Fans aren't the only ones clamoring for Lauralee Bell (Christine Williams) to return to The Young and the Restless. The show's executive producer, Maria Arena Bell -- who just happens to be Lauralee's sister-in-law -- reportedly calls the actress every two months to try to talk her into returning to Genoa City. While Bell doesn't rule out a return, the actress has been busy tending to other irons in the fire.
This month, Bell debuted in a new three-minute web series, Family Dinner, a project that was created and produced by her and her husband, Scott Martin. In the series, Bell plays Karen O'Connell, an attention-starved mother whose culinary skills... Well, just say that Rachael Ray and Paula Dean have nothing to worry about.
Family Dinner co-stars comedic genius Phyllis Diller (ex-Gladys, The Bold and the Beautiful), Dan Cortese, and Aaron Lustig (ex-Tim Reid, The Young and the Restless/The Bold and the Beautiful).
In an interview with Michael Fairman on Soaps, Bell reveals that the idea for Family Dinner has been simmering in the back of her mind for several years. The concept, she adds, came from the influence of her parents, legendary soap creators, Lee Phillip Bell and the late William J. Bell.
"I thought of it years ago and put in on the back burner," Bell says. "As time has gone by, I realized it was a one set feature with a low budget, which in this day is necessary. What my parents taught me is that a character-driven show will attract people, and you will get to know the characters and you don't need all the hoopla. If you have great actors and sit them down at the table, and get them involved in their lives, you have something there. It is a three-minute episode, with time to get to know the characters, and we will talk about different things. Everyone needs a good laugh. At the end of the day with these hard times, everyone goes back to his or her families, because that's all you got. And here is this crazy group. So, you can judge your family against this nutty family, and calculate how crazy your own family really is!"
Crazy group may be a bit of an understatement.
Bell's real-life family, however, seems to be a much more subdued group than her fictitious one. Her mother and father created The Young and the Restless and The Bold and the Beautiful, her brother is the executive producer and head writer of The Bold and the Beautiful, and her sister-in-law is the head writer for The Young and the Restless. In the interview with Michael Fairman, Bell also talks about brother Bradley's Daytime Emmy nominations for his work on The Bold and the Beautiful, and missing her father.
"I miss Dad more now then right when he passed away," Bell admits.
A new episode of Family Dinner is posted every Monday at www.familydinneronline.com