Former ‘Y&R’ Executive Producer and Head Writer, Maria Arena Bell, Talks Emmy Nominations and Online Soaps

AFF/Steven Bergman Photography
AFF/Steven Bergman Photography

In an interview published in the newest issue of Soap Opera Digest, , the former executive producer and head writer of “,” shares that the soap submitted episodes #9,999 and #10,000 as part of their Emmy reel in the category of Outstanding Drama Series for the “40th Annual Daytime Entertainment Emmy Awards.”

“We felt those episodes, being sequential, were the peak of huge story,” she says. The episodes covered the mock funeral of Victor Newman () and the nonmarriage of Sharon Newman () and Tucker McCall (). The soap submitted episode #9,999 in the category of Outstanding Drama Series Writing Team. In addition to the “Y&R” Emmy nominations, Digest asked Bell what she thought of the “” and “” reboots.

“I think it’s wonderful. We’re closely watching with our friends at . I think the web is an amazing platform for this kind of storytelling. I hope those shows are very successful so that there will be an outcry for more and I’d like to be one of the people providing them.” When asked about her possible return to daytime soaps, Bell said, “You never know! I love the genre and I also love the idea of doing a non-network soap and the issues that you could explore that you really can’t as much on a network.” She added, “Things have gotten really politically correct and certain things are taboo and that’s not how soaps started. Soaps were groundbreaking on issues and much more exciting, so I think you can really do something online that could push the envelope a little more. I think you could really have some fun by thinking outside of the box, doing some new efforts in continuing drama. So, that’s what I’m really hopeful about. As you start a new production company or a new thing, you’ve got to have a lot of irons in the fire and just hope something connects. But I’m really excited. It’s a great time.”

To hear more from Bell and her thoughts on life after “Y&R,” whether she’d ever go back, and much more, pick up the new issue of Soap Opera Digest on sale now. “” airs Sunday, June 16 on HLN LIVE from the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles, CA.

  • *peak, not peek

  • Harlee Parks

    Oh! my gosh!

  • Harlee

    Oh! my gosh…she’s reappeared….

  • Brettyboy

    I don’t think Y&R or B&B deserves outstanding daytime drama. I’d like GH, OLTL or DOOL to win. Bell will have submitted Stephanie’s death episodes for B&B, but the rest of the year was crap!

  • alistaircrane

    I hate to admit it, but MAB was a far better headwriter than Josh Griffith. The way JG ended MAB’s stories was so offensive, and to fire Nina was the worst sin of all. I haven’t watched Y&R in 6 months and won’t watch again until JG is gone.

  • Fox Crane

    Go away.

  • Skyla

    I gotta say, I wish she was back at Y&R. some of her stuff was really bad but who knew it could get worse. Under JG’s pen it’s done just that, i”m pretty much waiting til the Jeanne Cooper tribute & Michelle Stafford’s exit to stop watching the trainwreck Y&R has become completely. Who would have thought I’d long for the days when MAB wrote???

  • Harlee

    i totally disagree about MAB being better than Josh. She was horrible wher plot written drivel and maybe Josh is uneven on some stories DylanAvery, ChloeKevin but at least Josh has brought back YR’s character driven stories to the vets compared to Maria. I’m not happy with everything but I’m not declaring a it a train wreck, Maria’s tenure was the train wreck and boil on YR’s butt.

    • alistaircrane

      Plot is a good thing. People watch for stories.

      • Harlee

        Plot isn’t always a good thing if out of character and YR always was based in character driven stories but not what she did on YR. Between her & LML they caused tremendous damage to YR. YR isn’t the type of soap to do campy, plot after plot type stories and never could because viewers lashed back.

        • PatF

          The stories and the characters in those stories are a lot more stable under Josh. LML rendered the show unrecognizable, and MAB restored the look of the show, but then by her and her writing team they rendered some of the characters unrecognizable. There WERE some good moments under Maria, but she let too much on the screen that was horrible as well.

          • Harlee

            To me…Maria’s best times (as writer) was in the beginning of her tenure cleaning up LML slop but she also had in the beginning Paul Rauch (wishy washy on him) but he knew what a soap as YR should look…he brought back more of opulent look & she kept it….then the spring of 2011 couldn’t stomach no more left watching until Jan of 2012. Those last 9 months someone somewhere gave a directive, rather Sony or CBS the writing changed back to calmer waters and not as over the top, Genura personality changed for the better, Paul’s story the last year was her better moments, Nina was more of regular, the reemergence of ChrisPhyllis…but I’m glad P she’s Gone!…Josh is so much better for the show even with the some of bittersweet deflation in some stories….balance is better now they need some focus on stories and tell them Josh….be bold and not so safe, Bill was bold and his stories continue to last for decades…prime example Summer’s paternity could be such a story in the making….sigh

  • guest

    Doesn’t matter how bad the current regime might be, that woman needs to be banned from the industry. What she did to Maura West and Sharon Case is unacceptable.