Chuck Pratt on Unhappy 'The Young and the Restless' Fans: "They Hate It But They're Watching"

Jill Farren Phelps, Charles Pratt Jr.
The Young and the Restless executive producer Jill Farren Phelps and head writer/co-executive producer Chuck Pratt spoke with TV Insider in a new interview about the state of the show, unhappy fans, and the use of Prattastrophes.

The angry fans on Twitter are loud but they're a sliver of the total Y&R audience, which, judging from the ratings, appears to be quite happy, or at least willing to go along for the ride. How do you account for so much upset on social media?
Phelps:
If you've been watching Y&R for years or even decades—40-plus years in the case of some of our viewers—you feel a real sense of ownership. Most will go along for the ride, even when you take a sudden, unexpected right turn. They're happy to do it. But social media has unleashed a lot of people who play "Gotcha!" especially when it comes to the history of Y&R. They want to see us stay within a certain comfort zone, but if we don't take chances, if we don't do things outside that comfort zone, then we're robbing our audience of the opportunity to get excited about the show in a whole new way. We can't become risk averse and afraid of audience reaction. I'm not saying the fans aren't really important or what they think doesn't matter. I'm saying that if we are afraid to do something because of potential blowback then you just get the same old thing you've gotten before.

And this new way of doing things needs to be seismic?
Phelps:
Seismic gets attention. Safety gets you nothing.
Pratt: It stirs up the audience and sometimes that negativity is a vote to keep going forward. Yeah, they hate it but they're watching. When I hear that they want the status quo, that they want to see a certain couple stay happy—"We love to see them together, keep it going!"—then I'm thinking, "There go the ratings." Social media is finally giving people a voice, people who have been sitting frustrated in their living rooms, and now they can get it all off their chests, and other people will read it. It attracts a lot of newer viewers. When we do something controversial or take a character to a new, different place, I want to hear from the longtime viewers.
In the most recent Live+Same Day Nielsen ratings, Y&R was up 370K viewers since last year.

In 1999, Phelps spoke with Soap Opera Digest about the unhappiness many One Life to Live fans felt about the show and her decisions as executive producer, despite the ratings being up. "That’s proof positive that people are watching and even though some of them are a little angry, they care."

Are angry and upset fans a good thing? Sometimes? Always? How do you feel about The Young and the Restless of the Pratt-Phelps so far (his stories began airing in January)? Weigh in below in our Comments section.

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13 comments:

  1. I guess they're waiting for people to show their dissatisfaction by not wacthing, and then things will change? Okay!

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  2. I understand that soap operas were created to literally "sell soap," but a callous and disrespectful remark like "They Hate It But They're Watching" perfectly illustrates the cavalier attitudes of TPTB and the dismal state of the genre. I believe true professionals strive to achieve both Quality (content) and Quantity (ratings & revenue).

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    1. That is what is lacking in a lot of shows being broadcast right now. The thing is we keep watching sometimes because we are bored (and nothing showing interests us); we have this habit we cannot break or any number of other reasons. They are counting on us to keep watching no matter what foolishness they show us. This seems to be the 'new' normal which is quite disturbing.

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  3. I think Pratt just came up with CBS Daytime's new advertising tagline. He's never been about quality, just shocks to get people to tune in. The crown jewel of soaps has been smashed to bits. I can only imagine what Jeanne Cooper would say about this.

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    1. Every show he has been on has managed to loose viewers. Maybe that is why they hired him.

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  4. If we were to pull up some quotes from Chris Goutman about a decade ago, would his comments sound similar to that of Pratt and JFP?
    A once great industry (daytime dramas) laid to waste by some incredibly short-sided thinking.
    Very sad.

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  5. People love watching a structure explode for awhile, but what happens when the dust settles and you're left with an unstable foundation? As we've all seen, it collapses.

    Such is the state of affairs at every show these dinosaur, hack EPs and HWs are inflicted upon. I don't want to hate-watch a show. Most people watch a show out of enjoyment, surprisingly.

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  6. People love watching a structure explode for awhile, but what happens when the dust settles and you're left with an unstable foundation? As we've all seen, it collapses.

    Such is the state of affairs at every show these dinosaur, hack EPs and HWs are inflicted upon. I don't want to hate-watch a show. Most people watch a show out of enjoyment, surprisingly.

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    1. Any house that's built from the top down reaches it's intended destination and that is down as has been wittnessed with the destruction of previous shows of this genre. Every response I've ever read from this pair of self-proclaimed professionals has aptly proven their arrogance and lack of understanding of the bigger picture. They need to enjoy the ride while it lasts - obviously,their approach has failed in the past. RATINGS? Up in some categories but quite the opposite in the fan base numbers from what I've read. I have read that they are losing fans at an alarming rate. As for me, I'm only hanging in until I finally get the whole answer about who killed Dehlia. On principle, I will leave the show after that revelation because I have no respect for management and the lack of credibility and failure to connect the dots that has become the norm in the scriptwriting quality. Most fans like the actors but complain about stupidity in the storylines and miss the fascinating scripts that previous management created.

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  7. F BOTH OF U, Chuck Pratt and JFP. Check out The Bold and the Beautiful on how to write a show, you lame jerks. They don't steal from other shows, they keep their characters real, and their ratings are thru the roof worldwide. Both of you deserve to be fired along with that useless Angelica McDaniel. You all stink.

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  8. I have stopped watching this show, and I am a long time viewer. I refuse to watch this idiot ruin my show. I don't matter to him, he doesn't matter to me. Thanks a lot for ruining my soap.

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  9. Shame on you Chuck Pratt and your arrogance regarding the fans love of Y&R. I hope you are fired before you completely destroy this show. So many bad story lines but the one with Michael is the worst. That he would intentionally destroy another marriage, torpedo the love of his life all because he doesn't want to face his cancer. Just absurd!

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