Her contract isn't up until fall, but I'm hearing The Young and the Restless executive producer Jill Farren Phelps is set to begin negotiating with Sony and CBS Daytime shortly.
Phelps took over Y&R in 2012. Since that time, she's netted the soap multiple Daytime Emmy wins and the ratings are up. However, a revolving door of head writers and the losses/exits of huge stars like Billy Miller, Michael Muhney, Emme Rylan and Michelle Stafford have proven problematic for the number one daytime drama. Phelps also brought on former General Hospital star Steve Burton, who I'm told is paid a day rate in the same ballpark as Eric Braeden and Peter Bergman, despite having had no real breakout storyline on the CBS soap.
During Phelps tenure, Y&R managed to successfully recast Adam Newman (previously played by Muhney) with primetime heartthrob Justin Hartley. Popular suds veteran Gina Tognoni is making the role of Phyllis Summers (previously played by Stafford) her own. However, successfully replacing Miller (now appearing on General Hospital in Burton's old role) as Billy Abbott has proven more difficult. Burgess Jenkins is the second actor to make an attempt. David Tom, who was the first actor to play Billy as an adult, returned to the role briefly. Multiple sources have confirmed to me the soap is still interested in Miller one day reprising the role.
Sources told Daytime Confidential's Sara Bibel that Phelps was instrumental in bringing on controversial head writer and co-executive producer Chuck Pratt. Veteran The Young and the Restless writer and Bill Bell disciple Sally Sussman Morina had been up for the job. Phelps reportedly balked at the idea of working with Morina and convinced CBS Entertainment President Nina Tassler to bring Pratt on board.
Since February, Pratt has introduced a plane crash, a club cave-in, a serial killer and a doppelganger arc to the previously character driven soap opera. Veteran actor Bergman is playing said doppelgangers, one being the popular character of Jack Abbott, the other being a Peruvian drug lord named Marco, who just so happens to have the fictional cosmetics mogul's face.
With Y&R's issues concerning diversity proving constant fodder for the Hollywood trades—thanks to a lawsuit brought by former Y&R actress Victoria Rowell citing issues that predate Phelps' regime—Pratt was recently quoted in a TV Guide Magazine interview citing budget restraints and an actress getting pregnant when asked why current African American cast members had been backburnered.
Do you think Sony should renew Phelps' contract at The Young and the Restless? Is she to blame for Pratt's shenanigans? With the ratings up and Daytime Emmy gold on their shelves, should anything else even matter? Sound off in the comments!