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'The Young and the Restless': Paul Williams' shooting shakes soap's foundation

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Doug Davidson has portrayed 'Paul Williams' on the 'The Young and the Restless' since 1978. The unexpected shooting of his character surely shakes the foundation of Genoa City. Based upon numerous off-screen issues, fans may wonder if YR's longest tenured star is under the chopping block?

Devotees of this CBS' sudser easily recall when 'Phyllis' ran 'Paul' and 'Christine' down with her car many years ago. 'Red' went free, even after her crime was revealed because the hit-and-run incident couldn't be fully proven. The same isn't likely to be the case this time around, as 'Austin' surely can't escape rightful justice.

The death of beloved YR veteran Jeanne Cooper (and her alter ego 'Katherine Chancellor') last year made 'Williams' GC's de facto mayor. Davidson's 1978 debut was followed by more than 2,500 episodes, which clearly makes his enduring career within the medium one to be deeply admired.

After playing through a terrific storyline with future nighttime star Eva Longoria ('Isabella Brana') more than a decade ago, Williams' scenes with Peter Porte (who portrayed the son of 'Isabella' and 'Paul', as 'Ricky Williams' in 2011 and 2012) were masterful. Often working everyman roles on YR, Williams isn't a vanilla star.

The acting range Davidson displayed through the self-defense murder of his own son was consistent and complete. Confirmation of Williams' fine ability followed when he was rightly honored as daytime's Outstanding Lead Actor last year.

Ironically, just as 'Christine' recently decided that she was open to having her first child with her husband, the GC Chief of Police has now come under the gun. Tense days clearly lie ahead for these Midwestern characters and for the fans across the soap world who are watching them.

YR shifted various storylines back to core characters so far this year. The strategy seems directly aimed at retaining hardcore audience members, though the show's ratings have continued to slip precipitously toward the 4 million daily viewer line.

Fans, be they seasoned, new or somewhere in between, will always respond to well-written story arcs that allow favored players to fully express their natural talents. Addictive viewing habits are often formed when the right blend of longtime characters and rising stars create new dramatic viewing opportunities. With all of that in mind, let's hope that 'Paul' and the show he lives within remain alive indefinitely.

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