SOAP OPERA HISTORY: Bill Bell & Claire Labine on Writing Daytime Serials (1997)

William J. Bell and Claire Labine
In the December 1997 issue of On Writing, legendary daytime soap opera writers William J. "Bill" Bell and Claire Labine went in-depth on the process of telling stories for daytime television. Check out what they had to say below in a very fascinating and informative interview.

ON WRITING: Can you, Claire and Bill, talk through the steps involved from idea to finished show?
BELL: First of all, you have to structure your show. You have to decide what you're going to put in the show, and what characters you're going to use—
LABINE: Over the long term.
BELL: See, I've never worked with the long term. I haven't for 12 years. The network, God bless them, doesn't know what I'm doing until they get the finished script.
LABINE: Good for you.

ON WRITING: How far ahead do your stories get planned?
BELL: I make them up as I go along.
LABINE: This is the sound of two hands clapping.
BELL: It's not as though I don't know what I'm going to do tomorrow. But with some characters I don't know, and I find story as I go along.
LABINE: Bill doesn't do it the way it's usually done. In the traditional way—not in the traditional way at all—in the contemporary way, writers submit long story documents to the network that are purportedly the story for a year on a show. From those long story documents, outline writers structure weekly outlines, sometimes with a hell of a lot of help from the executive producer, the producers, and the network executives: an outline a day for each show. These outlines are overseen by the senior writing team and by the head writer, and then distributed to script writers, who write the dialogue. Then there is another person called an editor who edits the scripts for continuity and tone.
BELL: I've never had an editor.
LABINE: No, I haven't either. And I never will.

ON WRITING: How do you each work?
LABINE: Well, now Bill's going to tell you what he does.
BELL: Three days a week, I'll have long conference calls with my co-head writer, Kay Alden, who is in Chicago, Trent Jones, who is in upper New York, and Jerry Birn, who joins me in my office at TV City. Together we'll shape six shows, scene by scene. I believe in very detailed outlines, ours run 20 to 25 pages—with significant dialogue. Obviously, that doesn't mean the actual script writing process is merely a mechanical one. Although it's very well structured, it still requires the talents of excellent dialogue writers. Then Kay will get the scripts back at her place and will edit as I'm involved with other facets of the show.
LABINE: Kay is really a shared consciousness for you, right? You obviously trust her to edit the scripts in a way that will reflect exactly what you wanted in them.
BELL: Absolutely. But we've been working—
LABINE: You've been working together for so long.
BELL: Twenty-four years. Kay knows exactly what we need. I don't see the script again until it's being taped. But I need this kind of creative freedom. I couldn't work any other way. Let's not forget, though, that I've been doing daytime continuously for over 40 years; two shows daily for over 16 of those years.
LABINE: Let me interject something here. I've got to put this in context. In my opinion, there is a real reason why The Young and the Restless has been at the top of the heap so consistently year after year, rating book after rating book. And that's because it's in the hands of a master who is a storyteller to start with and who knows the craft inside and out. So given that, I've always profoundly felt that the best way to be trained in this craft, in this form, is to start by writing scripts. You assume a certain degree of facility with dialogue and a certain dramatic sense on the part of a writer who wants to get into this business. You've got to have an ear for dialogue, you've got to understand what conflict is, and you have to have a feel for basic dramatic structure within a scene that has already been structured for you. But the way you learn the pace and the flow of it is as a script writer. And I think one of the things that they're doing is taking people without dramatic training and suddenly trying to make them outline writers. And that's the next step, you know?
BELL: Sure. Absolutely.

ON WRITING: I should also say here that The Young and the Restless has been the number one show for how long?
LABINE: Forever.
BELL: In our tenth year.
LABINE: This is an unparalleled situation in the history of this form. Nobody's ever done that.
BELL: You have to demand an awful lot of yourself. Because when you do that, then at least you're in a position to defend what you've done if that becomes a factor.
LABINE: Oh, that's so right.
BELL: It's the most exciting thing in the world, though, to write, create something and see it come to life every day. That is one of the most euphoric things that can happen to a writer.
LABINE: It sure is. It's the immediate feedback. And then there's the joy of writing for the resident company of actors whom you get to know so well, and whose talent you get to know so well, and who are really the ultimate collaborators in shaping the character and the way the story goes. How many times have you looked at an actor and realized, “Oh, that's where the story's going. That's what it's going to be about.” Back just for a minute to the subject of long story documents. I have written them; I do write them. And I write them saying, “Guys, I'm giving you this because I know you need it to feel secure. Don't count on anything.” Because if the thing's any good, the only part of it that's going to play the way it's written is probably the first five pages. After that it's going to have a life of its own if it's a decent story. I don't know how it's going to come out. I mean, I know how it says it's going to come out, but I can guarantee that's not how it's going to come out—if it's working.
BELL: That's very true.
LABINE: Paul [Avila Mayer] and I essentially wrote Ryan's Hope after the first six weeks of the show. We had a year's story predicated on the fact that Frank Ryan died. ABC threw out the original projected story because they wanted Frank Ryan to live. So consequently, we really were without story practically from the beginning of Ryan's Hope, and it was wonderful, because the characters told the story.
BELL: Claire, what if you had said no to them?
LABINE: Actually, Bill, I'll tell you, we had fallen in love with the character, too. It was nothing that was imposed upon us.
BELL: It wasn't a power play or anything.
LABINE: It was a power play on their part, but the fact of the matter was, they were right. Part of the reason they fell in love with him was because we fell in love with him. We were writing all
these flashbacks—they were backstory incidents that explained why the family was so upset and what their hopes had been for this person who was lying in a coma in the hospital. And by the time we had done three or four weeks of that, we thought, “Oh my God, he's too wonderful to kill.” That was the point at which they said to us, “You can't kill him, the audience loves him.”
BELL: Sure.
LABINE: If it had been the wrong move, and if it had been just a power play, we probably would have been off the air in 13 weeks.
BELL: Or they would have given in to you.
LABINE: Or they would have given in to us. We had a very troubled relationship with the network after we sold the show to them. We were hired and fired and quit and returned four times in something like 18 months. At the very end they said, “Would you come back?” I thought there was not too much chance to save it, and everybody told me not to do it. But if it was going off the air, I wanted it to go off the air looking like itself.
BELL: Good for you.
LABINE: And we actually had a wonderful time in the last 18 months of it. We really had fun.

ON WRITING: What kind of things do you go for when you're writing for daytime?
BELL: I want to have impact on the audience. I'd also like to have balance, conflict, and romance. I'd like to have—
LABINE: A few laughs.
BELL: But the key word is impact. I want to make sure that they feel that they have spent that hour very well.
LABINE: That there has been a big emotional reward for watching.

ON WRITING: What are the differences between daytime writing versus primetime television or film?
LABINE: The difference between daytime, primetime episodic, and film is simply that we have the luxury of time to play those scenes that I think are ultimately the most valuable: the emotional scenes involving relationships that really let the audience identify with these people. What you are dealing with is fundamental human emotion. And if you have a scene that is not about emotion but only about business or plot, you're in trouble. You need a few of them. But by God, the real scenes are the scenes between two characters in which something real and emotional is at stake for them.

ON WRITING: Does every scene have to have that kind of emotion?
LABINE: It helps. That's what we try for.
BELL: Well, you have different kinds of scenes. Not every scene will have that. But certainly you want something important enough to create some conflict within the framework of each show. You want a diversity of scenes.

ON WRITING: Are there writer-producer hyphenates in daytime?
BELL: I am.
LABINE: Agnes [Nixon] is, in essence.

ON WRITING: So on most shows, it's the producers who cast?
BELL: Yes.
LABINE: In the old days, no. Irna Phillips, for whom Bill started—no one would have dared question Irna about casting. No one would dare question Bill about casting. No one messed with Paul and me about casting on Ryan's Hope.

ON WRITING: What was your experience on General Hospital?
LABINE: Actually, we were consulted. Wendy Riche, the executive producer on General Hospital, was absolutely marvelous to us in terms of—that's not the royal “we”, I was working with Matt Labine and Eleanor Mancusi. And Wendy was terrific. I mean, she certainly initiated all of it but we were consulted before, after, and during. But I was working for her. She was the executive producer.

ON WRITING: So, if it's not a Bill Bell show, if it's not a Claire Labine show, then the writers work for the executive producer?
LABINE: You bet.

ON WRITING: But, Bill, you don't work that way.
BELL: No, I've never worked that way. Even going back to when I worked with Irna there were no producers who controlled the show. It's the writers' medium. Without the words, without the script, you don't have anything. There's just no getting around it. You can have the best producer in the world, but unless you've got the scripts and characters, you're not going to make it.
LABINE: When it's working right, when it's functioning so that you're not getting messed with, this is for a writer.
BELL: I've been executive producer, I guess, for about 12 or 14 years. But I consider my most important job to be head writer.
LABINE: And you are executive producer in the sense of implementing your writing, right?
BELL: Well, of having control.
LABINE: Exactly.
BELL: And making sure every creative facet is fulfilled. But in all those years I haven't had any network interference. Interference is probably not a good word.
LABINE: Yes, it is. It's a perfect word. And if we don't make any other point in this interview, this is what has to be underscored. This is what it is about. Bill's show is written in the sense of written, not manufactured. And everybody's running around saying, “Oh, disaster, we're losing the audience. What's happened to the form?” They say the shows aren't as good as they used to be. Damn right. Because what we have are these made-up, pasted-up situations where everybody's scrambling. Now, to be the devil's advocate for the networks, there is so much more money involved than there ever was when we were first in the business. I think it's very hard for them now to take a deep breath and make an act of faith about young people coming up. They're betting literally millions of dollars on the hope that this person will be able to deliver. They're all very insecure and their jobs are riding on it. So, you can see why there's a degree of nervousness when you're dealing with somebody who isn't Bill Bell.

ON WRITING: Have soaps changed over the years?
BELL: Well, first of all, they're hours now, which is something I resisted.
LABINE: Me too, Bill.
BELL: When I was doing Days of Our Lives and they said we were going to go an hour, everyone was excited. I was the one that stopped it. I said: You go an hour, you're going without me.

BELL: Because I thought the half-hour was such a perfect form.
LABINE: Me too.
BELL: They had to wait until I left the show before they went to the hour, because I absolutely wouldn't do it. Then we put The Young and the Restless on the air, but after about eight years, CBS wanted to go an hour—I got a lot of pressure, and I resisted. The stories I could tell you about that.
LABINE: I remember.
BELL: But in any event, finally I said, “Look, if you want to announce it, you do that. But just know that I may not be ready and I may not go along with this when the time comes.” The next day, Lee [Phillip Bell] and I got home from Lake Geneva and there was a case of ‘64 Dom Perignon and a massive floral arrangement. Finally, in November, I said, “Look, guys, I'm just not going to do it.” At that point they said all the affiliates were excited that their number one show was going to go an hour.
They said, “Bill, we are committed to the affiliates. The ship is going to sail in eight weeks, with or without you.” I'll never forget that line. When I told Kay [Alden], she cried for two days.
LABINE: I bet she did.
BELL: She was just sick about it. And I wasn't exactly thrilled. But we did it. We were the first place show when we went an hour. You want to know what happened? It took us four years to
regain that position. Four years.

ON WRITING: What changed?
BELL: The change was that we didn't know how to do the hour.
LABINE: It's a different structure.
BELL: I must say though, compounding the problem, once we went to the hour we had four leading men who exercised their out—because it was written into their contract. I lost [John] McCook, I lost [David] Hasselhoff, and a few others who escape me at this moment. That certainly factored into my concern.
LABINE: Of course it did.
BELL: Want to know something? I didn't have a man left that had any balls. Then we cast someone—it was only supposed to be a two-month story, and the guy was going to be killed. He came on the air, and, holy Christ—I was in Chicago so I wasn't a part of the casting. I called and said, “Who the hell is this guy? He's terrific.” It was Eric Braeden. That was the turning point, because I had someone to build around. He was a terrific actor and a terrific character. And he really grew into the role.
LABINE: This is another good example of what we were talking about earlier, in terms of responding to what you see, and the story goes from there.
BELL: Absolutely. And that works both ways. Sometimes you find someone you have every hope in and you plan for, and it just doesn't connect.
LABINE: That's right. We've all had that happen. The difference in structure between a half-hour and an hour in my experience is primarily that if you try to tell more than about two-and-a-half stories in a half-hour, you get into trouble because it gets fragmented. Do you agree with that, Bill?
BELL: Absolutely.
LABINE: The trick is giving viewers some manifestation of the same story every day, so that they are not disappointed. You make them wait, perhaps, for big developments in the story. But you keep the story alive and in their consciousness. If you do too much in a half-hour and start writing too many parts—I think the worst thing that ever happened to the serial form was the Gloria Monty film approach.

ON WRITING: What is that?
LABINE: Well, when Gloria Monty came on General Hospital in the early ‘80s, she essentially took what everybody had been doing, which were longer scenes, and broke them up into a much more cinematic form.
BELL: She did a lot more remote stuff too. And she had two exceptional characters, Luke and Laura.
LABINE: Yes, she did. Absolutely. Extraordinary performers with a lot of charisma.
BELL: I don't want to take anything away from her, because she did just exquisite work.
LABINE: She did great work, but I don't think it helped the form. When she was doing it, it was one thing. But when everybody else started doing it, it became—
BELL: When everyone copied it.
LABINE: When everyone copied it, it became so goddamned destructive. I think serial is a lot closer to theater than it is to film. You start a scene, you build a scene, you pay off the scene.  And within the framework of a halfhour, if you're telling two stories, the structure I used to love was one story in the first act, the third act, and the fifth act. And a little hook at the end of the first act to take you into the second act, which was a different story. But you'd blend them at the end of the first act and get into the second, then blend back into the third, then blend into the fourth—which was the second story again. In other words, it was A-B-A-B-A in a five-act structure.
BELL: That was the half-hour?
LABINE: Yeah. That was what we used to do. And sometimes, if we were telling three stories in a day, we'd do A-B-C in the third act, but usually in a structure in which we could blend one and two into this third act. It was either in Ryan's bar or some communal meeting place, and then do A-B-C, and then A-B in the fourth and fifth acts. I can draw that for you if it's not making

ON WRITING: So how many acts?
LABINE: We used to use five. And I think you use a four-act structure in The Bold and the Beautiful, right?
BELL: No, five-act.
LABINE: I like the five myself.
BELL: I do, too.

ON WRITING: How many are in an hour?
BELL: No, we do eight acts in an hour.
LABINE: You do eight?
BELL: And then we cut them in half. In terms of the number of units, we'll almost invariably have in the 20s. About 25 units on Y&R these days. When you get up in the upper 20s, sometimes it gets to be a little too much. But you may do it for pacing or for whatever.

ON WRITING: What's a unit?
LABINE: A segment. A story segment within the structure of the show.
BELL: Some are very short.

ON WRITING: So within the hour there are 25 different scenes?
BELL: Right.
LABINE: I never wanted to write an hour. General Hospital was the only hour I've ever written. One of the reasons I did that was to find out if I could do it, and I had a ball learning what worked and what didn't. We did it with fewer scenes than most people do. We used to do 16 to 18 units on General Hospital. Sometimes 18 to 20. But 18 was about where we would keep it. So there are different ways of going at it. And it just depends, again, on the kind of story you're telling—what Bill was saying earlier, the kind of story, the kind of scenes you're writing that day.
BELL: On Y&R I like to have about four different scenes as part of the prologue, and obviously we choose characters we know are going to interest the audience and provide impact. In other words, we put our best foot forward.
LABINE: And promise them, stick with this hour and these are the people that you're going to see during the course of the day.

ON WRITING: Do you do every story every day?
BELL: Oh, no. We tell so many stories. We've got about 28 people under contract, plus about seven or eight other people who are non-contract.
LABINE: You tell four or five stories, don't you?
BELL: Yeah.

LABINE: No. Simultaneously. What do you do, about three a day, Bill?
BELL: Gosh, I never look at it that way.
LABINE: No, I don't either. So it's hard to say.
BELL: Yeah, some are sort of satellite stories that will touch around the edges of other stories, but nonetheless have a life of their own as they move on.
LABINE: When it's working well, you will have a group of characters in a scene. And what you're really seeing are a couple of stories at once even though the scene is about one thing. It's called crossover, and it's keeping the threads of the other stories connected to your central—that's why families are so helpful in this form. Because you have two members of a family, you have say a son and a daughter, each involved in a story. But you can tell those stories simultaneously through
the parents. Or through one sibling's interaction with the other. It's very hard to talk about this, it's easier to do it.
BELL: Absolutely.

ON WRITING: With the Luke and Laura thing on General Hospital, was there a problem that nobody was related anymore?
BELL: But there were people related on General Hospital. Didn't they have the Quartermaines?
LABINE: We kind of got the Quartermaines back to being a core family. But our struggle going in with General Hospital was there were all of these beloved characters left over from various stories. Nobody was related to anybody except the beloved, awful Quartermaines. We played out a couple of interesting medical stories within the context of the hospital. But it sure does help if you've got the leading family in Genoa City to be the center of things.

ON WRITING: Have the stories changed over the years? Is it still fundamentally about romance and love?
BELL: Even romance and love have changed over the years, so the stories have changed. The pace of the show has changed, the whole demeanor, the whole outlook. We couldn't do today what we did many years ago. No one would watch us. It was a slower paced show, it was more within the home. It was effective for that time, but today so many things are different—most notably the pace, and the sensuality and sexuality you can bring to story without being flagrant. There's just a whole different approach and depth that we can bring to it that we didn't bring back then.
LABINE: Production values, too.
BELL: Plus the physical element. We have far more, and better, sets. We are able to do remotes. We can bring so much more dimension to it.

ON WRITING: Is subtext important in the writing? Or does the dialogue have to be very clear?
BELL: Oh, no, you want to write between the lines. If you're going to blueprint everything the show is really going to sound like—I don't know what analogy to use, but you don't want to blueprint every aspect of every relationship or of every scene. Because you want the audience to think. That's what draws them back day after day.
BELL: Wondering, how is it going to go from here, what did she mean by that, or whatever.
LABINE: It's not dead on, and it shouldn't be dead on, ever.
BELL: We're trying to do things that interest people, that people can relate to and become involved with. It's not very complex. Essentially we're doing basics.
LABINE: It's pity and terror. It's passion. It's all of the things that the Greeks were concerned about, we're concerned about, too. It's fathers and mothers and sons and daughters and frustrated love and a window into the human condition. And when we are true, when we're taking a good look at
it, what you've got is a lot of the things that every human being cares about. That's what you go for.
BELL: And there's escapism, too.

ON WRITING: What do you mean?
LABINE: Well, just a fantasy life. I love things coming out the way you wish they would in real life. I love making characters suffer and strive and work for what they get, but I love them to get it in the end.

ON WRITING: But do they?
LABINE: Usually on something I'm involved with they do.

ON WRITING: Bill, do your characters get what they want?
BELL: Not always. Because that's the way life is. And not only that, but if they—
LABINE: If they get what they want then, of course, you have to start over again and take it away from them.
BELL: I was just coming to that. They're at a plateau and you can't then quickly superimpose other trauma because you'll be overdoing it; that would be overkill. So you're going to have to keep them on sort of a back burner awhile.
LABINE: Right. The actors so hate it when that happens. When they get in one of those valleys between stories where they're waiting for the next tragedy to occur.

ON WRITING: And things are just going well for them?
LABINE: Things are going well for them.
ON WRITING: And that makes them miserable?
LABINE: The desperate curse on television is to finally get happily married. Oh, my God, something's got to happen fast.
BELL: For a writer—and I'm sure you feel this, too, Claire—I can never forget on Y&R when we married Chris and Snapper about ten months after we went on the air. Everything built so beautifully to that, and then suddenly there's that big let down.
LABINE: Oh, yes. Now what?
BELL: The audience is euphoric because they wanted this marriage. Then you say, “Jesus, what am I going to do with it? Where does it go?” Of course it worked out very well. But for a few days there I wondered what the hell we were going to do.

ON WRITING: What happened to them after they got married and were happy?
LABINE: He didn't let them stay happy very long. They got into trouble.
BELL: The marriage was solid. I wasn't going to shake up a marriage the audience wanted very much. But
Snapper was an intern, and Chris was one of four sisters. So she got involved with her sister's problems, and Snapper was at the hospital where girls were flirting with him. So there was a lot of
interest there regardless. But that relationship was untouchable.

ON WRITING: So you had to create other problems?
LABINE: Yes, that's right.
BELL: But everything doesn't have to be a problem per se. A lot of the things an audience can relate to don't have to involve trauma.
ON WRITING: Like what?
LABINE: The birth of a child, just to take an obvious thing—all of the things that happen to you in real life.
BELL: Just things in a relationship. The point is, you don't always need heavy trauma to satisfy an audience. Romance is the most important of all.

ON WRITING: What is your background, Claire?
LABINE: I was a dialogue writer on a show called Where the Heart Is. They offered me the head writership at one point and I said, “No, thank you, I'm not out of my mind. I love writing these
scripts.” I was writing three half-hour scripts a week for them, and sometimes more than that when they were in trouble.

ON WRITING: When you say scripts, you're talking about the dialogue?
LABINE: Yes. They would give me the outlines, and I would dialogue the outlines. Then they hired another dialogue writer named Paul Mayer. And for the first time ever, the other dialogue writer called me up and said, “Let's talk, tell me about this. How do you do it? What do you do?” We became great friends. Then they offered me the head writership again. And I said, “I'm not going to do this by myself, but I'd be delighted to do it with Paul.” And he became my writing partner. We wrote Where the Heart Is off the air. In fact they canceled Where the Heart Is to put on a new show called The Young and the Restless.
BELL: I wasn't going to say it.
LABINE: We went off the air with something like a 23 rating. I can't remember what it was. I was so broken-hearted. Bill, I didn't wish you ill. But I was really broken-hearted.
BELL: Well, let me tell you a story about that. Kay Alden—this is before I met her—was so upset that Where the Heart Is went off that she wrote the network and said she was so damned upset, she wouldn't ever watch The Young and the Restless.
LABINE: No kidding, please thank her for me. So, I didn't want to work for CBS anymore. We went around to ABC, and they picked up Ryan's Hope. Then the second year it won a bunch of Emmys.
BELL: Claire, all during that time if we were both up for Emmys you won every damn time. One year I was up for Days and Y&R
LABINE: Oh, I remember that.
BELL: And you were up, and you got it. We had two out of three, and you still won from us. Which is terrific. So you see, you made an impression.

ON WRITING: Bill, you began your career writing with the pioneer of this form, is that right?
LABINE: That's right.
BELL: Yes.
LABINE: She sort of made up the form.
BELL: Irna Phillips goes back to radio. She did many shows in radio before television. Guiding Light, which she created was, I believe, the first television serial.
LABINE: They took it from radio, didn't they, Bill?
BELL: Yeah.

ON WRITING: How did you begin working with Irna?
BELL: Let me just put it to you this way. When I was about eight years old, for half a year I came home from school for lunch. And when I got home, my Mom always had the radio on, and
there was Life Can Be Beautiful and The Romance of Helen Trent and Our Gal Sunday. Then there was another show called Guiding Light. And this was the only show where they said, “Created by Irna Phillips.” I heard that name everyday for six months. Okay, let's dissolve to about 13 years later. I was working as a comedy writer at WBBM in Chicago and one day I heard a name that I hadn't thought of since I was eight years old. Someone mentioned that Irna Phillips lived in Chicago. Serials made an impression on me even though I hadn't been close to them for all that time. So I called Irna's apartment. I identified myself to her secretary, Rose Cooperman, and I said, “Does she have an opening? I would love to try out and see if I could work for her.” Rose said, “As a matter of
fact, she does right now.” Well, by the time I got there it turned out that the guy who was leaving decided to stay. But about two years later I was in the advertising business, and I ran into a
gal who happened to be Irna's niece. She mentioned working with Bill Bell, and Irna remembered me. She remembered me because my wife was a very well known woman in Chicago, and Irna was certainly aware of her. So she wanted to see me one day. I went over there and we talked for awhile. Then she gave me an outline. I wrote it up and she offered me a job. I started at $75 a week, I think.

ON WRITING: And this was 40 years ago?
BELL: Actually, 41. Irna would write out the outline. And it was kind of a full outline, so it really helped me. But we would sit down right from the beginning and she would block the show. More and more I got involved in the blocking process. And, as they say, the rest is history. But if it hadn't been
for hearing the serials when I was a kid, the name Irna Phillips wouldn't have meant anything to me. Talk about how fate can intervene.
LABINE: I'll say.
BELL: I wouldn't have known that name. And I don't know what I'd be doing today. It worries me what I might be doing.

ON WRITING: So, you are sort of the keeper of the flame, in a sense.
BELL: Now mind you, I brought a lot of myself to what I do. I certainly learned a lot from Irna, but more importantly, once you take over a show you bring another dimension, which is your own dimension.
LABINE: It's a little like Freud and Jung.

ON WRITING: So, Bill, you essentially have no peers in this field.
LABINE: It's true. I mean, there are two overwhelming presences on the current scene.
BELL: And she's talking to them.
LABINE: No, no, no. There's Bill and there's Agnes [Nixon]. They represent the tradition, but The Young and the Restless represents a health and a standard to which the industry aspires. The consistency, the craft, and the steadiness with which that show is done is what all the rest of the shows need to do.

ON WRITING: And to bring it full circle, that has a lot to do with that they let him do it.
LABINE: That they let him do it. They leave him alone to do it. I mean, he gets to write. Bill gets to write in the way that writers think about writing. Not manufacture or paste up.


William Bell
Daytime Series
The Bold And The Beautiful, 1987–present (co-creator with Lee Phillip Bell, head writer and executive producer 1987–94)
The Young And The Restless, 1973–present (co-creator with Lee Phillip Bell, head writer, executive producer)
Days of Our Lives, 1966–77 (head writer)
Our Private World, 1965
Another World, 1964 (co-creator with Irna Phillips)
As the World Turns, 1957–66
The Guiding Light, 1956

William Bell is the winner of eight Emmy Awards. He is a recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Emmy Award for Daytime Television from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

Claire Labine
Daytime Series
One Life to Live, 1997–present (co-head writer)
General Hospital, 1993–95 (head writer)
Ryan's Hope, 1975–83, 1987–89 (co-creator with Paul Avila Mayer)
Love of Life, 1973–75
Where the Heart Is, 1970–73

Movies of the Week
For Love Alone, 1994 (CBS)
Danielle Steel’s Star, 1993 (NBC)
She Woke Up, 1991 (ABC)
The Bride in Black, 1990 (ABC)

Claire Labine is the winner of nine Emmy Awards.

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