Y&R's Bell Talks The Web!

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Soap fans rejoiced when word spread that the cancelled ABC dramas ALL MY CHILDREN and ONE LIFE TO LIVE would find a new home on the Internet thanks to Prospect Park. "I was brought up on TV, so if I had an option, I'd watch shows on TV," admits THE YOUNG & THE RESTLESS' Lauralee Bell (ex-Christine). "But I watch my kids, and they grab their computer when they want to watch something. It's funny. It's a whole different mentality today. I talk to so many people who watch Y&R now on the Internet."

Bell knows something about what she speaks. After all, not only is she the daughter of one of the pioneers of daytime, the late Y&R and THE BOLD & THE BEAUTIFUL creator William Bell, but she's spent the last couple of years exploring the Internet by launching two Web series, FAMILY DINNER and JUST OFF RODEO. "Do I think soaps have this brand new survival by being on the Internet? Absolutely!" she declares. "For all we know, they may get a different kind of viewer or bigger viewership. It's trial and error at this point. I know a lot of people who have a TV in the same room their computer is, and they're watching a lot of stuff off their computer."

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Still, the actress-turned-web-entrepreneur warns that it would be a mistake to think the transition is going to be easy. "That's when the loyalty of fans will really be put to the test, because it's asking someone to change their routine," she points out. "For some people that's a huge leap. Others will be fine. We'll see. I don't think it's too much to ask, as long as it's made easy for them."

In fact, simplicity is the philosophy behind Bell's latest Internet venture, JUST OFF RODEO. She recently launched the third installment of the Web series, a sitcom where viewers can actually purchase some of the fashions and products worn by the characters on the show. "I want the shopping made simple," Bell insists. "This is for people who really do love the characters they watch, and if they've ever been interested in having something the characters have, it's a tiny click away. You don't have to go back and forth to find the item. There's no struggle. It's very simple."

That's why Bell is shying away from putting the Web series on YouTube -- at least for now. "If we put it on YouTube, you lose seeing the items [for sale] right underneath the show," she explains. "On YouTube, they could watch the episode but forget about the 'buy' factor. It's important for this to be all in one frame to get the whole concept. It's very important for me to do this right. If you watched it on YouTube, you might not go to the JUST OFF RODEO Web site. I don't want this back and forth. I really do want the shopping to be made simple. I just hope people give it a shot. It's fun entertainment!"

For more information or to view the webisodes, visit www.justoffrodeo.com.

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