Over the weekend, the news broke that original cast member Ronn Moss would be leaving The Bold And The Beautiful after more than two decades. It came as a huge shock to fans, and series head writer Bradley Bell recently sat down with TV Guide to discuss both the circumstances behind Moss' departure and where the show goes from here.
On how big of a blow Moss' exit is to the show -
"It's huge. And it came out of the blue. I only found out last Thursday [Aug. 9] about Ronn's decision not to renew. So I'm very sad but also very grateful for the 25 years we did have with him. Ronn is a wonderful man and a great actor and he'll be sorely missed."
On whether Moss had given any prior indication he wanted to leave -
"Well, I did have a plan in place because when it's contract time you have to be prepared. It's always possible things won't work out but I did not think Ronn's departure was probable. There was a point in the negotiations where I was not hearing back from him, so just in case I went ahead and wrote a wedding for Ridge and Brooke — a real retrospective sort of wedding that honors the characters' 25-year relationship — and then I have them take off on a honeymoon. I've been in this business long enough to know I have to protect my show. The worst thing happened but at least I was prepared."
On the rumor that Moss left over a salary dispute -
"I will just say that I'm very proud of the offer we made to Ronn, especially in this day and age of daytime television and what's going on in our industry."
On what other reasons Moss might have had for leaving -
"Well, Ronn has an announcement to make and that will be interesting for everyone, including me. I don't know what he has in mind."
On whether more originals will be leaving soon -
"No. I think Ronn's circumstances are unique. What happened here will not be widespread."
On B&B's future plans for the character of Ridge Forrester -
"Right now I can only tell you this: Ridge will not be dead or presumed dead. He will just not be in the picture. I don't want to do a presumed death because I don't want the story that follows to be all about Ridge. This will be a Brooke story. Ridge is a pivotal part of the show and he will be back in a matter of time...and probably not all that much time. I will continue writing for the character. I'm looking at this in two phases, really. There will be a period of time without Ridge, which is where some new, interesting avenues for Brooke will come into play. But at some point it will be necessary for Ridge to return to the show. Who will be playing the role at that point remains to be seen."
On whether a re-cast Ridge would be played might an actor younger than the 60-year-old Moss -
"I might go a little younger but we'll be true to the age range that's been established. I do have people in mind in terms of a recast — some very interesting people."
On the future of Brooke's character without Ridge -
"Once I got over the initial shock and disappointment of Ronn's decision, his departure almost immediately opened my mind to story ideas I would never have considered otherwise. What happens with Ridge will send Brooke down a new and exciting path. She and Ridge have been through so much over the 25 years of the show that I've felt an obligation to keep them happy and maintain them as a supercouple. But now that's coming to an abrupt ending and Brooke will have an important new man enter her life — the first important one since Nick [Jack Wagner]. This is going to be a full-on relationship."
And finally, he addressed the possibility that B&B's months-long focus on the Liam-Steffy-Hope love triangle might have led to Ronn feeling pushed to the side -
"I do not think this situation was purely financial. Ronn is a musician and an artist who really wants to explore what makes Ronn Moss tick. I can see the allure of wanting to spend more time with his music, and to really hone himself as a musician. He's a good, decent, very spiritual guy and he felt the spirit calling him in a different direction. It's hard to negotiate against that. You'd have to ask Ronn about his feelings about the [Liam-Steffy-Hope] story. Liam has become the front-and-center male on B&B, a spot long held by Ridge. Was that a frustration for Ronn? I don't really know. I do know that it's my job to keep B&B going forward. It's my job to use this situation to enhance Brooke and Taylor [Hunter Tylo] and Bill [Don Diamont] and especially Rick [Jacob Young] who is going to make his move on Ridge's company. The show must go on and I'm psyched — not because Ronn is going away but psyched because of how the fall of 2012 is now looking for B&B. If there was ever a good time for something like this to happen, this is it."
What do you think? Is Bell on the up and up here? Or is there something damaging he's not telling us?