Created by husband and wife powerhouse, William J. Bell and Lee Phillip Bell, The Young and the Restless took the daytime world by storm when it debuted on March 23, 1973.
The Young and the Restless Top 10
It was the first soap that focused on the younger generation, bringing in a new sex appeal that was capturing viewers’ interests. Here are 10 facts about the long-running CBS soap.
1. The Name Game
The soap’s original title was The Innocent Years, but it was renamed because of the social climate of the early seventies. Young America had lost much of its innocence, so the show was renamed The Young and the Restless.
2. Sex in the Afternoon
Daytime was all about love and romance but rarely explored real sexuality until YR came along. William Gray Espy changed all that via his portrayal of the original “McDreamy,” Dr. Snapper Foster. The character was in love with Chris Brooks (Trish Stewart), a virgin who was saving herself for marriage, so he began having a fiery affair with waitress Sally McGuire (Lee Crawford).
3. Tackling Tragedy
In 1975, Jennifer Brooks (Dorothy Green) was diagnosed with breast cancer and ultimately underwent a double mastectomy. It was the first fully realized breast cancer storyline on daytime and was praised by the American Cancer Society for its authenticity.
4. Getting Real
The soap made history turning actress Jeanne Cooper’s real-life facelift into a plot for Katherine Chancellor in 1984. Cooper allowed her surgery and recovery to be filmed for the show. It was television’s first extreme makeover and made the subject more mainstream.
5. Accidental Star
Eric Braeden, who plays rich ruthless mogul Victor Newman, was never meant to be a long-running character. However, the actor’s powerful performance intrigued Bill Bell, who offered him a contract and elevated him to star status. It might have been the wisest decision he ever made.
6. Finding Sharon
It took three tries before the soap found the perfect actress to play mainstay Sharon Newman. Monica Potter, who originated the role, and Playboy Playmate Heidi Mark were both let go after their performances weren’t clicking with the audience. Finally, Sharon Case was cast in 1994 and stuck. Ironically, she’d been fired from General Hospital, where she’d played Monica’s daughter, Dawn.
7. A New Image
Y&R became the first soap to be broadcast in high-definition in 2001. It took years before the other daytime dramas followed suit.
8. Rock On Danny
Michael Damian was offered the role of rocker Danny Romalotti after the show’s producers saw him on American Bandstand. Although it was supposed to be short-term, it ended up lasting from 1981 to 1998 and became pivotal as the Danny/Christine (Lauralee Bell) love story became one of the show’s most popular.
9. He’s the Man
The show’s longest-running cast member is Doug Davidson. He joined the show as Paul Williams on May 23, 1978, and celebrated 43 years in the role in 2021. He took Paul from a kid prone to trouble to the head of the police force.
10. About The Young and the Restless Theme
YR’s theme music is a re-scored version of Cotton’s Dream, which was originally composed for the 1971 film Bless the Beasts and the Children. It was re-named Nadia’s Theme after it was used for a 1976 Olympics montage featuring gold-medal-winning gymnast Nadia Comaneci.
The Young and the Restless (YR) airs weekdays on CBS. Check your local listings for airtimes. For more about what’s coming up in Genoa City, check out all the latest that’s been posted on Y&R spoilers, and for an in-depth look at the show’s history, click here.