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Maria Arena Bell
March 10, 1963
|Known for||Former executive producer and head writer of The Young and the Restless|
|Spouse(s)||William J. Bell, Jr.|
Maria Arena Bell (born March 10, 1963) is an American novelist, television and freelance writer. She is the former head writer and executive producer of the CBS Daytime soap opera The Young and the Restless.
Maria Arena Bell grew up in Newport Beach, California. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art History from Northwestern University and did post graduate work in 19th Century Art. She began her career as a fashion designer for a major Los Angeles based garment manufacturer. In 1988, legendary writer William J. Bell hired Maria Arena for his then-new soap opera The Bold and the Beautiful (1987-). There, she created the character of Sally Spectra who was loosely based on her step-father who worked in the Los Angeles garment industry and also provided design sketches as well as supervising the production relating to the fashion industry. After leaving The Bold and the Beautiful, Maria Arena Bell developed television formats for CBS and NBC. She also worked as an essayist for publications such as "T" the New York Times Style Magazine, "C" Magazine, Aspen Magazine, and Aspen Peak Magazine. Bell returned to daytime television in December 2007 and was ultimately named sole head writer and became one of the show's executive producers alongside legendary soap producer Paul Rauch. Her tenure was considered a creative resurgence putting fan favorites like Jeanne Cooper back to the fore front and led to the return of several cast and crew members and the greatest lead in the show's history over other soaps in key demographics.. In 2011, she was awarded a Daytime Emmy Award alongside her writing team, in addition to a total of 6 nominations as writer and producer on the show. After her departure from The Young and the Restless, Bell founded the production company Vitameatavegamin Productions. There she is developing limited series, animated series, and films with her writing partner Marla Kanelos. She is a professor at Harvard University in their Extension Program teaching a class entitled "The Pilot and Serialized Storytelling." She is involved philanthropically in arts education organizations and is the former chair of PS Arts, The Museum of Contemporary Art and for a decade Americans For The Arts National Arts Awards and other organizations.
The Young and the Restless writing team won the WGA Award for Best Daytime Serial in February 2010 and again in 2013 for work airing under Bell's tenure. In 2011, Bell, along with her writing team, won the Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series Writing Team. In December 2012 Bell was honored with the Women's Image Network Humanitarian Award for her contributions to arts and arts education.
The Bold and the Beautiful (credited as Maria Arena)
- Script Writer: 1989–1992
- Fashion Consultant: 1989
- Script Writer: 1990-92
- Co-head writer: December 26, 2007 - April 21, 2008 (with Josh Griffith) (chose financial core status during the WGA strike)
- Head writer: April 22, 2008 – October 22, 2012 (with Hogan Sheffer: 7/15/08-10/22/12) (with Scott Hamner: 8/11/08-10/22/12) (with Josh Griffith: 10/11/12-10/22/12)
- Co-Executive Producer (with Paul Rauch: October 3, 2008 – May 10, 2011)
- Executive Producer May 11, 2011 – October 22, 2012
- "The Young and the Restless Wins WGA Award For Daytime Drama". Archived from the original on 2013-03-25.
- Fairman, Michael (February 21, 2010). "Y&R wins WGA award for Best Daytime Serial!". Michael Fairman On Air - On Soaps.
- "Women's Image Network".