On Thursday, I reported Jessica Collins is exiting the role of heroine Avery Bailey Clark at CBS Daytime's The Young and the Restless. In the article, I revealed I've heard from multiple sources that the soap's co-executive producer and head writer Chuck Pratt was being forced to rewrite his original endgame for the character.
I can now confirm the plot twist in question would have had Avery lying about being raped by ex-husband Joe Clark (Scott Elrod). While this certainly would not have been the first time one soap character falsely accused another of an attack, those kinds of stories are generally given to troubled or confused young women (i.e. a teenage Liza accusing Jesse of attacking her on All My Children), or female villains. Avery has long been established as a principled attorney who fights for the underdog via her pro bono work for the Innocence Foundation. It's hard to imagine what would make a writer see this particular character lying about rape as a logical plot twist. I hear Y&R employees at every level of this production were disgusted by the story, leading to it being scrapped.
The fact that Pratt pitched, wrote and almost got this storyline on the air speaks to the disconnect this man has when it comes to writing in a women's television genre. When he was at All My Children, Pratt wrote a storyline where one half of daytime's first lesbian couple to get married made out with a man before the ceremony. Multiple sources at the time told me he wanted the other half of the couple to sleep with a man.
Pratt recently admitted her prefers writing heroine Sharon Collins Newman (Sharon Case), a sufferer of bipolar disorder, as "crazy" in an interview with Michael Fairman. Struggling alcoholic Nikki Newman (Melody Thomas Scott) was recently seen throwing herself at a slovenly man right before an intervention episode. A few weeks ago, the soap's leading heroine threatened to "drink every drop of liquor" at the town's athletic club if her husband didn't reveal the secret he was keeping.
Pratt also wrote a story which found grieving mother Kelly Andrews (soap opera icon Cady McClain) kidnapping the lover who jilted her and torturing him in a foreign country, while a doppelganger of the man she once loved began repeatedly violating his new wife. To be fair, Kelly's descent into madness began prior to Pratt taking over as the soap's head writer, but he has made it clear in multiple interviews he loves writing women as "crazy".
When asked in a TV Guide Magazine interview about how he planned to deal with the popular character of Phyllis Newman (Gina Tognoni) essentially being raped by Fake Jack (Peter Bergman), Pratt once again cited a female character as "crazy" as part of his justification. See an excerpt below.
Will you be acknowledging the fact that Phyllis—though she doesn't know it yet—is basically being raped by her husband's doppelgänger? Granted, the "Two Jacks" story is mostly being told for fun, but there's a sordid side to this plot that you can't ignore.
Pratt: When we are at a point in the plot months from now, Phyllis—who is sensitive, deeply emotional and a little bit crazy—will become the lead detective in the story of the two Jacks and what happened to the real one. She starts to play all the clues over in her head and begins to talk to other people about it. And to me that makes it a great romance. It becomes a great love story with the real Jack and Phyllis, and it also features Ashley and Nikki—all three of the kickass women in his life. I think the audience will love it.
From Pratt's own mouth, he sees a woman realizing she's been horrifically violated by a Peruvian drug lord with her husband's face as the catalyst to a "great romance". This is the person executive producer Jill Farren Phelps—who I'm told is set to begin contract negotiations—reportedly handpicked to write this soap opera over veteran Y&R storyteller Sally Sussman Morina.
I thought long and hard about going forward with this story, but in the interest of not seeing what happened to All My Children take place at the No. 1 soap opera in daytime, I decided soap fans have a right to know.