“Last year was a terrible year for The Young and The Restless,” says Sara Bibel, a former Y&R writer who now writes about soaps for Daytime Confidential and others. “Its rating went way down.”Young and the Restless Fans are vocal and they may disagree on a lot of things, but they seem to all be fed up with Executive Producer Jill Farren Phelps. There is even an online petition to fire her. Now she has brought on a new heard writer that many say was a major contributor to All My Children Getting Canceled. Even though it seems odd that CBS hired these folks , they claim that they are not hoping the soaps will go away and be replaced by lower cost talk shows.
Phelps is a true soap veteran. The 64-year-old executive has served as the executive producer for Santa Barbara, Another World, Guiding Light, One Life to Live, General Hospital and now The Young and the Restless. Except for General Hospital, all the other long running soaps that she has worked for are no longer on the air. Even General Hospital was close to be cancelled, so one wonders why she keeps getting leadership positions in the soap opera genre. It seems more like if you want to kill off a show you should bring in Phelps the soap slayer to do the job.
Shortly after Phelps startedat Y&R, TV Guide asked Eric Braden his opinion on Phelps and Braedan stated, “I’m getting along with her. She deals well with actors. She likes actors. As far as I can see she is very involved, very hands-on, which I like. It took me a while to get used to that but that was because I was very upset that Maria Bell left, and I didn’t really want to accept anyone new for a while. Maria’s exit was a double whammy in the sense that she was the last Bell. Right or wrong, I still feel very nostalgic about Bill Bell. Did it take me a while to get used to Jill? Absolutely. But I like her. One can talk to her.”
Prior to her arrival in Genoa City, Phelps had a long run at General Hospital and did enjoy some success. She began her tenure there in 2001 and during her reign there the show won Outstanding Drama series four different years. Although she did have success at General Hospital the show was in decline when she let go. The ratings were down to a point of near cancellation. Luckily new management came into place and the show has been thriving as of late. This begs the question, is Phelps out of touch with what viewers want? Her storytelling is dark at best and she has a reputation of getting rid of veterans.
When Farren Phelps came on board at Y&R it did not take her long to part ways with the now former writer Josh Griffith, who did not supposedly see eye to eye creatively with her. Interestingly she told TV Guide in 2012 not too long before their parting, “It’s exciting. Thrilling! I never imagined I was going to be here. And it feels particularly great to be doing this with Josh. He and I go all the way back to Santa Barbara, then we got together again just recently for [Nickelodeon’s] Hollywood Heights. He knows the characters and the history of Y&R really well and deeply respects this show. I trust him completely. Producers don’t make ratings, writers do, and Josh is the exact right person to be here at this time. He knew I was going to be talking with you and he said to tell you, “Genoa City will explode with intrigue and romance!” Something obviously went a wry with those two.
Fans are upset by many of the current storylines and the loss of some of their favorite actors. Sadly the controversy over the firing of Michael Muhney has been much more compelling than the stories on the show recently. Braeden told Radar Online “I welcomed Michael Muhney when he came here. He is a great actor. We did have our differences, but for anyone to say that I had him fired is a lie. I have always thought he was a very good actor and told him so. Towards the end, Muhney and I did have our differences and had a shouting match, no question. “I was prompted to get into ‘fisticuffs’ with him because he wanted me off the show, if you want to know the truth,” he admitted.
Maria Arena Bell was able to chime in and criticize the new management. “Michael brought amazing dimension and complexity to the role of Adam Newman and his and Sharon’s was a great dark love story. Sadly, that story was seriously derailed in the last year, so I am not surprised that the show would look for a solution to their problematic storytelling decisions. It will be a tough role to recast.”
What do you think about Y&R? Are you happy with the direction it seems to be going? Do you think Phelps is doing a good job or would you like to see her be a relic of the past?
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