not see Karen for the time being but we’ll play her as if she’s still around and that she and Dani are still a happy couple. [Laughs] I’m not going to have Dani go off and seduce one of our guys.”
Bell surprised many when the assumed villain in the lesbian story —Karen’s brother Bill — turned out to be okay with her sexuality. Karen stayed in the closet for much of her life fearing what her badass bro would think. How come he turned out to be such a pussycat?
“I originally had it written that Bill would be a real a–hole homophobe and was having a lot of fun with all the bad things he could do,” says Bell. “Then I realized it made him seem really stupid and sheltered. I like that Bill was cool about Karen’s secret, since he’s so horrible about so much else. I liked having him come through at the end.”
Was Bell worried he’d get flack from gay advocacy groups? “Not really,” he says. “I think they would have stuck it out with me. There’s value in having a homophobic character on the canvas to help show the reality of what gay people deal with. We can bring on other homophobes. I just didn’t want it to be Bill.”