The most-honored executive producer of the soap genre, Jill Farren Phelps is coming to The Young and the Restless to shake it up and honor its traditions. In her first interview since the news spread that she has replaced Maria Arena Bell in the position, Jill tackles some hard-hitting question from TV Guide in this exclusive interview including what she plans on fixing in Genoa City, the Christel Khalil situation, fans criticism of her over the years, and what actors will have story and who may stay or go. And yes, she even admits that her decision to kill beloved Maureen Bauer all those years ago during her tenure at Guiding Light, was a mistake! It’s a not to be missed chat, and here are just a few interesting excerpts below! And mark October 12th as the first Phelps on-air episode of Y&R!
Jill on what the mandate is from CBS and Sony with Y&R to her. and if she feels a strong commitment from CBS for the series: “The mandate is to make Y&R financially feasible so it can continue on. And also to bring the show into 2012. We will give it a more contemporary feel, shake up the way it looks and sounds just a bit, though nothing that will have the audience feeling uncomfortable. It would be so wrong to try to pace it and structure it and stylize it like GH. We just want Y&R to be more alluring and compelling as we move into the future. I’m going into Y&R not with a hatchet but with a scalpel in order to make it function as a more economical show. They (CBS) seems to be in it for the long haul and there’s a lot of freedom and comfort in that. It allows us to make our changes gradually and be very careful about the decisions we make. We’re not ripping apart the core of this show, not even to save money. “
Jill on what actors may stay or go, and if the characters that were brought in by Maria Arena Bell, under her tenure, could be the most expendable: “We have a cast of really wonderful actors but, at the end of the day, we need to look at the entire canvas and decide who is catching fire with the audience. And where can we create fire where there isn’t any? We do not have a Maria Bell hit list. But, again, that is not to say that everyone stays. I was not sitting by the phone hoping someone would get fired so I could have this job. The phone call came in, Josh and I said yes, and here we are. It’s our job to make this a better Y&R — not a different Y&R but a better one — and that doesn’t take anything away from the people who were here before. ”
Jill on the buzz that the casting breakdowns that went out for African-American actors were to replace Bryton James (Devon) and Christel Khalil (Lily): “The male role we are casting is definitely a new character but, yes, the female role is a recast for Christel’s role. However, since we sent out that casting breakdown, negotiations with Christel have resumed. I don’t yet know how that’s going to work out.”
Jill on series star, Eric Braeden (Victor) for his going on record that he was upset at the firing of Maria Arena Bell, and if she feel she needed to do damage controL: ” I had a meeting with all of the actors and said to them: “I come in peace. I am not here to rape and pillage Y&R.” And they could not have been warmer or more welcoming. Clearly, Mr. Braeden has been here a long time and he has a tremendous affection for the way things have been. I don’t begrudge him that at all. I’m crazy about him and Melody Thomas Scott[Nikki] and we have great plans for them. Actors don’t get better than that!”
So soapers, what do you think of Jill’s comments? Are you optimistic with the regime change for your favorites in Genoa City? Who do you think should stay and who do you think should be cut loose from the canvas? Let us know your thoughts!