"'Dynasty' in many ways was the quintessential television show of the 1980s," it had been said. "We're convinced that there is a large and loyal audience eager to see how Blake, Krystle and Alexis are faring in the 1990s." During the Reagan-era 1980s, Blake Carrington, Krystle Grant and Alexis Morrell were household names. Some 40 million viewers each week watched the 'Dynasty' expression of Ronald Reagan Administration values. The 'Dynasty' name was also licensed to about 25 luxury products such as the Forever Krystle perfume and the men's fragrance Carrington which grossed over $40 million in 1987.

Sales Associate: Have you decided on anything Mrs Carrington?

Claudia: Yes. I think I'll take the mink. And I'll take the full length fox and the Saymoon 3 jackets, the chinchilla, the ling and the Perlman.

Sales Associate: That's 3 coats and 3 jackets?

Claudia: I believe that's what I've said. Yes.

Sales Associate: Along with the chinchilla muff and the two persian lamb ski hats?

Claudia: Are you in the business of counting or are you in the business of selling?

"We sort of anticipated the Reagan era, viscerally," Esther Shapiro explained. "We picked up on the glitz and glamor of it, we predicted what would happen with the stock market years before it happened. The pomp and circumstance, the new wealth - all of that was reflected. It's a visceral feeling I have, a gut certainty. 'Dynasty' paralleled the Reagan years - in fact, we came on the air the first week he was in office. It reflected his Administration's unapologetic attention to money, to Wall Street, to affluence."

By 1988, "The country has changed. The 'feel good' times are over. I think the stock-market crash and the fact that foreign investors have bought a huge amount of American property has changed the way people think about themselves. It seems that a good deal of our own country is getting away from us. And when you have that sort of situation, you don't want to think about glitz. You turn inward. You think about your home, your job, your kids, your one-to-one relationships. I don't think you can do anything on television that flies in the face of that.'' 

In the 1990s, Aaron Spelling believed, "I just think the time for the young shows has come." However "I think that 'Round Table,' for example, has a lot more realism than '90210'. I mean, the young Washington professionals in 'Round Table' don't live in Beverly Hills. They can't call mom and dad when they're in trouble. They are not all wealthy. In 'Round Table,' the characters know what they want. How to get it is their problem. I think in 'Melrose Place,' they don't know what the hell they want yet. All they talk about is getting through the next day." 'The Round Table' on NBC examined a generation of young professionals starting their careers in Washington. 

"I learned one hard lesson in 'Beverly Hills, 90210' and I've been apologizing ... We do not have a good ethnic mix in '90210'. We all live in an ethnic mix society, and to not depict it makes no sense ... When they go to college, though, you will see that we will have an ethnic cast in '90210.'" At its peak in 1984, Aaron Spelling remarked, "I don't know that a little cotton candy, if we have to use that term, relaxing the mind, is bad for people who are worried about paying their rent and their grocery bills and their gasoline costs or about not being able to pay for a home." 

Growing up during the Depression, "We didn't have television then, of course, but we did have movies. My sister would die to see what Ginger Rogers was wearing in her latest movie. And she would rush home to tell my dad, who was a tailor, and he'd make that dress. We lived in a fantasy world because it was the only escape we had. And I think when times - whether that would be a recession, whether that would be problems in the Gulf, whether that would be the potential obliteration of all of us - are bad, escape is tremendous. I think it's a good valve to release tensions. That's what I have never apologized for."

''I belong to American Women's Economic Development, a group that deals with women entrepreneurs,'' Esther Shapiro stated. ''Five years ago (in 1983), there were 80,000 of us. Now (in 1988) there are 5 million. In the late 1980s and 1990s, we'll be more interested in the workplace, in real one-to-one relationships between women and men - especially with women working in roles that are equal or superior to men. You couldn't do that until recently. In the early '80s, to my way of thinking, Alexis laid the groundwork. She was in charge of things in a fantasy kind of way. But now (in 1988) that it's starting to really happen, we can do it in a real way on the screen.''

By 1988, 'The Young and the Restless' topped the daytime ranking as the most popular soap opera on television. With the popular Nadia's theme opened proceedings, 'The Young and the Restless', as John Kelly Genovese observed, was "a throwback to the grand old days of soap opera. Its stories are more riveting because they are almost always rooted in character motivation, rather than ill-conceived plot tricks.

"In general, characters act and react for clearly defined reasons having to do with what and who they are. Character moves plot. Much of its identity has to do with its rhythm, a show's combination of pacing and overall tone. Scenes usually involve no more than 5 people, and in most cases only 2 or 3; close-ups and medium shots but with wider and overhead shots used only for maximum climatic effect.

"There is far more sitting and standing than there is flowing movement from one end of a set to another. Scenes are long. Constructions are built meticulously and to an often walloping intensity. Pregnant pauses are common, not due to under-scripting but rather to insure maximum tension. Characters restate their positions 2, maybe 3 times within a scene. And they are not talking in circles, either – they are speaking as people really speak."

It was understood such gradually building intensity was part of William Bell's long-term storytelling and audiences "flocked to a world in which idealism and romance triumphed over all." Speaking to Sherry Bryant Johnson in 1986, Bill Bell made the point, "The Brookses and the Fosters would still be the central families to this day (1973-1986) if we hadn't had so many defections. There were too many young actors who made their career decisions, and after X number of years on the program they felt they wanted to go off and try something else. So people did that and we'd recast the parts.

"The final one was when Jaime Lyn Bauer said that she really wanted to leave. I just felt that the time had come to, in effect, create a new show within the existing show. Paul Williams was a very marginal character at that time, Jack Abbott was a very marginal character at that time. Neither of them had families ... I built a family around each of them and within 6 months' time, I changed the emphasis from the Brookses and Fosters to the Williamses and the Abbotts and we never lost a share point."

The 3 years Douglas Marland had worked on 'Guiding Light', he insisted, "I never has any stories I wanted to tell that weren't approved and I was never asked to tell any that I didn't want to tell." Bill Bell maintained the goal of creating characters was "only if it furthered the story." In creating, Bill Bell looked for the depth and dimensions of the character and "another important element to the character's development is his back story."

As an example in 1986, "With Lindsey (Wells) we wanted to tell the deep and emotional story of a girl, who, at 18, fell in love with Jack (Abbott). He made promises to her and never kept them. Never hearing from Jack again traumatized her life. Years later, working as a management trainee at Jabot Cosmetics, Lindsey, quite accidentally, came back into Jack's life. Although she still loved Jack, her love was outweighed by the hurt and resentment she experienced as a result of his abandonment."

Bill Bell also made known, "Nikki was the last character we wanted pregnant. I would've preferred seeing Stuart Brooks pregnant! We had just started a long-term story between Nikki and Victor Newman. Since there's so much movement on the soaps today (by 1986), we knew we couldn't shoot around Melody's pregnancy (actress Melody Thomas Scott). So that meant Nikki had to be pregnant, too. We wanted the baby to be Victor's but we needed a decoy.

"At around the same time we had hired Chris Holder to play Kevin Bancroft, a possible suitor for Nikki. The character was a one-shot. Since Chris gave a very appealing performance, we decided to bring back his character in a helluva hurry. We pre-taped some flashbacks that showed they'd been intimate and then introduced Kevin's parents. The revised storyline lasted more than 2 years and was very successful."

Bill Bell stressed, "You use the character to tell the story and its success depends on the strength of concept of that character. Two of our most popular actors were leaving. Jaime Lyn Bauer, who played Laurie Brooks, and David Hasselhoff, who played Snapper Foster. With their departure, we decided it was time to bite the bullet, do a little house cleaning and introduce two new families.

"We already had Jack Abbott, but all you ever saw of him was his office and bedroom. We also slowly brought in the Williams family. With the Abbotts, the key casting was the father. Once he was cast we built the set used for the Abbotts' house. Then we went after Ashley and Traci, carefully fleshing out the family. Jack was involved with Patti Williams, so the two families touched. Within a period of a year we created an entire new show. The audience supported what we were doing, as indicated by the ratings, which shot way up."

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