BREAKING NEWS: Ex-General Hospital Showrunner Jill Farren Phelps to Helm 80-Episode Telenovela For Nickelodeon; Josh Griffith to Write!


Ousted General Hospital showrunner Jill Farren Phelps didn't stay on the unemployment line long! The veteran daytime executive (Santa Barbara, Guiding Light, Another World, One Life to Live)  has been tapped to helm a groundbreaking U.S. adaptation of the telenovela Alcanzar una Estrella (Reach For a Star) for Nick-at-Night!

According to a press release, Nick is partnering with novela factory Televisa to produce 80 episodes of the drama series about a teenage girl who becomes a star and falls in love with her teen idol. Sony Pictures Television, which co-owns The Young and the Restless and Days of Our Lives, are also onboard to co-produce. Former daytime scribe Josh Griffith (As The World Turns, OLTL, SB, Sunset Beach, GH, Y&R) is serving as head writer.

Even though I am not a particular fan of Phelps' work (I still haven't forgiven her for killing my Frankie Frame on Another World!), this is incredible news for the soap opera industry. If more cablers are willing to get into bed with ex-daytimers, it only increases our chances of seeing the daily soap genre live on in the U.S. in some fashion. Check out the full press release below!



Nickelodeon, in partnership with Televisa, has ordered 80 episodes of a groundbreaking, original one-hour U.S. adaptation of the popular Mexican telenovela, Reach for a Star (Alcanzar una Estrella) for Nick at Nite, it was announced today by Cyma Zarghami, President of Viacom's Nickelodeon Group; and Jose Baston President of Television and Content from Televisa. The first telenovela ever adapted for the U.S. audience, Reach for a Star is a single-camera, daily series following a teenage girl whose life changes completely when she becomes a star and wins the love of her teen idol. Reach for a Star will be produced in association with Sony Pictures Television and is set to premiere later this year on Nickelodeon's nighttime block for families–Nick at Nite. Production begins in March in Los Angeles, Calif.

"We have experienced first-hand the popularity of the daily scripted format with our kid audience through the success of House of Anubis and our teen audience with DeGrassi: The Next Generation," and our Nick Latin American channel has already had great success in producing telenovela's with Televisa," Ms. Zarghami said. "This partnership brings together Televisa's un-matched leadership in the telenovela genre with our expertise in making content, and we're looking forward to introducing this first true English-language telenovela to Nick at Nite's family audience."

"As part of the steps towards building a strong presence in the Anglo TV market, Televisa is excited to coproduce with Nickelodeon one of the many successful scripts from our library in a daily series format," said Baston. We are convinced that the daily series will be well received by Nick's family audiences, and will capture their attention daily as it has happened in different markets in the world where Televisa has exported its production capabilities. The Televisa and Nick alliance will certainly result in a successful formula, and we envision Reach for a Star as the first of many joint projects.

"For more than a decade Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN) and Televisa have been strategically building upon their regional partnership that today encompasses, distribution, consumer products and co-productions," said Pierluigi Gazzolo, Chief Operating Officer, VIMN. "Reach for a Star marks a dynamic new phase in our partnership and VIMN is incredibly excited to once again be expanding our content portfolio with Televisa."

Reach for a Star follows Nickelodeon's success with its live-action serialized series, House of Anubis and Degrassi. Nickelodeon has also experienced tremendous success with the format in Europe and Latin America. The Reach for a Star series is an adaptation of the hit Mexican telenovela, Alcanzar una Estrella, first broadcast on Canal de las Estrellas and Univision in 1990. The success of the series led to a film and sequel telenovela starring Latin American pop sensations, Ricky Martin and Sasha Sokol.

Reach for a Star follows a smart, shy and independent high school senior, Loren, who has ambitions of being a songwriter and secretly sends her song lyrics to her celebrity crush, rock superstar Eddie Wild. Loren's wildest dreams come true when she not only wins a songwriting competition sponsored by Eddie, but strikes up a friendship with her idol. Eddie sees beyond Loren's potential as a songwriter and gives her a first break as a singer, and when the truth about his less-than-faithful girlfriend Chloe is revealed, Eddie and Loren's friendship blossoms.

The series will be co-executive produced by six-time Emmy Award-winner Jill Farren Phelps (General Hospital, One Life to Live) and Hisham Abed (The Hills and The City). Josh Griffith (Young and the Restless, As the World Turns) will serve as head writer.

Nick at Nite is Nickelodeon's nighttime programming block that features popular hit family comedies including the Emmy Award-winning series Friends, My Wife & Kids, George Lopez and The Nanny.

27 Responses

  1. Profile photo of soapfan616

    What the ever loving F***?

    Has anyone at Nick watched a single episode of GH in the past decade?

    Cream doesn’t rise to the top, not in the soap world at least.

    We continue to recycle the same hacks and then say it’s the genre that’s dying rather than admitting that the hacks in charge have killed it.

    Soaps’ obituary will have Ms. Phelps name all over it. Her idea of soap opera has killed so many shows’ integrity that her influence cannot be understated.

    I find this news sickening and disgusting. It’s as sickening as the worst she gave us on GH…and that’s SICK! How can it be good for the genre when we already know what kind of crap this woman produces? We know what she thinks of female teenage characters. We know she produces misogynistic and sexist crap.

    Damn, Why couldn’t they hire anyone with a shred of talent and love of this genre?

  2. Profile photo of jphelps


    ITA One of the things that has killed daytime has been the inability to try or grow fresh talent. This is more of the same. Heck why not hire some writers or producers from the growing Telenovela genre. Oh well I dont watch kid tv anyway.

  3. Profile photo of east.west

    I guess the one w/the unbecoming arrogance gets the last laugh! In seriousness, I think this will be a hit. The team assembled reminds me of the team behind “The Real World” franchise, and we all know how that went.

  4. Profile photo of Ryan-Scott

    I don’t watch that channel anymore and the last drama I watched on there was “15” so Nickelodeon can have her as far as I’m concerned.
    I hope Josh tells a good story on there.

  5. Profile photo of east.west

    And I think it is genius that this format is being done for the next generation. Though the soaps we grew up w/are going of into their goodnights, I am starting to think that this is the something new that is needed to get that next generation of soap fans, b/c it was never going to be the shows left on the air in their current form.

    Maybe this Loren will be someone’s Erica Kane?

  6. Profile photo of east.west

    Don’t know the behind the scenes aspect of their relationship, logic would say fractured since she was fired for having a baby face, but I coud totally see Lexi Ainsworth as Loren. That is my soap related WC for the moment lol.

  7. Profile photo of Camp is not a sustainable model
    Camp is not a sustainable model

    @Jamey: There are a few pluses and minus’s with this.

    On the positive side the idea of keeping soaps in some form on television is good. Jill Farren Phelps also has soap experience which could work to her advantage (daytime failures aside). So even this could be the start again of something new. A blessing in disguise. A big F’in blessing.

    The negative side of things though are that it is again them translating another Spanish telenovela into English. All Those MYTV Network soaps were just the same and they were terrible.

    I would rather see fresh plots developed from established American writers and opening the door for new writers to submit and have their Ameravella’s (I just coined this term) produced. Because there are some differences that set American soap fans apart of from Latino’s who watch their nightly novella’s.

    Televnovella’s almost always focus on an evil rich woman trying to keep their son/daughter from hooking up with someone from a lower social economic status then them. It’s is basically the same simple plotline told in different ways. While in America the stories are much more complex and diverse. We also tend to focus more than just on one story as Americans can at least follow 3 to four different storylines that intersect at times in a single daily or weekly drama series. This is a very important distinction to keep in mind. Thus, MYTV Network didn’t keep that in mind.
    Now other networks whom could invest in an Ameravella could be:

    BET and/or TVOne: A series with a mostly black cast would instantly draw in black female viewers and have press options galore from Ebony and Essence articles, to Weekly promo’s in Jet.

    WE and/or Lifetime: Women love them some soaps. Here would be a great place for regular Ameravella’s I coined the term here first.

    TNT and/or FX: Who says an Ameravella has to follow the traditional model. A good daily action adventure series could work and draw in both sexes. And we don’t have to totally think inside the box. A good si-fi Novella could draw in an audience.

    Logo: I’m sure gay people would not mind having an Ameravella to watch.

    Bravo: With this network they could be on the cutting edge of drama. With Eastenders like Ameriavella’s.

    And so this would be a great way to build up fans for these short-term series and sell a lot ad space at a nominal price.

  8. Profile photo of blake3b

    If she could make it as great as she did when she ran Guiding Light, she did some of the best years on there EVER!!! Especially 91 – 93.

    But seeing what she did to GH this is probably not going to go well. And of course all the actors she will have had unemployed soon because of her horrible decisions and yet she gets to keep working and paid very well for it!

  9. Profile photo of VannieNY

    oh this is terrible. as someone that watches novelas remakes of novelas just disgust me, whomever does it. why would i want to watch the same thing again? for people that never saw the first go round i guess it’s like something new but how groundbreaking is it for you to tell a story that’s already been told?

  10. Profile photo of Divatude58

    These American remake of telenovellas have the same problem that soaps have had over the last 15 years…it ain’t fresh…it’s all recycled and cliche’. Why? Because the genre is a good old boy/girl machine and refuse to hire new people and recycle the same folks from show to show…Soaps killed themselves by refusing to adapt and change.

  11. Profile photo of pumpkin

    Correct me if I am wrong but she kill off Maureen Bauer on GL which was the beginning of the end? We all know agents make the deals. Agents often accomplish much. Most have made deals over the years and many are owed, etc. All these mediocre writers/producers will pop up all over the tv industry. Comes down to negotiations on salary, etc plus cable will go with what they can afford. Doesn’t necessarily mean their clients are the top of the line quality.

  12. Profile photo of Cyberologist

    I’ve spent enough time with this malecentric bint & have no intentions of wasting any hours with anything she, Frons or Guza are associated with so Thanks but no thanks.

    She did the bare minimum (if anything) to champion diversity IMO in daytime (GH)however here she is Cha$-chinging ripping off Alcanzar una Estrella for Nick at Nite. She lands on her feet why don’t the bint just retire hell she’s milked a cash cow for decades.

  13. Profile photo of soapfan616

    @ Cyberologist—very good point about her lack of commitment to diversity. She killed off GH’s only African-American family. Hasn’t GH been the whitest soap on air? Well perhaps B&B might be right up there…but Phelps certainly never showed an interest in telling the stories of people whose skin tone is different from hers. With all of her misogyny, I failed to realize that she also gave us a very ethnocentric view of the world.

  14. Profile photo of mafelix86

    You and me both, OldGHfan!! How does this woman keep getting hired, given her horrific record with soaps?! Though I will admit, that I did like GL up to a level when she was executive producer (barring the death of Maureen, of course).

    I honestly don’t think this will work because this was tried before (My Network TV telenovelas) and it failed miserably. But who knows? Maybe this time it’ll work. Maybe we’ll even see a bunch of soap favorites show up on “Reach for a Star”!

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