Two years ago, the morale behind the scenes at The Young and the Restless was pretty good. Jill Farren Phelps was coming in as the brand new show runner and, while she has a great reputation for being a soap killer, no one really believed that she could harm Y&R. Creator Bill Bell seemed to put together a product that could continue on without him and it’s the one soap that no matter what happened onscreen, the fans were still guaranteed to tune in. At least that’s how it always had been and so people seemed to think that rather than kill this soap at its roots and exit leaving it completely doomed, this time around Jill would make a positive impact.
Sure, her storytelling isn’t for everyone and she is known to take out of the ordinary risks that have resulted in fan outrage. That’s what Jill does but surely Y&R’s history and legacy would balance out the negative — at least that’s what CBS thought. According to GLOBE print edition June 16, it seems like they have quite clearly bought the same soap-annihilating package that Santa Barbra, Another World, Guiding Light, and One Life To Live all invested in when bringing Jill in.
Let’s not forget that JFP is the person ultimately responsible for firing Michael Muhney. We still don’t have a clear story as to why Michael was let go but up until now there hasn’t been a shred of evidence that the fan favorite and masterful portrayer of Adam Newman did anything wrong. The only evidence we do have is that Adam pissed of Eric Braeden who still appears to harbor a nasty grudge against him – recall ‘Victor Newman’s’ inappropriate Twitter outburst recently. Bottom line is that whatever situation was allowed to deteriorate on the Y&R set to the point that it resulted in MM being ultimately fired was Jill’s responsibility – she is the boss and gets the blame.
JFP’s formula has always been pretty clear: demolish core characters that the fans love, victimize the female characters, and then of course Jill provides jobs for all of her otherwise out-of-work actor friends. When David Tom was brought in a few months ago to replace fan favorite Billy Miller . . . at least was a little bit logical.
Tom originated the role of Billy Abbot well over a decade ago, so at least he could have possibly been accepted by the fans once again. Instead, he seemed to struggle right from the jump and just couldn’t connect with the man that his character had grown into since he last portrayed the character. Everyone knew this recast wasn’t working — but how did Jilly fix it? By hiring good friend Burgess Jenkins to take over. One more pal on the payroll and one more for the body count of actors that have been fired in under two years.
Maybe Burgess will be a better fit than Tom; but that’s not even the real issue here. The problem is is that behind the scenes Jill’s cut throat actions have created more drama than anything that ever unfolds in Genoa City onscreen. That feeling of uncertainty and the actors believing that they can be the next one massacred has left a really lousy feeling on that CBS lot. It’s exactly what no one believed would happen. Do you think that Burgess being cast was wise? Do you think Jill is done with the massive changes or will she just keep swinging the axe until she is shown the door.