Will the next soap supercouple be Ridge and...Katie? On Dec. 13, the one and only Ridge Forrester returns to The Bold and the Beautiful after more than a year away in Paris. The superstar couturier — to be played by former All My Children star Thorsten Kaye — is determined to reclaim his soulmate and frequent wife Brooke Logan (Katherine Kelly Lang), but he's in for a seismic shock! Exec producer-head writer Bradley Bell gave TV Guide Magazine the exclusive scoop. We also got the goods on Dollar Bill, Quinn, Rick, Caroline, Karen and more!
TV Guide Magazine: Let's cut to the chase: Will Brooke take Ridge back after he dumped her so unfairly on their honeymoon?
Bell: Ridge does come back wanting to rekindle their relationship and Brooke is thrilled to see him, though there is a slap — after all, he left her so definitively and so quickly!
TV Guide Magazine: Yeah, over an innocent text message!
Bell: He believes Brooke has been waiting for him, so imagine his surprise when he finds out she's been having an illicit affair with Bill, who is still married to her sister, Katie.
TV Guide Magazine: But it's all over now between Brooke and Bill. Ridge can zero on in, right?
Bell: No, because the news really stings him. Ridge feels horrible for Katie, who is such a sweet, decent person who overcame so much — including a heart transplant. He can't believe Brooke would do this to her own little sister. Ridge is going to be thrust in the middle of these two women and Bill Spencer. It'll be a great foursome.
TV Guide Magazine: Given your love for twisted romance, will you have Ridge fall Katie? It would drive Bill and Brooke crazy!
Bell: [Laughs] Well... maybe I will. Anything is possible! Thorsten makes a fantastic Ridge — very different from [predecessor] Ronn Moss. He'll really electrify the show. Bill has been cock-of-the-walk for way too long. He needs a little competition! And that's exactly what he's going to get! We're going to find out that Ridge has gone through something very significant during his time away — something that's really changed him. There's only one Ronn Moss and he was splendid, but now we have a new and very different Ridge and it's exciting to write for him.
TV Guide Magazine: Kaye and Moss are nothing alike. What was your thinking there? Usually, with major recasts, soap execs try to at least stay in the same ballpark. These two actors aren't even from the same planet.
Bell: I felt we needed an actor with depth and range and complexity and Thorsten brings that. I love the idea of Ridge being a man of the world, a man with gravitas. I didn't go looking for superficial similarities. It's a case of betting on the man himself. I'm betting on Thorsten's acting chops to win people over, not any similarity in looks.
TV Guide Magazine: Any worries about audience reaction?
Bell: I don't think it will be like the switch in Jacks on The Young and the Restless, when we went from Terry Lester to Peter Bergman. That change seemed to be embraced immediately because the two men were very similar in their acting styles. It may take some time with this new Ridge for viewers to adjust but I'm confident the audience is going to respect Thorsten and grow to love him in the role.
TV Guide Magazine: There seems to be some debate over who first came up with the idea that Thorsten would make a good Ridge. Care to comment?
Bell: I've had Thorsten on a list of several possible Ridges for a long time. Some of the actors on that list came from daytime, others had never done daytime before. Thorsten was always at the top of that list. In fact, I had been looking to bring him onto B&B much earlier, but it wasn't workable because he was doing Smash in New York. Well, Smash ended, and the timing finally worked out.
TV Guide Magazine: Tell us more about this "significant" change Ridge has experienced.
Bell: He's become very introspective about the first chapter of his life, and the highs and lows of being married to a woman like Brooke. He's been working, traveling, keeping a low profile and really trying to analyze himself and the mistakes he's made. He's been thinking a lot about what he wants for the remainder of his life.
TV Guide Magazine: Will you explain why the hell he stayed away when his mom, Stephanie, was dying of cancer?
Bell: Uh, yes...but that's a tough one. Ronn Moss left us so abruptly that it was almost better to stay clear of Ridge at the end of Stephanie's life, and just tell the story with the characters we had on the canvas. We kept things very vague as to why Ridge wasn't there for his mother's passing, but it will be explained. He's going to come back carrying a lot of guilt about that.
TV Guide Magazine: Why did you blow up the Bill and Brooke romance so quickly?
Bell: I found myself in a real pickle. There could have been permanent damage to Brooke in the eyes of the audience if she forgave Bill for what he did to her and to Katie. So she chose loyalty to her sister. My dad [Y&R and B&B creator Bill Bell] always said, "Paint yourself into a corner, and then find a way out." This is a great example of that. We got terrific drama out of it but needed to get out fast.
TV Guide Magazine: Men have done the crappiest things to Brooke for decades! Shouldn't she be turning lesbian along about now?
Bell: [Laughs] Hey, I'd watch!
TV Guide Magazine: You seem to be playing this Liam-Hope-Wyatt triangle rather lightly, sometimes even for laughs. Does this thing ever get serious, especially with Steffy returning to the scene?
Bell: For now, I'm just trying to keep things unpredictable and entertaining. I'm just so excited to have three great actors who can play comedy. It's fun to write it for them — but this will not be a lightweight love story. Expect some very heavy moments.
TV Guide Magazine: Let's discuss Wyatt's mama, Quinn. Are we supposed to like her? Because, if so, I'm not sure you're succeeding.
Bell: Quinn wasn't brought in to be likeable. She's not a warm and fuzzy type. She's tough as nails and pretty dark, compulsive and cutthroat. She is obsessed her son...and making money. She's been a woman on her own for so long, making a few shady deals along the way, and now she's found a place for herself and her son has found someone he really cares about.
TV Guide Magazine: So her apparent interest in Eric isn't real?
Bell: She is all about Wyatt right now.
TV Guide Magazine: Now that Rick and Caroline are happy, where's the drama? Ditto with Maya and Carter?
Bell: I really want to explore more of Caroline as a Spencer — as Liam's cousin and Bill's niece — and get her more involved with her family. And Rick will have Ridge's return to deal with. Ridge will be making a lot of noise when he comes back to town and is very demanding. Rick is president of the company now but, with Ridge here, there's going to be a question of who's really in charge. Meanwhile, Eric is going to be very happy Ridge is back. As for Maya and Carter, I'm going to bring someone into that relationship and challenge them with a crush. It's going to be a very surprising love triangle.
TV Guide Magazine: What's up with this Aly character? She's certainly an odd bird and quickly developed a mad jones for Liam. Will she go psycho?
Bell: [Laughs] No, Quinn has cornered that market! Aly is just a teenager with a crush, a sweet, young Forrester who is shadowing Hope but forming her own opinions. At first, she adores Hope but then she starts to see some flaws in her character. Maybe there's a bit of jealousy there. We'll see where that goes.
TV Guide Magazine: There's been buzz you may recast Karen, Joanna Johnson's role. What's the deal?
Bell: Joanna is doing so well writing and producing The Fosters that's it's been difficult to work around her schedule. I wanted her to be there for Rick and Caroline's wedding. It was supposed to be a much bigger event but without the bride's mother it would have been very strange, so we did more of a quickie impromptu marriage. I hope to have Joanna back but, if she continues to be unavailable, I will have to hire someone else.
TV Guide Magazine: Karen is a legacy character. If you're willing to recast, you must see some strong story potential.
Bell: I do. The Spencer family has been a big hit for us and Katie is CEO because Karen believed in her. Karen could bring a lot to the show, especially in her relationship with Bill. She sided against him during the fight for the company, so there are great things to explore there. Whether it's Joanna or not, we'll have much more Karen in the future.
TV Guide Magazine: Hey, congrats on TVGN airing B&B replays. About damn time! Yours was the only daytime soap not getting encores somewhere. Why did you never show up on SoapNet?
Bell: We had some issues with SoapNet and, for a while there, we were trying to iron them out but when it looked like the channel was starting to lose steam, the whole thing lost momentum. This TVGN situation is much better for us. We're now the lead-in to [replays of] The Young and the Restless. [Laughs] I like that! This is long overdue and I know we will perform well there. After a decade of decline, it's great to see serious growth for all the soaps. It was so gloomy there for awhile. Now it feels like the sky's the limit. [Laughs] Who knows? Maybe there will be a new soap someday!