It’s a typical soap opera dilemma: a woman with two loves must make a choice. For writer and actress Joanna Johnson, the decision was between playing Karen on The Bold and the Beautiful or becoming an executive producer on The Fosters, a groundbreaking drama about a lesbian couple and their adopted children.
The Fosters quickly became one of ABC Family’s biggest hits, and B&B cut short its own planned lesbian storyline. After The Fosters TCA panel, Johnson revealed she would like to return to B&B and shared how Bill Bell has inspired her writing.
Daytime Confidential: Have you been speaking with Brad Bell about returning to The Bold and the Beautiful?
Joanna Johnson: You know what’s funny is, Brad Bradeweg who is one of my [writing] partners on The Fosters, a couple times I have [meant to] email him and emailed Brad Bell instead. Brad Bell always writes something funny back like, “Yeah, I think that’s a good idea. You should do that on your show.” But we do talk. The last time I went back he called me himself and said, “I don’t want to recast. Is there any way you can comeback if I consolidate the story as fast as I can?” and that’s when Heather Tom’s character takes over the company. Then my daughter [Caroline] got married and I was going to go back for the wedding, but they decided to do an elopement story. But we’re still in contact and I would love to go back… I wish I could do both but it’s really hard. I did it a little and it was running from CBS to Warner Brothers and trying to stay on top of things and it was just memorizing a lot of lines on top of [writing.]
DC: Have you ever picked a story for Bold, or has he ever pitched a story to you for The Fosters?
JJ: No, we haven’t done that yet.
DC: How did working as an actor on a serialized drama inform the way you write on a serialized drama?
JJ: It’s been so helpful. I learned a lot from Bill Bell and Bradley about how they structured stories. I think it was tremendous. Everything’s a soap. I mean, Scandal’s a soap. Grey’s Anatomy’s a soap. We’re doing a soap. Just because we’re on at night is the only difference, really unless you’re having masks coming off. Some of the soaps have gone pretty far. But ultimately, good soap storytelling, Bill Bell did it better than anybody in the world and Brad continued that and I learned so much from them.
The Fosters airs Mondays at 9/8c on ABC Family.
Photo of The Fosters courtesy of ABC Family