How 'The Bold and the Beautiful' Is Following COVID-19 Precautions as It Returns to Production (Exclusive)

From production changes to spouses as stand-ins, the long-running soap has a few tricks up its sleeve as cast and crew return to work!

Soap operas like The Bold and the Beautiful are returning to production amid the coronavirus pandemic. In doing so, they're leading the way in terms of setting new standards for health and safety on set.

"We started a month before we got back, putting in plexiglass between the directors and producers, reorganizing our whole stage," B&B executive producer Brad Bell tells ET's Matt Cohen. "We're limiting the number of people on stage to a very low number, and then when the actors come and their masks come off, that's when we go on high alert... We're filming two shows a day, and we're feeling very comfortable, very safe."

Bell explains that the biggest changes to the show have included physical health and safety measures -- like regular temperature checks and the presence of on-set health care coordinators -- as well as rethinking the way they structure scenes. Large group scenes are out for now, with most scenes involving just one or two actors, the use of mannequins and other aids to keep sight lines consistent, and some unique production tactics to keep the performers safe during intimate scenes.

"We're having [the actors] act while looking at something that's very close," he describes. "It brings their voice down, brings their eyes to the right spot. And then when you edit both sides together, you've got a very intimate scene."

For actual kissing scenes, the show has even had actors' spouses stand in for tight, intimate shots. "We are wigging them, we're matching wardrobe and makeup. Once in a while, if you look closely, you'll see a sideburn is a little longer, when they get in tight on that kiss," Bell reveals. "But that may be part of the fun of watching these shows, is trying to catch us as we're trying to pull a fast one with these romantic scenes."

Even Denise Richards, who joined the series last year as Shauna Fulton, has had husband Aaron Phypers stand in for a love scene on the show.

"We were asked if our significant other would step in," Richards explains. "Otherwise I have to have my love scene with a mannequin, which is fine, but I'd much rather my husband."

While the B&B stars are certainly having to adjust to their new normal, they're thrilled to do whatever it takes to be back in the world of the Forresters.

"It can be a little difficult at times, when you want to go to reach to touch someone," admits Jacqueline MacInnes Wood, who stars as fashion executive Steffy Forrester on the long-running series. "But we are actors and you morph and you make it work... I know it sounds so weird and crazy, but these things happen all the time on set. I mean, look at CGI, you have to act [opposite something that's not there]. We have to fake things all the time. So it can seem weird, but everyone's really professional."

"I wish we said physical distancing [instead of social distancing], because I don't want to forget about being social and chatting with people, even though we are away from each other," she adds. "The cast and crew, I've been on the show since 2008, and they are my second family, so it is important for me to be with my family and be present for them -- the community is so important."

The newest member of the B&B family is Tanner Novlan, who joins the show this week as Dr. John "Finn" Finnegan, a potential new love interest for Steffy. And while he's new to the show, he has a bit of a leg up: His mom is a "huge" fan of the show -- she named their dog Thorne! -- and his wife, Kayla Ewell, is a Bold and the Beautiful alum!

"It has just been an added bonus to have a veteran like her to be able to run lines with or have some sort of idea," Novlan says of having a family connection to the show. "But everyone at Bold is so comfortable and so, so giving. It's such a family, and [Jacqueline's] the best, she's awesome to work opposite of."

"We haven't shot any [intimate] scenes yet," he notes, "but it kind of works for me at home, because if I ever want to schmooze on my wife, I can just say, 'Hey, honey, I need to rehearse with you -- this is protocol!'"

For now, the show is doing its best to stay safe while still providing fans with the entertainment they love.

"We feel like we're TV pioneers and we're all in it together," Bell says. "You would think there might be moments of awkwardness, but there really isn't. We're just all in it together. We're TV people and we're happy to be making TV again."

The Bold and the Beautiful airs weekdays on CBS.



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