CBS soap opera fans are ecstatic about the news that the cast and crew of The Bold and the Beautiful went back to work on Monday, June 15, which means new material is finally on the way. Deadline reports that B&B is actually the first U.S. broadcast series -- and possibly the first scripted series on American soil -- to return to pre-production on stage. But how did the daytime drama become the first in the country to get back up and running, and what specific behind-the-scenes changes have been made in order for official filming to resume on Wednesday, June 17?
In an upcoming Soap Opera Digest article, B&B executive producer and head writer Bradley Bell reveals that the show began overhauling its studio to accommodate social distancing some time ago.
"We've been at the studio and we've totally revamped the control room and the hair and makeup room," he shares. "We've got plastic dividers up and six feet distance between everyone in the booth. We're going over all the precautions with the studio heads."
B&B cast member John McCook (Eric Forrester) adds that actors will be shooting their scenes differently than they've done in the past.
"Now if there are four people in a scene, we're not shooting all four of them at a time," McCook explains. "We don't want four actors on the set at once, so we'll be shooting two people, and then they'll reverse and shoot the other two people. So, it's like doing a one-camera show, or doing film. I imagine it's going to be a little difficult at first, but I am just so glad we're coming back!"
As Soap Central previously reported, California guidelines released last week allowed film and television shows to resume production on Friday, June 12, as long as COVID-19 safety protocols were in place. For a list of the required protocols that heavily affect soap opera production, click here.
As for how the actors feel about returning to work at B&B, Don Diamont (Bill Spencer) and Katherine Kelly Lang (Brooke Logan) both shared enthusiasm and excitement on social media. Wrote Lang, "So excited to be going back to work this week!! My first day back after 4 months is on Thursday! I am soooo happy!! I had to take off my mask for the photo so you could see me smile @boldandbeautifulcbs here we come! Let's do this! Protocol and all!"
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So excited to be going back to work this week!! My first day back after 4 months is on Thursday! I am soooo happy!! I had to take off my mask for the photo so you could see me smile😃😃😃😃 @boldandbeautifulcbs here we come! Let's do this! Protocol and all! #boldandbeautiful #cbsdaytime
UPDATE (June 17, 2020): Brad Bell did an interview with the Hollywood Reporter and went into greater detail about how B&B will be filming intimate scenes and love scenes under the COVID-19 guidelines. He explains that the show will be relying on its directors to use camera tricks, and the real-life spouses of actors will sometimes be employed as stand-ins.
"[Actors will] shoot eight feet apart, following all the safety standards, but use the tricks of the business. We'll shoot one side of the couple in a romantic scene alone in the room, but looking at a spot very close to them, and then shoot the other side alone. When we edit it together, it will look like they're nose to nose," Bell reveals. "We're also bringing in, in some cases, the husbands and wives of the actors as stand-ins for their [characters'] significant others. So if you see hands touching faces in close proximity from a wide shot, instead of a stunt double we'll have a love-scene double, where it will be the husband or the wife doing the actual touching. Then when we edit it together, it will look like our couple on screen."
He also explains that B&B will also heavily rely on "some of the classic, old-fashioned tricks of soap opera, where when things heat up, we pan to the fireplace or pan to a candle to indicate things are getting hot [laughs]. All in all, I think a lot of it will be done with the eyes and the voice, and there can still be love in the air and romance on the screen from a safe distance."
As for when viewers can expect to see new B&B material on their screens, the executive producer says it'll be sooner than most fans might think.
"We've eaten up our pad -- usually at this time we have a month or a month and a half between tape and air," he says. "That's disappeared now, so I think after a week or so of filming we're going to turn it around and be on the air within a few weeks. It'll be quick."
What do you think about some of the changes B&B has made to safely resume production? What do you think about the cast and crew of the CBS soap getting back to work? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.