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Former ‘Y&R’ Showrunner Maria Arena Bell Calls Michael Muhney’s Exit a Result of ‘Problematic Storytelling Decisions’

Pictured: Maria Arena at 2013 MOCA Gala; Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty

The Young and the Restless’ former head writer and executive producer, Maria Arena Bell, weighed in on the unexpected exit of fan favorite Michael Muhney as Adam Newman in the new edition of Soap Opera Digest.

Bell, who served as showrunner from late 2007 until her firing in 2012, hired  Muhney to replace Chris Engen in the role of Adam in 2009. While she had nothing but praise for Muhney’s talents, she sharply criticized her successors for botching Adam & Sharon’s storyline, implying his exit is emblematic of the new regime’s creative problems

“Michael brought amazing dimension and complexity to the role of Adam Newman, and his and Sharon’s [Sharon Case] was a great dark love story,” said Bell exclusively to Soap Opera Digest. “Sadly, that story was seriously derailed in the last year, so I am not surprised that the show would look for a solution to their problematic storytelling decisions. It will be a tough role to recast.”

Whether or not one agrees with her criticism, it’s rather tasteless and unprofessional for a former executive to criticize the work of their successors. And considering Maria Arena Bell’s own “problematic storytelling decisions” during Young and the Restless tenure and subsequent mystification regarding her termination, keeping it mute might have been best.

Ryan White-Nobles
Ryan White-Nobles is Editor-in-Chief of TV Source Magazine. He's began covering entertainment and soap operas in 2005. In 2009 he co-launched Soap Opera Source, and led the TV Source rebrand in 2012. He's a natural #Heel who loves a spirited debate and probably watches too much TV. Follow him on Twitter at @SourceRyan to discuss all things TV, soaps, sports, wrestling and pop culture.

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  1. While MAB was not great she was excellent in building a story and involving everyone in the process instead of these stories that have the characters self contained like the Lauren/Michael/Fen thing and she wasn’t afraid to mine the shows long history either. In the beginning she was left with the task of undoing correcting the character and show history changing stories that the people who were sent in after the Bell family was pushed out in the early 2000s had left behind. She did not make an abrupt overnight change. She gradually worked the stories out and took us back to the correct history that we know and loved and she actually made me care again. Now when JFP showed up it was literally such a hard instant shift it hurt- Phyllis was finally in trouble for her past sins and in one episode she is washed and set free, Pauls story with Rick vanishes, Nikki and Victor are back, the ranch is torched all in a day because instead of finishing telling that take she was in a rush to move on and we the fans were robbed. The memorial for Katherine would have had more heart has MAB still been there she the will would have been juicier. MABs greatest accomplishment was how she tied the Adam baby snatching story the Patty/Emily tale and the Sarah Smythe all into one huge thing in the end and they all crashed together at once. That was amazing story telling regardless of the insanity of them all.

  2. Michael Muhney’s exit is horrid for this show. He was the most intriguing character to watch, and one of the best actors on the show. Jill Farren Phelps has only brought down viewership with her same old stale storylines (i.e. kidnappings, kids being run over, dual personalities, etc. etc). She has also been playing way too much musical chairs with couples. At least the Bells told some great love stories & kept to family themes which is why their ratings were much higher when the Bells were in charge. JHP wanted to rid of Michael Muhney so she can bring on her favorites. Slowly but surely, she’s bringing them over.

  3. Huh? This doesn’t add up, he’s in the middle of a front/center storyline involving the hit/run of a child what is problematic about that? These aren’t real people trapped in fiction you just simply write him out of the problem.

    Sorry Maria I’m not drinking this kool-aid…so come again? I read rumors re: sexual harassment. If true, this is just a cover story because they wouldn’t say that so they’ve glossed it over with this nonsensical gibberish..

  4. she’d better keep her mouth shut she reuind sharon and the abbots

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