In the age of social media -- where it's damn near impossible to keep any television-related news a secret -- soap operas have had to amp up their efforts to keep huge storyline twists under lock and key. And The Bold and the Beautiful perfected the art earlier this month: the CBS soap sent shock waves through the entertainment industry when Kimberlin Brown unexpectedly (and we mean completely unexpectedly) showed up on screen as blast-from-the-past Sheila Carter. The huge surprise is still having a ripple effect, and the show's executive producer, Bradley Bell, says the fun is just beginning.
"[A surprise like this is] so hard to do these days, but it was worth the extra effort. We gave Kimberlin Brown a code name, snuck her into CBS incognito every day and swore the cast and crew to secrecy," he tells TV Insider. "There's nothing quite like a jaw-dropping soap surprise, so it's good to know it's still possible to pull one off, especially in this era of social media. I'm very excited to have Kimberlin back. [Laughs] She knows how to give good tag."
But the road to this moment was long and hard. Sheila hasn't been on B&B for fourteen years, and let's not forget (or rather, let's all forget) that storyline on The Young and the Restless when Sheila had plastic surgery to look like Michelle Stafford.
"I honestly thought that the days of Sheila Carter were over, especially because of her last [storyline] on Y&R; that seemed like way too much to deal with, so I really didn't give Sheila much thought for quite a while," he admits. "That Y&R story was so...uh...[long pause]... original! So we are focusing solely on what previously happened with Sheila on B&B. That's my universe and the only way I can embrace the character right now. What happened in Genoa City stays in Genoa City."
That being said, he has considered the possibilities of a crossover storyline with B&B's sister soap, especially now that Y&R has brought back Lauren's son, Scotty (Daniel Hall).
"Sheila was completely obsessed with him. So, yeah, there is definite potential there," he muses. "We may do something; I'm not ruling it out."
At the moment, however, the drama will stay on B&B. And boy is there drama!
"This is a big arc," Bell teases of what's to come. "We will watch it closely and hope for success. We all thought Stephanie (Susan Flannery) was pretty bad, but now that Eric (John McCook) is caught between Sheila and Quinn (Rena Sofer), Stephanie's looking like a pussycat. I think we have all the ingredients for a great, long story. Yes, it looks like we've brought back the devil, but Sheila's first moves on the show have been good. She even thinks Quinn is a great person and she's really happy Eric married her. But then Sheila will learn more about Quinn and what she's been up to and suddenly it's, ‘Hmm...maybe Quinn isn't so wonderful after all. Maybe Eric needs my help.' So she and Quinn will become rivals."
For more on Sheila's future, check out Bell's full B&B interview at TV Insider.
What do you think about Sheila’s return storyline? What would you like to see in the months ahead? Would you love to see B&B and Y&R do a crossover storyline, or would you prefer Sheila stick to B&B? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.