You gotta hand it to TV Guide Magazine's Michael Logan. When he goes there, he goes there! In her first interview since taking over The Young and the Restless from Maria Arena Bell, Jill Farren Phelps fields some of the toughest questions of her career from Logan. The pair talks FOJ's, JFP and Josh Griffith's plans for Genoa City and about who really killed my beloved Mary Frances Ordway Winthrop (aka Frankie Frame) from Another World! Keep reading for excerpts.
On what CBS has tasked her to do with Y&R:
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.
On those poop storm-causing African-American casting calls:
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.
On taking the blame for the death Guiding Light's Mo Bauer, but NOT for my Frankie Frame!
Look, I'm sorry I killed Maureen Bauer on Guiding Light all those years ago, but I am not responsible for the death of Frankie Frame on Another World! That was not my doing and I am tired of taking the heat for having killed a character when I didn't! [Laughs] The other day we were in a network meeting talking about one of the Y&R actors who wanted out temporarily to go do something and I said, "Let her go do it!" And the network executive looked at me and said, "You're not nearly the monster I've been hearing about!"
So if JFP didn't kill my fav-o-rite, flame-haired, soap psychic, WHO DID? I want to know NOOOOOW! (Breathes deeply. Recites passages from The Secret, before headng over to Wikipedia to see who the head writer of AW was in 1996.)
In all seriousness, I'm cautiously excited about JFP taking over Y&R. Sure, she's made some huge blunders at previous soaps, but she's also done her fair share of good in daytime. Her sudsers always look amazing and have great music. I loved the blackout on Guiding Light. Speaking of GL, give me diverse characters like elegant, manipulative Gilly Grant Speakes, over a recovering crackhead—who calls white women "Miss" in 2012—any day.
To find out if JFP plans to bring over any of her FOJ's, fire Genie Francis (Please?) and/or re-hire Victoria Rowell (Pretty please?), click here.