Daytime Confidential's Top 10 Writers/Producers of 2008

No. 3: Maria Arena Bell, Paul Rauch, Hogan Sheffer and Scott Hamner - The Young and the Restless 

What do you get when you take a Bell-trained writer/producer (Maria Area Bell), mix her with the man who made a soap so popular it went to a whopping 90 minutes for a time in the 70's (Paul Rauch), mix them with the scribe who brought As The World Turns back from the dead during the first part of the current decade (Hogan Sheffer) and for good measure, throw in a writer who cut his teeth writing for some of the most dazzling primetime pot boilers of the 80's (Scott Hamner)? The Young and the Restless Dream Team that's what.

In 2008, the late Bill Bell's daughter-in-law Maria Arena Bell pulled an Athena Move, by seizing control of the legacy her family's patriarch left behind. Arena Bell effectively rescued Y&R from the clutches of Lynn Marie Latham, whose stint running both the writers' room and the executive offices of Y&R damn near dismantled the soap. Bell was teamed with the iconic Paul Rauch, who was brought in as her co-executive producer. Rauch had famously kept Another World at the top of the Nielsens for most of the 1970's, before going on to helm Texas, One Life to Live, Santa Barbara and Guiding Light. Arena Bell also smartly hired Hogan Sheffer, daytime's answer to Tennessee Williams, whose electrifying storytelling skills made ATWT appointment TV for the first time since the days of the late Douglas Marland. Co-head writer Scott Hamner, son of Earl Hamner Jr., who created The Waltons and Falcon Crest for CBS was already on staff when the other members of the Dream Team were assembled,  Like Arena Bell, Hamner had learned from a master storyteller, writing for both of the primetime serials his father created, before going on to pen stories for Knots Landing and Dynasty. Together this Fab Foursome set about writing the wrongs of Latham, starting with the dismal, forgotten "Who Killed Ji-Min Kim?" murder mystery, dispatching of David Chow, reinventing the Abbotts (Welcome home Ash!), refocusing on the vets (namely Jeanne Cooper's Kay), assembling and/or nurturing the most impressive stable of young adult actors in soaps and most miraculously, bringing glamour back to Genoa City. For most of the DC editors, Y&R is the only soap that doesn't log much time in our DVR que. Missing the show for more than a day or two could send you into withdrawals and nobody wants to see Luke with the shakes. It's not pretty stuff.


Member since:
20 February 2008
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3 years 27 weeks

Awesome list, people. It's not a f'n mess.

Member since:
8 May 2008
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12 hours 9 min

I would also include Nelson Branco, because many of the s/ls and crazy comments is way more interesting than what the heck is on the soaps theses days. I love the list and hope and pray that they will fill in when B&B, ATWT, DAys, GL, and Gh get them to save the soap industry that is lacking in vision and creativity.


daisyclover1938's picture
Member since:
14 November 2007
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3 years 49 weeks

Terrific List!!

And I had no idea that Susan Danby's book is available as a "regular" book now, thanks for the heads up! Can't wait to read it Smile

Though I have to disagree w/ the statement that "there's no denying The Rapemance was one of the most well-written storylines daytime has seen play out in years" Oh I deny it very much!

Not only was it disgusting, but it was preposterous and insulted viewers' intelligence. The writers turned Marty into a blank slate moron and tried to *manipulate* their audience into sympathizing with Todd (I lost track of all the "poor Todd" moments.) I watched the immediate aftermath and while I think the actors are wonderful, I was less than impressed by ME and TSJ's severely understated performances (it was as if they were in another story completely) and Susan "Look! I'm Hissing!" Haskell's scenery chewing. FAIL

I'm all for stories that are dark and that push the envelope. But in a medium that continues to use and abuse women and repeatedly treats rape as just another gimmick storytelling tool, another Rapemance was not what we needed. And for that story to be told *badly* (IMO) on top of that? Double FAIL.

ladyofthelake's picture
Member since:
31 July 2008
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4 weeks 1 day

I must be the only person on here who loathed Nightshift. It was full of dumb stories that were ripped off from even dumber movies, extremly bad acting. I mean the guy with the four kidneys, the pay it forward, anything Jagger. Nightshift sucked, ugh. I do give credit to TR for the way he played Robert's cancer styline. He was so raw, so true. At times I couldn't watch him because it was to painful. My mother had cancer twice and lost the battle, I work from home because I wanted to take care of her. TR was so good, to bad there won't be an emmy for his performance. That's about it, and the flashback episode of Nightshift that had evrybody from the 80's. Those two things alone couldn't make me lke it.

Johnathon's picture
Member since:
10 December 2008
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2 years 37 weeks

I don't exactly 'loath' night shift, but I in no way think its the best thing since sliced OLTL ...(I tried...)

The show had alot of issues, but at the end of the day there was a good amount i did like of it, and I think some of my issues would have been resolved if it had more time.

A.K.A. ssjohn

podcastjunkie's picture
Member since:
29 December 2007
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7 weeks 6 days

I still have yet to finish watching Nightshift as great as people have said it is. Its apparently not gonna get a 3rd season anyhow.

AlistairCrane's picture
Member since:
4 May 2008
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2 years 36 weeks

You're missing the late, great Jim Reilly, who crafted a fantastic and memorable finale for Passions.

alex197923's picture
Member since:
2 April 2008
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3 years 42 weeks

I sure thought you would give it to OLTL or Y&R

Member since:
22 January 2008
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19 min 19 sec

Alistair as you know, I ADORED Reilly's work...on Days, but I hated Passions with, well, a passion.

Member since:
18 August 2008
Last activity:
5 years 3 weeks

According to Tom Casiello's myspace page, he's headed back to daytime!