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American soap opera 'Bold' is big hit in Italy

Associated Press Modified: May 9, 2012 at 1:45 pm •  Published: May 9, 2012

POLIGNANO A MARE, Italy (AP) — With sunglasses and spike heels, makeup artists and wardrobe experts, the American soap opera "The Bold and the Beautiful" has landed in Italy.

The cast and production team are in Puglia — the heel of Italy's famous boot — for a week of filming in hopes of boosting their show at home and nurturing their Italian fans.

"The Bold and the Beautiful" is seen by 35 million people in over 100 countries, according to its press office, and Italy is its No. 1 market worldwide. Known here simply as "Beautiful," the show has 4 million viewers in Italy compared to 3.6 million in the United States.

The program's male lead, Ronn Moss who plays Ridge, is also widely recognized from Italy's version of "Dancing with the Stars."

According to Brad Bell, the show's executive producer, the fictional reason why the soap finds itself in Italy is because Ridge's wife Brooke (Katherine Kelly Lang) was looking for a place her daughter Hope (Kim Matula) could escape to because she was being hounded by the press in Beverly Hills.

The real reason for the trip is the fans.

"Italy has been good to us, we want to give exposure to Italy and do business with a country so close so our hearts," said Bell.

The pace is manic: "The Bold and the Beautiful" shoots 250 episodes a year and is trying to do 10 episodes in five days during its time in Italy.

The soap's most important scene is the wedding between Hope and Liam (Scott Clifton). It is being shot in the stunning seaside village of Polignano A Mare, which is perched on rocky cliffs that plunge down to the crystal-clear Adriatic Sea.

Hundreds of locals gathered Tuesday to catch a glimpse of their favorite stars and get an autograph or a photo, and the actors were happy to oblige.

"Italy is always very receptive to us. They are always very welcoming, very passionate about the show, so it makes it much more fun," Moss said.

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