When it debuted, the show originally focused on the personal and professional lives of two core families in Genoa City: the wealthy Brookses and the poor Fosters. After a series of recasts and departures in the early 1980s, most of the original characters were written out and the show shifted to the Abbotts, the Newmans, and the Williamses. One basic plot that has run throughout almost all of the show's history is the rivalry between Jill Abbott and Katherine Chancellor.
The series was originally broadcast as half-hour episodes, five times a week. It was expanded to one-hour episodes on February 4 1980. Young and the Restless is currently the highest-rated daytime drama on American television. As of 2008, it has appeared at the top of the weekly Nielsen Ratings in that category for more than 1000 weeks since 1988.
When the show began as 30 minutes in 1973, it was shot in what is referred to as "Live To Tape", meaning it was basically like a stage play that was filmed, with actors freezing in place during the "Black Space" where commercials would later be inserted by the network and affiliates. Later, after the show went to 60 minutes in February of 1980, the taping style changed, and it was shot scene by scene, and edited, with which the format stands to this day.
In 2001, The Young and the Restless became the first - and, so far, only - daytime soap opera to be broadcast in high-definition.
The show's budget is $1.25 million (USD) per week.
As the show continued to reach new, record heights in 1987, co-executive producer H. Wesley Kenney defected to network television's #1 mainstay in the soap ratings, General Hospital. This was rather ironic, since the following year it was Young and the Restless that surpassed the longtime champ for the Nielsen ratings top spot, with Kenney not being able to be a part of his former show's ultimate success. However, Kenney did keep GH near the top of the pack during his two-year tenure as executive producer there.
Kay Alden took over as head writer after Bell stepped down in 1998. After Bell died in April 2005, Smith served as the sole executive producer. In late February 2006, Lynn Marie Latham was promoted to head writer, while Alden and Smith served as co-head writers. In late August 2006, Latham was announced as the new executive producer (in addition to her writing role) by CBS Daytime Senior Vice President Barbara Bloom. More behind-the-scenes shakeups continued into September 2006 when Smith's contract as co-head writer wasn't renewed. Kathryn Foster, a long time producer and director since the 1980s, resigned in October 2006.
Alden quit the show in November 2006 and was hired by ABC Daytime in December 2006 to consult on All My Children and One Life to Live. After her consulting contract ended, Alden joined The Bold and the Beautiful as an Associate Head Writer. Lynn Marie Latham, the show's former Creative Consultant, was named its new executive producer shortly after the departure of Smith. In June 2007, former supervising producer Edward J. Scott was chosen by Sony Pictures Television to join Days of Our Lives. Anthony Morina, episode director and husband of former series writer/story consultant Sally Sussman Morina, was named as producer shortly after Scott's departure (and later promoted to Supervising Producer).
The show had been known in the industry for its close-knit team that rarely changed; however, with Latham's ascension, many crew members that had been with the show since the '80s were fired or quit: Joshua S. McCaffrey, Marnie Saitta, Trent Jones, Mike Denney, Janice Ferri Esser, Sally Sussman Morina, Jim Houghton, Marc Hertz, Sara A. Bibel. New crew members were hired: Neil Landau, Darin Goldberg, Brett Steanart, Valerie Ahern, Shelley Meals, Phideaux Xavier, Karen Rea, Cherie Bennett, Jeff Gottesfeld, Bernard Lechowick, Scott Hamner, Christian McLaughlin, Lynsey DuFour, Vincent Lechowick, James Stanley, Jenelle Lindsay, Tom Casiello, Paula Cwikly, Rick Draughon and Chris Abbott.
As of 2007, only four writers from the pre-Latham era: Sandra Weintraub, Eric Freiwald, Linda Schreiber and Natalie Minardi Slater, remain with the serial. Josh Griffith took over the executive producing duties after Latham was fired, but his tenure ended in September, when it was announced that Paul Rauch will took over the duty, with Maria Arena Bell taking over the Co-Executive Producer duties. His episodes began airing on October 3, 2008.
With Maria Arena Bell at the helm Y&R has seen the return of a few longtime writers and directors most notably Mike Denney who was part of the directing team for nearly 20 years before Lynn Marie Latham had him relieved, as well as writer Janice Ferri Esser who was also relieved of her duties by Lynn Marie Latham.
Current main crew
|Maria Arena Bell; Hogan Sheffer, Scott Hamner||Sandra Weintraub, Linda Schreiber, Eric Freiwald, Marla Kanelos, Beth Milstein, James Stanley, Jay Gibson, Lisa Seidman, Thom Racina, Amanda L. Beall, Janice Ferri Esser, Melissa Salmons||Paul Rauch (EP), Maria Arena Bell (Co-EP), John Fisher, Anthony Morina, Josh O'Connell, Matthew J. Olson, Bill Bell Jr.||Mike Denney, Sally McDonald, Dean LaMont, Susan Strickler, Andrew Lee, Jim Sayegh, Grant A. Johnson, Deveney Kelly, Camille St. Cyr (Casting Director)|
The original March 1973 cast consisted of a mixture of veterans and young, relative unknowns. The most notable cast member was Robert Colbert, star of the 1960s TV series The Time Tunnel, as Stuart Brooks. Dorothy Green, a frequent guest star in numerous 1950s-60s TV programs, was cast as Stuart's wife Jennifer, while veteran actress Julianna McCarthy played Liz Foster.
Among the current cast members, longtime veteran actress Jeanne Cooper, who plays Katherine Chancellor, has been on contract with Young and the Restless since Fall 1973. The other current senior cast members who joined the show in the 1970s are Doug Davidson (Paul Williams, 1978) and Melody Thomas Scott (Nikki Newman, 1979). Eric Braeden joined Young and the Restless as Victor Newman in 1980 after becoming notable for his roles in The Rat Patrol and Colossus: The Forbin Project, as well as a variety of guest starring roles in numerous primetime TV shows during the 1970s.
The only original character remaining since the program's debut in 1973 is Jill Foster Abbott, who has been played by Jess Walton since 1987. Katherine Chancellor, played by Jeanne Cooper debuted on-screen in November 1973. Cooper is the show's longest-serving actor.
|Peter Bergman||Jack Abbott (#2)||1989-|
|Vail Bloom||Heather Stevens||2007-|
|Eric Braeden||Victor Newman||1980-|
|Sharon Case||Sharon Abbott (#2)||1994-|
|Judith Chapman||Gloria Bardwell (#2)||2005-|
|Jeanne Cooper||Katherine Chancellor||1973-|
|Doug Davidson||Paul Williams||1978-|
|Eileen Davidson||Ashley Abbott (#1)||1982-1989, 1999-2007, 2008-|
|Don Diamont||Brad Carlton||1985-1996, 1998-|
|Chris Engen||Adam Newman||2008-|
|Adrienne Frantz||Amber Moore||2006-|
|Daniel Goddard||Cane Ashby||2007-|
|Michael Graziadei||Daniel Romalotti||2004-|
|Michael Gross||River Baldwin||2008-|
|Amelia Heinle||Victoria Newman Hellstrom (#3)||2005-|
|Elizabeth Hendrickson||Chloe Mitchell Ashby||2008-|
|Christel Khalil||Lily Winters (#1)||2002-2005, 2006-|
|Christian LeBlanc||Michael Baldwin||1991-1993, 1997-|
|Kate Linder||Esther Valentine||1985-|
|Thad Luckinbill||J.T. Hellstrom||1999-|
|Eva Marcille||Tyra Hamilton||2008-|
|Billy Miller||Billy Abbott (#4)||2008-|
|Joshua Morrow||Nicholas Newman||1994-|
|Emily O'Brien||Jana Hawkes Fisher||2006-2007, 2007-|
|Nia Peeples||Karen Taylor||2007-2008, 2008-|
|Greg Rikaart||Kevin Fisher||2003-|
|Melody Thomas Scott||Nikki Newman (#2)||1979-|
|Kristoff St. John||Neil Winters||1991-|
|Michelle Stafford||Phyllis Summers Newman (#1)||1994-1997, 2000-|
|Tammin Sursok||Colleen Carlton (#3)||2007-|
|Jess Walton||Jill Foster Abbott (#4)||1987-|
|Tracey E. Bregman||Lauren Fenmore Baldwin|
|Jerry Douglas||John Abbott|
|Aidan and Andrew Gonzales||Fenmore Baldwin|
|Jamia Simone Nash||Ana Hamilton|
|Erin Sanders||Eden Baldwin|
|Kevin Schmidt||Noah Newman|
|Ted Shackelford||Jeffrey Bardwell|
|Patty Weaver||Gina Roma|
|Jeanne Cooper||Marge Cootridge||Returns October 22 2008|
|Tonya Lee Williams||Dr. Olivia Winters||Returns October 2008|
|Michael Damian||Danny Romalotti||Temp. returns November 2008|
When The Young and the Restless premiered in 1973, the show revolved around the dramas which befell two families: the wealthy Brooks and the poor Fosters. Patriarch Stuart Brooks was an upper class newspaper publisher while matriarch Liz Foster was a single parent struggling to pay the bills.
The rivalry between Liz's daughter Jill and socialite Katherine "Kay" Chancellor became one of the show's first and longest-lasting storylines. Kay was a boozy matron trapped in a loveless marriage to Phillip Chancellor II. After Jill went to work as Kay's paid companion, she and Phillip fell in love. After he returned from obtaining a divorce in the Dominican Republic, Kay picked him up at the airport, and in an attempt to kill both Phillip and herself, drove the car off a cliff. On his deathbed, Phillip married Jill and bequeathed her and their love child his fortune. Kay ended up getting a judge to declare that Jill and Phillip's marriage was illegal since Kay was drunk when signing her divorce papers. After the ruling, the rivalry between the two ladies spiraled out of control, each blaming the other for Phillip's death.
After a series of recasts and departures in the late 1970s-early 1980s, the Brookses and the Fosters were phased out, and two new core families were introduced: the Abbott and the Williams families, and later the Newmans. The Abbott–Newman family rivalry also extended to the corporate warfare between their respective companies, Jabot Cosmetics and Newman Enterprises. Core African American characters, the Barbers and the Winterses, were later introduced in the 1990s.
Show creator William J. Bell resigned as head writer in 1998, and since 2002, Young and the Restless has suffered audience erosion. Despite remaining the most watched daytime drama on American television since 1988, later head writers such as John F. Smith and Lynn Marie Latham began to rely on several highly publicized, retcon storylines to attract more viewers. Notable retcons introduced in the 2000s include revealing that Kay is Jill's actual birth mother, and Phillip II and Jill's baby was switched at birth. In 2007, the show began a new storyline with the Clear Springs explosion, promoted as "The Young and the Restless: Out of the Ashes". Several of Genoa City's most prominent residents were trapped under the collapse, though none were killed.
Young and the Restless began on March 26 at Noon Eastern Time/11 am Central with the handicap of inheriting the affiliate clearance problems attained by WtHI, especially in conservative small-to-medium-sized markets. It also faced a long-standing audience favorite, with which, ironically, it is now co-owned (via Sony): NBC's Jeopardy!, which had for years been daytime's number-two game.
Young and the Restless's ascent was slow, but got major boosts from missteps made by the rival networks. First, NBC sent Jeopardy! to a mid-morning slot in January 1974, with the briefly-popular Jackpot! taking its place, only to eventually lose much of the old audience. Next, Password on ABC made the bad decision to convert to an all-celebrity format in November of that year, a move that would lead to its cancellation the following June. Perhaps the luckiest occurrence to allow Young and the Restless to get a foothold, though, was NBC's decision to air a press conference by President Gerald Ford in January 1975 at the Noon hour, with ABC and CBS declining. This landed Young and the Restless some of Jackpot!'s annoyed fans, eventually paving the way for that program's relocation and eventual cancellation later in the year. More importantly, though, was the fact that Jackpot! had appealed strongly to a demographic of young housewives and mothers, a group whose shift in viewing allegiances would be crucial for Young and the Restless's continued audience growth.
By summer, ABC and NBC changed up their shows at Noon/11, offering two lightweight games that audiences shied away from, thereby enabling Young and the Restless to enter the Nielsen serial top three. For its part, NBC would enter into a string of low-rated disasters at that timeslot for the next several years (among them an attempt to revive Jeopardy! in 1978-79), while ABC similarly struggled until it moved The $20,000 Pyramid there in January 1978. However, Pyramid's time was running out, and the former hit game wrapped up six years on the network in June 1980. The only parts of the country where Young and the Restless experienced some trouble were those Eastern time zone markets where affiliates plugged the show into the network's half-hour access break at 1 p.m./Noon (in order to free the Noon hour for local newscasts); there, ABC's All My Children would somewhat hinder Young and the Restless's progress, especially when the former show expanded to an hour in April 1977.
With the less-than-impressive results, CBS reinstated the affiliate break to its traditional time network-wide and, taking into account the local stations' desire for scheduling flexibility, gave them the option of running Young and the Restless at either Noon/11 (the preference of most) or 12:30/11:30 (mostly in the Eastern time zone), on different feeds. Beginning on June 8, 1981, the arrangement proved highly popular with fans all over the U.S., and the show has stayed put ever since. The wisdom of CBS' decision was confirmed by the continued downfall of NBC's ratings at midday and the eroding popularity of Feud, which by this time aired also as a five-day-per-week syndicated strip on local stations in the early-evening Access slots, something which likely brought the Richard Dawson-hosted game overexposure and consequent audience backlash. Also, another family-and-youth-oriented serial, ABC's Ryan's Hope, had never performed to network expectations in its 12:30/11:30 slot and proved no threat to Young and the Restless at all.
Only six Central, Mountain and Pacific time zone stations presently air Young and the Restless on the 11:30 a.m. feed: KCBS-TV in Los Angeles, WBBM-TV in Chicago, KTVT in Dallas-Fort Worth (all owned and operated by CBS), KOLR in Springfield, Mo.,WHBF in Quad Cities, IA/IL and WTVF in Nashville, Tenn.
Those unable to view Young and the Restless on CBS Daytime may watch it instead on the all-soap cable channel SOAPnet, which airs that day's episode at 7 p.m. ET, repeating that airing at 6 a.m. ET and Midnight ET Also, a block of the entire previous week's episodes airs Saturday evenings between 7 p.m. and Midnight. The network picked up Young and the Restless in April 2006, its first CBS serial.
In late June, 2007, Young and the Restless became available for viewing full episode on CBS online Audience Network. Episodes are placed online the day of being broadcast usually between 5 and 6 p.m. EST and are removed after one week.
All of the above mentioned services, however, are only available within the United States.
"Nadia's Theme" has been the theme song of The Young and the Restless since the show's debut in 1973. The melody, originally titled "Cotton's Dream", was written by Barry De Vorzon and Perry Botkin, Jr. as incidental music for the 1971 theatrical film Bless the Beasts and Children. The melody was later renamed "Nadia's Theme" after the ABC television network lent the music for Romanian gymnast Nadia Comăneci's performance during the 1976 Summer Olympics.
Botkin wrote a rearranged version of the piece specifically for The Young and the Restless's debut, which has basically remained unchanged, save for a three-year stint in the early 2000s, when an alternate, more jazzy arrangement of that tune was used. The closing stinger of that arrangement has been used as a mid-show bumper since around 2004.
Much of the show's background music comes from Rescue Records artists, including Blaire Reinhard, Girl Next Door, Beth Thornley, and Tena Clark.
The opening title sequence has also become well-known. For many years since the show's debut, it showcased the characters, drawn by an artist, on a white background. For the first year, the character's portraits were seen behind the The Young and the Restless title. For the remaining years until 1984, the characters' headshots were seen to the right of the show's title.
Starting in 1984, the sequence both began and ended with an interlocking Y and R painted on the white canvas in a sweeping brush motion. The logo (and in the earlier years, the drawings) were done by artist Sandy Dvore. The drawings were now sketched with a lighter shade of gray than the previous sketches. The drawings were replaced with live-action shots of the characters in formal or semi-formal wear, still on a white background, in 1988.
Beginning on December 24, 1999, in an unprecedented move for a main title sequence of a daytime soap opera, the names of the principal cast members (for that day's particular episode) were mentioned (whereas previously the main title only showed the cast members' faces). The 1999 version also included live-action shots of the characters, but featured in front of a wind blowing satin red curtain as the background.
On March 31, 2003 the opening credits were given a complete makeover, now featuring black-and-white footage from the series with the actors' names in lower case in red at either the top or bottom of the screen (a possible throwback to the shows early years when the cast members sketches were also black and white). In 2004, Young and the Restless's sister show The Bold and the Beautiful began airing the performers' names on the opening credits, the only soap besides Young and the Restless to do so.
For over 25 years, the announcer for the show's opening and closing credits was Bern Bennett, who would tell viewers to "Join us again for The Young and the Restless." In 2003, Bennett retired and CBS hired former casting assistant Marnie Saitta for the job of announcer. In 2006 Marnie Saitta was replaced by cast members announcing for the show.
When introduced during the 1972–73 season, the show was at the bottom of the ratings, but rose rapidly: ninth by 1974–75 and third by 1975–76. It remained a strong and increasingly important part of CBS daytime's lineup and by 1988-1989 had dethroned long-time leader General Hospital as the top-rated soap, a position it has held ever since.
Daytime History: Highest Rated Week (November 16-20, 1981) (Nielsen Media Research)
|Serial||Household Rating||(Time Slot) Network|
|General Hospital||16.0||(3-4pm) ABC|
|All My Children||10.2||(1-2pm) ABC|
|One Life to Live||10.2||(2-3pm) ABC|
|Guiding Light||7.9||(3-4pm) CBS|
|The Young and the Restless||7.3||(11:00-12:00pm) CBS|
1995 Daytime Serial Ratings
|Rank/Serial||Avg. Millions Of Viewers (Per Episode)|
|The Young and the Restless||7.155|
|All My Children||5.891|
|The Bold and the Beautiful||5.247|
|One Life to Live||5.152|
In The Simpsons' episode "Pygmoelian", the opening sequence of the soap opera It Never Ends parodies that of Young and the Restless. The titles have also been parodied on the Australian sitcom Kath and Kim.
Young and the Restless is also parodied in the 1983 film Mr. Mom. After unemployed automotive engineer Jack Butler (Michael Keaton) becomes a regular viewer, watching actual footage featuring the characters of Victor Newman, Nikki Reed, Kevin Bancroft. Eventually he and his newfound friend Joan (Ann Jillian) engage in a spoof of soap operas in general with music from Young and the Restless playing in the background. The parody gradually includes Jack's wife Carolyn (Teri Garr), who shoots him, his former supervisor Jinx (Jeffrey Tambor), who was going to give him his old job back, and Carolyn's boss Ron (Martin Mull), who leaves with her.
The set of Young and the Restless and the show was used in Entourage for the character of Mrs. Ari to show her as a possible return to acting as she used to be a regular on the show in her early acting career.
On the game show The Price is Right, which airs before Young and the Restless, if a contestant spun the Showcase Showdown wheel hard enough to go around several times before stopping, host Bob Barker would quip that CBS would have to "cut into Young and Restless." The show itself was the theme of a 1992 Showcase to celebrate its 5,000th episode.