LOS ANGELES — Love, loss, breakups, makeups, murder, mayhem, backstabbing, social climbing. Forget about a lifetime, that's just an afternoon on "The Young and the Restless."

The CBS show, daytime's top-rated soap since December 1988, hits the big 4-0 on Tuesday.

No one from its debut on March 26, 1973 – when it was just 30 minutes long – remains with the show, but Jeanne Cooper arrived six months later and is the longest-tenured cast member in her role as grand dame Katherine Chancellor.

"God knows it's claimed a big part of my life," the 84-year-old actress said, citing good writing and likable characters as reasons for the show's continued success in an era of dwindling daytime audiences, network budget-cutting and the cancellation of other soaps.

"Its foundation was set so well and you had core characters that you could grow and become involved with," Cooper said. "As you got older, they got a year older. Whether you were wealthy or whatever your status is, our show hit the human being."

An influx of new, younger cast members has arrived since last year to stir the pot in Genoa City, Wis.

"It's an important time to start looking toward the future and the next generation," said Angelica McDaniel, senior vice president of daytime for CBS. "We're not going to rest on our laurels because we're No. 1."

Among the newbies is Lamon Archey, who, as Mason Wilder, gets to mix it up with Eric Braeden, now in his 33rd year playing ruthless tycoon Victor Newman.

"I was thrown in with the big dogs," Archey said. "The last thing I wanted to do was mess up my lines or not be on point. He knows what he wants to do. He gets on set and says, `Let's run this.'"

Angell Conwell plays attorney Leslie Michaelson, who keeps it strictly business with Braeden's character while getting frisky with businessman Neil Winters played by Kristoff St. John.

"It has its intimidating moments, but it forces you to rise to the challenge," said Conwell, who grew up watching the show with her family in South Carolina.

"They want you to do well," Redaric Williams, who plays Conwell's brother Tyler, said about the show's veterans.

Speaking of alpha-male Braeden, he and Nikki Newman, played by Melody Thomas Scott, recently married for the fourth time, giving the couple 27 weddings between them.

Behind the camera, Jill Farren Phelps took over as executive producer last fall after 11 years of overseeing ABC's "General Hospital," which marks its 50th anniversary next month.

"The greatest challenge when I first came in was to respect the history and legacy of this show. We don't make a decision without careful consideration," she said. "The heart of this show are the characters. The soul has always been the storytelling."

In January, Phelps brought in Steve Burton to play war veteran Dylan McAvoy three months after his long run on "General Hospital" had ended in part because he wanted to spend more time with his family in Nashville, Tenn. He commutes to Los Angeles for tapings.

Burton noticed a difference in how soaps are treated at CBS compared to ABC, which cancelled "All My Children" and "One Life to Live."

"'Young and Restless' means as much to CBS as `CSI' does and that's saying something," he said. "That all starts from the top down."

Although ratings have dipped, there appears little immediate chance that another show will overtake it soon, said Carolyn Hinsey, a veteran chronicler of daytime dramas and author of "Afternoon Delight: Why Soaps Still Matter."

"The average soap today costs about $40 million to produce," she said. "If the network can monetize that with multiple showings, like `Y&R' did with SOAPnet and CBS.com, then that's a great bang for their buck. There are no more loyal fans than soap fans."

The show is seen daily by an estimated 10 million viewers in such countries as Australia, Canada, France, Romania and South Africa.

McDaniel has been the driving force in keeping the show current by updating the sets, music and wardrobe, while bringing fans closer through video chats, getting the veterans to join their younger cast mates on Twitter, and cross-promoting "Young and Restless" on other CBS daytime shows. The network also airs "The Bold and the Beautiful."

That kind of effort should keep the show going for years to come, Hinsey said.

"ABC was not loyal to its (canceled) soaps, and did not try to monetize them or promote them," she said. "CBS has been very loyal to `Y&R' and `B&B,' especially lately. No new show is going to draw the millions of devoted eyeballs daily that `Y&R' has enjoyed for 40 years."

Head writer Josh Griffin is loath to give away upcoming story lines, but he promises that "we're going to get hotter and sexier and more romantic and suspenseful as the months go by."

Just the thing to while away an afternoon.

___

Online: www.cbs.com/daytime/yr

Loading Slideshow...
  • "666 Park Avenue"

    <strong>"666 Park Ave.," ABC</strong> <strong>Status</strong>: Canceled <strong>Why</strong>: <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/16/666-park-avenue-canceled_n_2147290.html">ABC pulled the plug</a> on this supernatural drama earlier in the season.

  • "The Bachelor"

    <strong>"The Bachelor," ABC</strong> <strong>Status</strong>: Renewed <strong>Why</strong>: While ratings may have dropped, "The Bachelor" will likely see another season on ABC as tabloids and viewers still care about the comings and goings of contestants.

  • "Body of Proof"

    <strong>"Body of Proof," ABC</strong> <strong>Status</strong>: Canceled <strong>Why</strong>: ABC is keen on this Dana Delany drama, but the ratings for the show's third season couldn't save it.

  • "Castle"

    <strong>"Castle," ABC</strong> <strong>Status</strong>: Renewed <strong>Why</strong>: Strong ratings and a dedicated viewership keep "Castle" on the schedule.

  • "Dancing With the Stars"

    <strong>"Dancing With the Stars," ABC</strong> <strong>Status</strong>: Likely to be renewed <strong>Why</strong>: The series is hurting in the ratings ... by "DWTS" standards. It's still a strong player for ABC, but the new season hasn't premiered yet.

  • "Don't Trust The B---- In Apt. 23"

    <strong>"Don't Trust The B---- In Apt. 23," ABC</strong> <strong>Status</strong>: Canceled <strong>Why</strong>: <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/22/apartment-23-canceled-dont-trust-the-b_n_2528858.html">ABC pulled the low-rated comedy</a> from it schedule and the stars took to Twitter to announce the cancellation.

  • "Family Tools"

    <strong>"Family Tools," ABC</strong> <strong>Status</strong>: Canceled <strong>Why</strong>: This ABC comedy had a May 1 premiere date and that was the first of many bad signs.

  • "Grey's Anatomy"

    <strong>"Grey's Anatomy," ABC</strong> <strong>Status</strong>: Renewed <strong>Why</strong>: America still loves McDreamy and the goings on at <s>Seattle Grace</s> Grey Sloan Memorial.

  • "Happy Endings"

    <strong>"Happy Endings," ABC</strong> <strong>Status</strong>: Canceled <strong>Why</strong>: Always the bubble show, never the surefire renewal hit. "Happy Endings" has suffered from many ratings ailments, including bad scheduling (<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/14/happy-endings-friday-abc_n_2683091.html">it moved to Friday night</a>) and lack of promo. But this ahmahzing show has some serious fans that are determined to keep it around on another network (a la "Cougar Town.")

  • "How To Live With Your Parents (For The Rest Of Your Life)"

    <strong>"How To Live With Your Parents (For The Rest Of Your Life)," ABC</strong> <strong>Status</strong>: Canceled <strong>Why</strong>: The ABC comedy starring Sarah Chalke had a late midseason debut and though its ratings were decent, it still couldn't save the comedy.

  • "Last Man Standing"

    <strong>"Last Man Standing," ABC</strong> <strong>Status</strong>: Renewed <strong>Why</strong>: Viewers still love Tim Allen and the show has been performing well on Friday nights.

  • "Last Resort"

    <strong>"Last Resort," ABC</strong> <strong>Status</strong>: Canceled <strong>Why</strong>: <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/16/last-resort-canceled-abc_n_2147316.html">ABC killed the Shawn Ryan drama</a> in late 2012.

  • "Malibu Country"

    <strong>"Malibu Country," ABC</strong> <strong>Status</strong>: Canceled <strong>Why</strong>: "Malibu Country" had been performing well on Friday nights, but the ratings took a dip and there was also showrunner switches that are never a good.

  • "The Middle"

    <strong>"The Middle," ABC</strong> <strong>Status</strong>: Renewed <strong>Why</strong>: Now in its fourth season, "The Middle" is still pulling in more than 8 million viewers an episode as the anchor of ABC's Wednesday comedies.

  • "Mistresses"

    <strong>"Mistresses," ABC</strong> <strong>Status</strong>: Too soon to tell <strong>Why</strong>: The drama, which is based on the UK series of the same name, just got a Monday, May 27 premiere date. Though the scheduling struggle doesn't bode well, the ABC drama does have Alyssa Milano and "Lost" alum Yunjin Kim leading the foursome.

  • "Modern Family"

    <strong>"Modern Family," ABC</strong> <strong>Status</strong>: Renewed <strong>Why</strong>: A fan favorite and Emmy darling, "Modern Family" will be back and will make ABC lots of money in syndication.

  • "Nashville"

    <strong>"Nashville," ABC</strong> <strong>Status</strong>: Renewed <strong>Why</strong>: Critical acclaim doesn't always equate to rating success, but ABC still believes in this Connie Britton-fronted drama despite the numbers.

  • "The Neighbors"

    <strong>"The Neighbors," ABC</strong> <strong>Status</strong>: Renewed <strong>Why</strong>: One of the few "hits" of the season, "The Neighbors" has found an audience and kept it pretty steadily week after week (<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/11/abc-shows-fall-tv-2012-2013_n_1581796.html">much to our dismay</a>).

  • "Once Upon a Time"

    <strong>"Once Upon a Time," ABC</strong> <strong>Status</strong>: Renewed <strong>Why</strong>: A ratings hit in its second season, "Once Upon a Time" will be back for a third season full of fairytale adventures.

  • "Private Practice"

    <strong>"Private Practice," ABC</strong> <strong>Status</strong>: Ended <strong>Why</strong>: The "Grey's Anatomy" spinoff said goodbye in January 2013.

  • "Red Widow"

    <strong>"Red Widow," ABC</strong> <strong>Status</strong>: Canceled <strong>Why</strong>: The show had a late February debut on ABC and the ratings were abysmal.

  • "Revenge"

    <strong>"Revenge," ABC</strong> <strong>Status</strong>: Renewed <strong>Why</strong>: "Revenge" has fallen out of critical favor and seen lower ratings in its new Sunday night home. Though it lost its creator Mike Kelley as the showrunner, it will return for a third season, considering the sad state of ABC's dramas.

  • "Rookie Blue"

    <strong>"Rookie Blue," ABC</strong> <strong>Status</strong>: Renewed <strong>Why</strong>: The Canadian co-production will return for a fourth season on ABC during the summer of 2013.

  • "Scandal"

    <strong>"Scandal," ABC</strong> <strong>Status</strong>: Renewed <strong>Why</strong>: Shonda Rhimes has another hit on her hands. Now in its second season, "Scandal" has benefited from word-of-mouth and has been rising in the ratings (even recently beating out its lead in "Grey's Anatomy"). A likable star -- Kerry Washington -- and continued buzz keep "Scandal" on the schedule.

  • "Suburgatory"

    <strong>"Suburgatory," ABC</strong> <strong>Status</strong>: Renewed <strong>Why</strong>: The series started Season 2 off strong in the ratings, but its audience has slowly eroded. Still, the show will be back for a third season.

  • "Zero Hour"

    <strong>"Zero Hour," ABC</strong> <strong>Status</strong>: Canceled <strong>Why</strong>: The Anthony Edwards vehicle debuted to 6.3 million viewers with a 1.3 rating in the key 18-49 demographic, making it <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/15/zero-hour-ratings_n_2695800.html">the least-watched premiere for a scripted series in ABC's history</a>. Things only got worse from there.

  • "2 Broke Girls"

    <strong>"2 Broke Girls," CBS</strong> <strong>Status</strong>: Renewed <strong>Why</strong>: CBS renewed "2 Broke Girls" in March of 2013.

  • "The Amazing Race"

    <strong>"The Amazing Race," CBS</strong> <strong>Status</strong>: Renewed <strong>Why</strong>: As an Emmy and fan favorite, "The Amazing Race" has been a strong player for CBS.

  • "The Big Bang Theory"

    <strong>"The Big Bang Theory," CBS</strong> <strong>Status</strong>: Renewed <strong>Why</strong>: Now in its sixth season, "Big Bang" is reaching series-high ratings. Even up against reality powerhouse "American Idol," "The Big Bang Theory" has been delivering with crazy high numbers in the 18-49 demographic, beating out what was once Fox's juggernaut.

  • "Blue Bloods"

    <strong>"Blue Bloods," CBS</strong> <strong>Status</strong>: Renewed <strong>Why</strong>: The Tom Selleck-fronted police drama is a strong ratings performer for CBS on Fridays.

  • "Criminal Minds"

    <strong>"Criminal Minds," CBS</strong> <strong>Status</strong>: Renewed <strong>Why</strong>: As one of CBS's strong procedural players, the series has been steady in the ratings and will likely be renewed to help anchor a night and launch a new drama.

  • "CSI"

    <strong>"CSI," CBS</strong> <strong>Status</strong>: Renewed <strong>Why</strong>: Of the two "CSI" shows on the air, "CSI" is the stronger player in the TV landscape. The show is nowhere near its earlier ratings, but Ted Danson signed on for more and the show will be back.

  • "CSI: NY"

    <strong>"CSI: NY," CBS</strong> <strong>Status</strong>: Canceled <strong>Why</strong>: The ratings from this "CSI" spinoff have faded over the years.

  • "Elementary"

    <strong>"Elementary," CBS</strong> <strong>Status</strong>: Renewed <strong>Why</strong>: One of the very few freshman series hits during the 2012-2013 TV season, CBS is very keen on this modern-day take on Sherlock Holmes. The audience has been steady and the network even gave it the post-Super Bowl timeslot.

  • "Golden Boy"

    <strong>"Golden Boy," CBS</strong> <strong>Status</strong>: Canceled <strong>Why</strong>: CBS certainly has a handsome star at the front of this cop drama, but its late season entry hinted toward CBS's confidence in the show.

  • "The Good Wife"

    <strong>"The Good Wife," CBS</strong> <strong>Status</strong>: Renewed <strong>Why</strong>: A former ratings champ, "The Good Wife" has slipped to series low ratings on Sunday nights. Blame football overrun, fan-detested storylines or too many guest stars, but "The Good Wife" has star power and critical praise, plus its nearing a good syndication sweet spot.

  • "Hawaii Five-0"

    <strong>"Hawaii Five-0," CBS</strong> <strong>Status</strong>: Renewed <strong>Why</strong>: In March, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/27/the-good-wife-renewed-season-5_n_2965829.html" target="_hplink">CBS announced "Hawaii Five-0" received an early renewal along with several of its other popular programs</a>.

  • "How I Met Your Mother"

    <strong>"How I Met Your Mother," CBS</strong> <strong>Status</strong>: Renewed <strong>Why</strong>: CBS handed out a ninth and final season to this comedy with the entire cast returning. Expect to meet the mother, finally.

  • "Made In Jersey"

    <strong>"Made In Jersey," CBS</strong> <strong>Status</strong>: Canceled <strong>Why</strong>: CBS pulled the plug on this legal drama very early on in the season because of low ratings.

  • "The Mentalist"

    <strong>"The Mentalist," CBS</strong> <strong>Status</strong>: Renewed <strong>Why</strong>: "The Mentalist" has fallen to mediocre ratings -- by CBS standards -- but it was nonetheless renewed in March of 2013.

  • "Mike & Molly"

    <strong>"Mike & Molly," CBS</strong> <strong>Status</strong>: Renewed <strong>Why</strong>: The ratings are down a little bit from last year, but Melissa McCarthy's star continues to rise.

  • "NCIS"

    <strong>"NCIS," CBS</strong> <strong>Status</strong>: Renewed <strong>Why</strong>: CBS reached a deal with series star Mark Harmon in early 2013, keeping the No. 1 show in America around for a Season 11.

  • "NCIS: LA"

    <strong>"NCIS: LA," CBS</strong> <strong>Status</strong>: Renewed <strong>Why</strong>: Viewers love their "NCIS," in any form. The ratings have been strong and the network is producing a backdoor spinoff pilot for this spinoff show. A full night of "NCIS" could be in CBS's future.

  • "Partners"

    <strong>"Partners," CBS</strong> <strong>Status</strong>: Canceled <strong>Why</strong>: Low ratings and unfavorable reviews led to the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/16/partners-canceled-cbs_n_2145832.html">early demise</a> of this CBS comedy.

  • "Person of Interest"

    <strong>"Person of Interest," CBS</strong> <strong>Status</strong>: Renewed <strong>Why</strong>: The series has developed a nice-sized audience, bigger than its first season.

  • "Rules of Engagement"

    <strong>"Rules of Engagement," CBS</strong> <strong>Status</strong>: Canceled <strong>Why</strong>: This comedy has been on the bubble since it premiered ... yet it made it to Season 7. It's finally time to say goodbye.

  • "Survivor"

    <strong>"Survivor," CBS</strong> <strong>Status</strong>: Renewed <strong>Why</strong>: A strong player for the last 13 years, "Survivor" will be back. But due to its <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/14/survivor-ratings-lowest-premiere-ever_n_2687591.html">most recent premiere ratings</a>, we might not see it during the fall season, though a midseason or summer return -- with some new gimmick -- is definitely in the cards for the reality series.

  • "Two and a Half Men"

    <strong>"Two and a Half Men," CBS</strong> <strong>Status</strong>: Renewed <strong>Why</strong>: CBS always wanted another season of this bawdy hit, it was just a matter of getting its stars to sign back on. Though Jon Cryer and Ashton Kutcher will be back for a Season 11, the "half" man Angus T. Jones remains up in the air.

  • "Undercover Boss"

    <strong>"Undercover Boss," CBS</strong> <strong>Status</strong>: Renewed <strong>Why</strong>: The show is enjoying life in syndication and its Season 4 numbers are better than most of its third season.

  • "Unforgettable"

    <strong>"Unforgettable," CBS</strong> <strong>Status</strong>: Uncanceled <strong>Why</strong>: CBS canceled the Poppy Montgomery drama last season ... and then revived it! Season 2 premieres Sunday, July 28.

  • "Vegas"

    <strong>"Vegas," CBS</strong> <strong>Status</strong>: Canceled <strong>Why</strong>: Despite star power, the series wasn't a breakout hit in the ratings. CBS previously canceled "Unforgettable" (then uncanceled it) last season when it was doing about the same as "Vegas."