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Bell worked as head writer from the debut of the series until his retirement in 1998.
To compete with the youthful ABC soap operas, All My Children, One Life to Live, and General Hospital, CBS executives wanted a new daytime serial that was youth oriented. Bell and Lee Phillip Bell created The Young and the Restless in 1972 for the network under the working title, The Innocent Years!
"We were confronted with the very disturbing reality that young Americans had lost much of its innocence," Bell said.
It is also currently the highest-rated daytime drama on American television.
As of 2008, it has appeared at the top of the weekly Neilsen ratings in that category for more than 1,000 weeks since 1988. Y&R is also a sister show to Bell's CBS soap opera The Bold and the Beautiful, as several actors have crossed over between the shows since 1993.
Bell replaced them with new families, the Abbotts and the Williamses.
Over the years, other families such as the Newmans, Winters, and the Baldwin-Fishers were introduced.
Set in Genoa City, Wisconsin, the show originally focused on two core families: the wealthy Brooks family and the working class Foster family.After a series of recasts and departures, all the original characters except Jill Abbott were written out.Despite these changes, one storyline that has endured through almost the show's entire run is the feud between Jill and Katherine Chancellor, the longest rivalries on any American soap opera.Since its debut, The Young and the Restless has won a total seven Daytime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Drama Series in 1975, 1983, 1985, 1986, 1993, 2004, and 2007, and was won a complete total of 56 Daytime Emmy Awards.
"Innocence as we had known and lived it all our lives had, in so many respects, ceased to exist." They changed the title of the series to The Young and the Restless because they felt it "reflected the youth and mood of the early 1970s." The Bells named the fictional setting for the show after the real Genoa City, Wisconsin, which was located on their way to their then-home in Chicago to their annual summer vacation spot in Lake Geneva.The Young and the Restless began airing on March 26, 1973, replacing the cancelled soap, Where The Heart Is.