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The Young and the Restless’ Doug Davidson Recalls Bill Bell’s Genius

The Young and the Restless Doug DavidsonThe Young and the Restless Doug Davidson

Doug Davidson has been playing Paul Williams on The Young and the Restless for over 40 years, so the actor surely has some great stories about the show and its rich legacy. Recently, he was interviewed by actor/producer Dteflon (Rookie Blue) about his years on the CBS soap opera.

Doug Davidson’s Memories Of Yesteryear

Asked what it’s like working on YR during COVID-19, the Daytime Emmy-winner said: “I’m not down there that often, but…you wear a mask in rehearsal. We’ve had cast members come down with it. It’s not something I want to bring home.”

The actor says he was reminded of the differences in storytelling on YR today compared to past eras after seeing a series of classic episodes that aired last year during the pandemic production shutdown.

“We had Victor [Eric Braeden] and Nikki’s [Melody Thomas Scott] wedding,” he says, “but there were six other stories going on, too.” The actor also noted the masquerade ball from 1991 as an example of when multiple stories were taking place at once.

“And Bill [Bell, YR’s creator/head writer/senior executive producer] would never really end [a story] in a [traditional] climax,” he says. “It would blow off into several other stories, so we’d have a peak, but it would split off into different story threads that [Bill] would then grow…the guy was a genius.

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“He was just a fountain of those kinds of emotions,” Davidson recalls. “He’d pick people [to be on the show] that he could actually read the minds of…people who have been there the longest like Melody and Eric and [the late] Jeanne [Cooper, ex-Kay] and me. He knew us inside and out. He knew what strings to pull and it was really an incredible place to work for so many years.”

Davidson suggests that for a show to succeed there needs to be a singular creative vision and little to no corporate interference. “Bill knew what he was doing in his head and that’s where it stayed,” the actor recollects. “I don’t know how you could do a show like [YR] without having it plotted out to some degree.

“Bill was the skipper,” Davidson adds. “In the old days, he’d listen to radio talk shows at 3 in the morning and I’d sometimes run into him [at the studio] really early and he’d have a fistful of notes…it was a 24/7 gig for him.”

Check out the full interview with Davidson in the below post. The Young and the Restless airs weekdays on CBS. Check local listings for airtimes.

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