Wednesday, May 13, 2015

'The Young and the Restless' EPs Chuck Pratt & Jill Farren Phelps on Two Jacks, Victor, Using African American Cast Members, A Gay Story for Kevin, and Copying Stories from Other Shows

The second part of TV Insider's interview with The Young and the Restless executive producers Jill Farren Phelps and Chuck Pratt, who is also the show's head writer, covers everything from Michael's cancer storyline to Eric Braeden's (Victor) reaction to the Two Jacks storyline. Below are a few interesting excerpts.

Greg Rikaart recently gave an interview stating that he wants his character, Kevin, to be gay. What are the chances of that happening? There's a rabid camp of fans who want Kevin to get it on with Detective Harding.

Yep, Harding and Fisher. Their squish name is Harder.
Phelps: I never heard that before. I don't go online.
Pratt: With the right circumstance and right character—it could be Kevin or someone else—I would love to tell that story. I've told a gay storyline on every show I've ever been on, and it's odd that there isn't a gay relationship on Y&R.
Phelps: It would need to feel fresh and not just a box we check, just because that's what people expect. It needs to be more than that. It needs to be about characters the audience cares about. You can't do a gay storyline just for the sake of it.

Victor seems more and more like a Stefano DiMera-type supervillain. Is this the Mustache of the future?
I talked to Eric Braeden about this a lot, before the story started, and said, "If you object to this, tell me now." He wanted to know Victor's endgame, so I discussed how this is a Frankenstein story where Victor has created a monster and there's no way you can make a monster do everything you want. Victor gets to the point where it's, "Oh, my God, how the hell am I going to get out of this?" The audience will be rooting for him as he tries to protect his family. Meanwhile, we're playing what I feel is the coolest part of the story—Victor's plan to merge Jabot and Newman Enterprises. I've written a lot of business stories in my time and this one is my only favorite.

There's a widespread feeling on social media that the African-American characters aren't seen as often since Chuck took over. What's your comment on that?
I completely understand when people say that. We're not intentionally playing those actors less. But budget is budget. Money is money, and that affects some decisions. Sometimes a story is really thriving so other stories that are finishing up or moving into a new area will temporarily slow down. Actresses get pregnant. Certain things get in there and mess with us as we rebuild the show, but these characters and actors are of great importance to us.
On Michael's cancer storyline:

Pratt: Nothing about this story is exciting me that much, but at least something's happening and there's some conflict now. I want the story to account for something. You don't want people to look back and say, "Oh, remember when they tried that story…" and roll their eyes. If there's anything that hurts daytime, it's telling a story and ending it too quickly or ending it dishonestly. And that was happening a lot on this show.

Michael and Lauren were an interesting couple at one point, but they had become a little bit boring and I felt the same thing about Lily and Cane, so the idea was to push Lauren and Cane together. This was one of the most successful stories we did on Melrose Place. Marcia Cross' character was dying of a brain tumor and she pushed her cheating husband together with a hooker, Kelly Rutherford's character, never expecting they would fall in love. And that plot went on for years! I thought the two Y&R couples were mired in the same-old same-old and needed a fix. Yes, the audience likes them right where they were but, to me, in the show I envision, they weren't playable.
On going with Sharon and Dylan as a couple and why Dylan and Avery never became as popular as expected:

Pratt: I don't know why the thing with Avery wasn't as big as it should have been, but we will take it to a satisfying level and we'll come out of it with the right people elevated in the show.
Could Avery and Joe be headed out of Genoa City permanently? It wouldn't be surprising.

Read the complete interview here.

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


  1. One paragraph in and I'm blowing coffee out my nose. Some random thoughts: "I never go online" from the executive producer of the #1 daytime drama in the year 2015. "It would need to feel fresh" when the current stories are anything but. Business stories are booooooring-- lots of talking about what is going to happen with very little action. The head writer badmouthing characters and stories. The mind boggles.

  2. "I'll never let another show beat us." LOL! That's what is starting to happen right now!
    And the I never go online, BS! Please! Always thought JFP was a homophobe, and I think that was just cemented for me.

  3. M, I loved your first sentence.

  4. Are these 2 for real?!?! That interview is full of B.S.!!!!

  5. I could take it all from them if they were creating a great show. But they're not.

  6. Well, I see The Peter Principle is alive and well.

    By the way, why can't they just do a gay storyline for the sake of it? JFP seems like she's stuck in the '90s and overthinking this. Step 1 is that you simply have some gay characters on the canvas. Then, the stories come - just like with straight characters. Just watch Hollyoaks. There you've always got about a half dozen gay, lesbian, and bisexual characters to work with, so the stories just work their way into the drama naturally.

    And gee - it doesn't seem like she has a problem doing straight stories "just for the sake of them." There are several going on Y&R right now that are pretty lame and pathetic and don't meet any kind of standard of being "fresh" - not to mention ones where the couples don't even have a modicum of chemistry.

    On second thought, I don't think I want these two to do a gay storyline. They're comments are moronic and point toward gross incompetence.

    (For the record, I stopped watching this mess three weeks ago.)

    1. I AM Thrilled that JFP is sticking to her guns and not doing a gay story with Kevin. He has had many female relationships on the show. Do not change him,PLEASE!!!! Many of us is old school and don't want to see our beloved Y&R follow suit after other shows that are ringing all that garbage,into our soaps, Transgender etc.. on other shows. its sick. Bell cannot force people to watch something they don't want.his reason is to bring awareness to people. BS. there is plenty of other ways that people can learn or watch if they choose to, ABCfamily has a show called, becoming us. their are websites, and videos. plenty of ways to watch it.just don't bring it into our living room 5 days a week. as it is now. people on the b&b are recording and fastforwarding all the crap they/we don't want to see. keep our soaps as they have always been.

    2. I read that Kevin wants his character to be gay.I'm guessing it could be because he's gay in real life.

    3. I read that Kevin wants his character to be gay.I'm guessing it could be because he's gay in real life.

  7. I really wish Cane and Lily would stay a couple. They have struggled through alot and always survived. We need a longtime couple like Cane and Lily. Michael, I don't care so much about him anymore since he acted how he did during his cancer. My husband diagnose in may and gone 3 short months later, NEVER pushed me away. he need me more then ever. Hate that Lauren was once involved with a YOUNG guy Carmine ,its sickening, and now a possibility again with Cane, who Lauren has a son Scott the same age as Cane.