This was daytime drama at its best.
Since The Young and the Restless has been number one for 29 years, it’s also TV history.
The soap’s mainstays celebrated 10,000 episodes (to air at the end of September). “Primetime does an hour show in 8 to 10 days,” said Eric Braden. “We do 80 pages a day.”
On this evening, the celebrated actors let loose with humor. Moderator New York Times columnist Brook Barnes set the playful tone. “I could approach this as a serious New York Times reporter and ask about ratings, etc. Or I could be a Y&R geek, a fan who started watching with his mother.”
Josh Morrow said, “I wish we could shoot the rehearsals every day. There is so much joking going on. I would love the viewers to see what our personalities are really like.”
Melody chimed in, “You mean a reality show?” That wasn’t his initial thought.
Jeanne Cooper, the grand dame of daytime television, was at her finest. Currently on the New York Times Best Seller List (Not Young, Still Restless), she recalled working with Eric Braden in the early days. “’Yeah,’ he said. ‘You groped me right in the cojones!’”
It was mentioned that the show sends the young children upstairs and they return as teens. Said Jeanne, “Don’t send me upstairs. I don’t want to get any older!”
Said Melody, “You have to be a little crazy to do this type of work. We handle a lot of dialogue but have fun while doing it.”
Kristoff said he’d like to partner in business with Doug Davidson’s character because he doesn’t have a clue. “And I’d like to sleep with Phyllis [played by Michelle]!” She responded, “Phyllis loves sex. She is very good in bed. Better than I am!”
Fans flew in from Houston, New York, and Toronto.
During the Q&A, Roberta Leighton (who left the show in 1998) asked Melody if she missed her sister. You guessed it: They were TV siblings.
Clips were shown from the premiere episode (March 1973), as well as a montage through the years.
Christian Le Blanc pinpointed that his favorite moments were when he walked in and said, “Hello brother” to castmate Greg Rikkart. (The characters were estranged since childhood.) “I also loved marrying Lauren [Tracey E. Bregman].
On a melancholy note, Peter Bergman said Eileen Davidson became his sister (off camera) and will always be his sister. “This is a family.” (She recently left her role as Ashley after many years and is currently appearing on Days of Our Lives.)
Maria Bell was sad to go. “I got killed off! My father-in-law, Bill Bell, gave me a break to work on the show.” The wordsmith has written thousands of shows. “And yes, I wrote the 10,000th.” Her husband is Bill Bell Jr. of the famed Bell family who originated Y&R and B&B. Lee Philip Bell, widow of Bill Bell Sr., was in the audience of the Paley Center for Television with her family, including Lauralee Bell, now a recurring actress on the show.
Sue Facter owns a news agency that specializes in the luxury brand. Her work appears in USA Today, Los Angeles Times, and Greer’s OC as well as on broadcasts and the web.