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'The Young and the Restless': Change could threaten 25-year ratings dominance

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Public choice of 'The Young and the Restless' as the best modern incarnation of the old 'soap opera' is undisputed. But, will the CBS' steamer be able to retain its crown in 2014 after a number of key cast departures were announced this year?

Standing atop the daytime drama ratings world for even two consecutive years would be impressive. Reigning for a
Quarter-Century is rather remarkable and is fully connected to the strength of the entire CBS' ensemble.

Jeannie Cooper's indelible portrayal of 'Katherine Chancellor' will forever remain a masterpiece. Cooper's real-life death was beautifully coupled with her on-screen character's final exit. The writing staff's choice to honor the influence of 'Katherine' within this fall's scripts offered everyone, both fans and staff alike, a meaningful way to work through their feelings about the loss of a loved one.

The pause of 'Phyllis Summers (et al)' was Michelle Stafford's choice. No one should blame her for wanting to explore other career opportunities. That type of business decision is regularly made by many successful actors throughout their careers. Plus, the option of (literally) reviving her alter-ego in the future obviously remains open.

Eric Braeden recently dubbed Billy Miller “The best Billy Boy” in his opinion. Miller's six-year run as 'Billy Abbott' included numerous strong plot lines and will end with his most passionate character turn. The 'Delia Dies' story line should easily earn him an Emmy nomination.

Then, there's the as yet unexplained information surrounding Michael Muhney's sudden departure. While various sources, including Muhney himself, have offered some details about this highly-unexpected development, it's too soon to know what really happened. Subtracting the definitive 'Adam Newman' from Genoa City seems certain to affect a percentage of the show's fan base after Muhney's last appearance next month.

The 2013 television season saw the traditional networks (CBS, ABC and NBC) generate some of their highest daytime ratings in awhile. As to whether the forces behind 'The Young and the Restless” will be able to retain its regular million-plus viewer lead over number 2-ranked spinoff 'The Bold and The Beautiful' could become one of 2014's more compelling scenes.

Follow Sean by clicking on the word 'Subscribe' aside of his photo. Connect with him through social media via Twitter @SeanyOB, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and read his blog Insight.

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