Jill Farren Phelps Fires Longtime Bill Bell Hand-Picked ‘Y&R’ Team And Hires Cronies, The Scrooge Who Stole Christmas, Highlight Hollywood News
Just months ago, Jill Farren Phelps, known by many-a-soap star as Jill Firing Phelps, made a promise. She was going to use a scalpel not a hatchet to clean up the loose ends at CBS’s number-one-rated drama “The Young and the Restless.” So, why fix what isn’t broken, many insiders ask. Our editors learned at the time, that Phelps and newly installed Head Writer Josh Griffith both lobbied Sony for the top spot, when Maria Arena Bell’s contract was coming up for renewal. Truth be told, Maria was planning to leave, sources tell us in the months to come, but that didn’t stop Phelps and Griffith from leaving their “Hollywood Heights” posts, and heading over to CBS TV City, where Genoa City comes to life every day. Perhaps there were changes to be made, but promises, “Genie (Frances) is not going anywhere,” were broken, and quickly Phelps began paring down the cast as quickly as she could possibly do.
Promising fans, nothing drastic would happen. Phelps quickly shed Genoa City of the nostalgic Newman Ranch and promised a penthouse for Victor and Nikki. Fine, some “Y&R” fans thought it was time for a change. But we soon learned the Newman penthouse was a cheap set left over from Phelps’s last gig, “Hollywood Heights.” No rebuilding of a new mansion for Victor and Nikki, as this woman plans to shuttle them both off to a nursing home and off the screen if she gets her way. “Y&R” had no shortage of hunks; Joshua Morrow, Daniel Goddard, you name it. But now we have a lot of “General Hospital” rejects and “Hollywood Heights,” James Franco doppelgangers. But worry not folks, more changes are on the way.
Stephen Nichols is reportedly out, but no official confirmation to date. Maybe Jill Farren Phelps is learning fans are unhappy with her firings. Oh, she let Marcy Rylan (Abby), one of TV’s best actresses hit the road, and now she’s returning. Guess Jill was so busy planning on her FOB’s (Friends of Jill’s), all male, by the way, to bring on to her show, including Mark Pinter, while she ditches Stephen Nichols’s Tucker for her favorite “Another World” and “General Hospital” hunk, par for the course for this woman. Fans are becoming a bit disenchanted, and not soon enough it seems.
While TV sets are shutting down, going dark for the holiday season, Jill Farren Phelps made sure that many of the “Y&R” stalwarts, who were handpicked by the legendary William J. Bell, who co-created “The Young and the Restless” with his beautiful wife, Lee Phillip Bell got their walking papers today. That’s right, no goodies in their stockings, the Grinch, AKA: Jill Farren Phelps gave them all a lump of coal, and a pink slip.
“This woman knew that fans had their attention focused on Maria Bell, so while they were chomping at the bit, being as cruel to one woman, as they were to Maria, Jill was plotting to install her cronies, and so much for a little scalpel work, she’s using a chainsaw to get all of her team in place, people like her, fail up. No matter how many shows go down the drain after this woman takes the reigns, you can always bet she’ll always land on her back, I mean her feet, and she will come after someone’s job. She’s a great lobbyist, she should be working for the tobacco industry or gun industry in Washington. She can sell ice to Eskimos, but what she’s done this time is unconscionable. These are career people Bill brought in, and have won many, many Emmys over the years, and did not deserve to be fired, and all behind the scenes, away from the media. She [Jill Farren Phelps] didn’t even have the decency to thank them for their years of service, she sits up in her office as if she’s the Queen of England and has her underlings to the dirty work. But, no one is fooled anymore by her, and hopefully the fans won’t be blinded by her propaganda much longer,” said a “Y&R” actress who has been on the show for years.
Phelps and Griffith, described as melting down on his job recently, will definitely have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. but, not some of “Y&R’s” famed behind the scenes heroes, who have been with “Y&R” since the 1980s, and crafted Bill Bell’s vision to becoming the world’s most popular daytime drama until Bell created “The Bold and the Beautiful.” “Everyone is frightened, who is next? We expect more heads to roll come January when we are back to work,” said a production staff member of “The Young and the Restless.” “They just fired Jennifer Johns, who is a longtime Emmy Award-winning costume designer of the show since the ’80s,” the “Y&R” source tells Highlight Hollywood. Adding, “And fans may not care, but it’s having a chilling effect on the cast as well. These are family members, to us,” said one of the show’s actors. “Not only did Jennifer (Johns) get the ax for her Christmas bonus, but one of the things we always enjoyed about the show, was it’s genuine and classic look and sound. Well, look for that to change, not just Victor and Nikki’s pad, but Jill Farren Phelps wasn’t finished with her Christmas bonus firings quite yet. Firing Phelps let go the (ENTIRE) music department of ‘Y&R’ today. These were handpicked composers by Bill Bell, Sr., who every regime kept in place, including Lynn Marie Latham and Maria Bell. Yes, if fans wanted change, they are about to get it, but they are not going to get what they want. This woman (Phelps) has no respect for the class of the show, or the fans,” concluded a “Y&R” production staff member.
Farren Phelps and Griffith’s changes are not done quite yet. There have been firings of longtime writers, that will affect the show’s continuity, and although the actors are frightened, many are not speaking out because they feel it’s only matter of time before the show is gone, if this regime remains in power. “Jill will be on to something else, Josh (Griffith) who knows, he’s a total mess. He is talentless, and Sony needs to look at what they have done, and that hack-producer Jill Farren Phelps, who is hacking a great cast to pieces in order to make room for her former ‘General Hospital’ stars and hunks, you know the drill, she doesn’t give a darn about the show. She’s brought all these guys in, who take off their shirts for lunch, breakfast and dinner, but they can’t act. At least the hunks we had on the show over the years, are great actor,” said Karen, a fan in Michigan. “It’s no longer the ‘Y&R’ we love.”
“The ratings are tanking right now,” a CBS insider tells Highlight Hollywood. “They need to look in the mirror, when we see Jill in the hallways, she’s floating on air, she can’t even see her own failures, which is the beginning of the end of a show, when someone is out of touch with what works and what doesn’t. She’s out of touch, and every day people here ask, when will the powers-that-be, wake up at CBS and realize they were sold a bill of goods by Sony? Jill is being protected, because Sony doesn’t care about this show. And Josh is a terrible writer, and not a gracious human being eitehr. Did you read his pious and very phony interview in TV Guide? He never credits anyone for where he is today. We’ve seen him rise high before, only to crash and burn, he can’t handle pressure, and pretty soon, Jill Farren Phelps will replace him. She’s already been in contact with her friend, that horrible writer Megan McTavish, who helped almost crush every show she’s ever been with,” concluded a CBS Studios insider.
Marion in Seattle says, “I’ve been a longtime ‘Y&R’ viewer, and although over the decades I was unhappy at times. There was always a desire to stick it out, knowing it would improve, or a storyline I didn’t like would end. But this woman, Jill what’s her name. She’s definitely my very least favorite show runner. In fact, she’s one of my least favorite people, and I am glad you are telling the fans what she’s doing behind-the-scenes, Tommy. She doesn’t care about any of us fans. We don’t matter to her. This show we have watched for generations. My daughters are named Jill and Katherine. You know where those names come from. I won’t be watching it in the new year as long as this woman is in charge. Though I doubt it’ll be on long enough to worry about much longer.”
So while you celebrate your holiday season, please remember all the people whose Christmas season was ruined by the Grinch that stole Christmas, and handed out pink slips just days before our Savior’s birthday.
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Written By: Tommy Lightfoot Garrett
Photographs are Courtesy: AP, CBS/Sony and Universal Studios
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