The History of The Bold and the Beautiful
Following the success of The Young and the Restless, William J. Bell and Lee Phillip Bell created another daytime drama for CBS – The Bold and the Beautiful, which debuted on March 23, 1987.
The Bold and the Beautiful — The History
B&B, which took the place of short-lived soap opera Capitol on the CBS daytime lineup, wasn’t just another Bill Bell series. While Bell wrote for Guiding Light, As the World Turns, and Days of our Lives, B&B was going to be a true family affair. Bill, Lee, and their entire family relocated from their home in Chicago to start up the half-hour soap, which was originally titled “Rags,” slang for the garment industry that served as The Bold and the Beautiful’s backdrop.
The husband-and-wife team was the show’s executive producers with Bill serving as head writer. Joining him on the writing staff was his son, Bradley Phillip Bell, who today is the soap’s executive producer and head writer.
The Bold and the Beautiful — The Early Years
In B&B’s first few years, viewers were introduced to the wealthy Forrester clan and the middle-class Logan family. Eric Forrester (John McCook) rekindled his love for Beth Logan (Nancy Burnett). But the couple didn’t stand a chance as viewers seemed to root primarily for Eric’s wife, Stephanie Douglas Forrester (Susan Flannery) to succeed in breaking them up so she could hold onto her family. Stephanie’s victory was bittersweet as Eric agreed to remain with her but their marriage would be in name only.
Stephanie was no fan of Beth’s daughter Brooke Logan (Katherine Kelly Lang), who set her sights on Stephanie’s son Ridge Forrester. A quadrangle emerged with Ridge, Brooke, Ridge’s brother Thorne Forrester, and Caroline Spencer (Joanna Johnson), who wed Thorne after being date-raped.
In early 1989, The Bold and the Beautiful became energized with the introduction of Sally Spectra (Darlene Conley), who made many attempts to insinuate herself into Stephanie’s life, stealing Forrester designs to help put Spectra Fashions on the map.
Daytime Emmy Gold
In the 1990s, there seemed to be one eternal question that drove much of the show’s story –- would Ridge choose Taylor Hayes (Hunter Tylo) or Brooke to be his wife? B&B took the No. 2 position in the ratings when Genoa City’s (and Y&R transplants) Sheila Carter (Kimberlin Brown) and Lauren Fenmore (Tracey Bregman) continued their epic feud in Los Angeles.
As The Bold and the Beautiful was set in the real-life cities of Los Angeles and Beverly Hills, the show organically incorporated celebrities into the show. Steve Allen and Jayne Meadows, Carol Channing, Fabio, Charlton Heston, and others popped up alongside the Forresters and Sally Spectra.
Most soaps had characters singing and singing well, but B&B shined with songbirds Macy Alexander (Bobbie Eakes) and Thorne. The couple serenaded each other with such ballads as When I Fall in Love, What’s Forever For, and Open Arms.
The Bold and the Beautiful finally landed Daytime Emmy gold when Ian Buchanan (James Warwick) took home the award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series in 1997. Susan Flannery took home three Outstanding Leading Actress in a Drama Series in 2000, 2002, and 2003.
The Bold and the Beautiful Educates and Entertains Viewers
B&B ushered in a new generation of younger stars with Adrienne Frantz’s ambitious Amber Moore and Jacob Young as teen heartthrob Rick Forrester. Rick and Amber drove the story for years.
As the years continued to pass, viewers saw other next-generation characters grow into young adulthood. Today, Bill Spencer Jr.’s (Don Diamont) sons Liam Spencer (Scott Clifton) and Wyatt Spencer (Darin Brooks) are among the show’s leading men. Steffy Forrester (Jacqueline MacInnes Wood), Taylor’s daughter, and Hope Logan (Annika Noelle), Brooke’s daughter with her ex-son-in-law Deacon Sharpe (Sean Kanan), drive the action.
The Bold and the Beautiful has tackled social issues over the decades to entertain and educate its viewers. The topics it has shined a light upon include: breast cancer (Beth), childhood sexual abuse (Jake Maclaine, played by Todd McKee), alcoholism (Macy), gender identity (Maya Avant, played by Karla Mosley), HIV/AIDS (Antonio Dominguez, played by Paulo Benedeti), homelessness (Stephanie), childhood abuse (Stephanie and Ann Douglas, played by Betty White), opioid addiction (Steffy), and mental illness (Thomas Forrester, played by Matthew Atkinson).
B&B Awards and Honors
B&B has won the Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series three times (2009, 2010, and 2011). The show has become well-known for its shocking story twists including Brooke having sex by mistake with Oliver Jones (she thought he was Ridge!), Nicole Avant (Reign Edwards) saying Maya wasn’t her sister but rather her brother Myron, and Sheila popping up alive after being believed shot and killed over on The Young and the Restless.
The show’s international appeal is unparalleled. In 2010, the show was named “Most Popular Daytime TV Soap – Current” by The Guinness World Records. The show has been shot on location in Barbados, Italy, and Australia.
In March 2020, The Bold and the Beautiful achieved a major milestone earning the top spot in the weekly Nielsen ratings. The previous year, the show had taken the top spot in the Women 18-49 category. The compelling “Baby Beth is really alive” story helped propel B&B to the top spot in the coveted demographic.
The Bold and the Beautiful is the most successful daytime show to have debuted since its sister soap Y&R. The show began in 1987 telling the stories of three families – the Forresters, the Logans, and the Spencers. Today, those three clans remain on the show’s canvas.
The Bold and the Beautiful (BB) airs weekdays on CBS. Check your local listings for airtimes. For more about what’s coming up in Los Angeles, check out all the latest that’s been posted on B&B spoilers.