Two years ago, Emmy-winning actress Susan Flannery caused some fans' hearts to skip a beat when she hinted that she might consider retirement "in another year or so." Now, an upcoming storyline, in which Stephanie Forrester learns that she has cancer, has renewed fears that Flannery might be on her way out.
In recent months, The Bold and the Beautiful has caught even the most jaded soap fans off-guard with its surprise cliffhangers. Somehow the show's writers have managed to keep the biggest plot twists and turns from the media -- and everyone else. Now the world's most-watched soap opera has another potential stunner on its hands -- the departure of an Emmy-winning original cast member.
Though it seems unfathomable, there are rumblings that Susan Flannery
) might soon be exiting B&B. The panic was generated by a newly published interview by TVGuide
's Michael Logan. Logan recently sat down with Bradley Bell, the executive producer and head writer of The Bold and the Beautiful, to discuss the show's upcoming fall storylines. One of the soap's biggest stories will involve Stephanie's diagnosis with stage-four lung cancer.
"I wanted to create the biggest mountain possible for Stephanie to overcome," Bell said in the TVGuide
interview. "It's the weightiest, most intimate and difficult thing she has ever had to wrestle with and to have to share it with Brooke is torture. This is a story about a highly functioning woman that will delve deeply into issues of self-worth and denial. But it's not going to be morbid or depressing. Stephanie is determined to party right into her grave. It'll be a hell of a lot of fun to watch."
While viewers know that soap world maladies often don't meet with the same outcome as medical troubles in the real-world, the prognosis for Stephanie certainly isn't optimistic. A real-world median life expectancy for a stage-four lung cancer diagnosis is about eight months. Less than ten-percent of patients are expected to be alive five years after the initial diagnosis.
But would Bell really write out the three-time Emmy-winning Flannery? It may not be his decision to make.
In February 2008
, Flannery said in an interview that she was beginning to think about a post-acting life.
"I'd like to leave in another year or so," Flannery told Australia's Ten Network. "You know, you're in the grave a long time, and it's nice to be able to do other things, so I'm seriously considering it. "
For his part, Bell called Flannery "unpredictable," but said that he hoped the actress would continue to be a part of the B&B cast.
Susan Flannery is an original castmember, and has been with The Bold and the Beautiful since the show debuted on March 23, 1987.