“The Young and The Restless” is making major changes at the top. Executive Producer/Head Writer Maria Arena Bell is leaving the show and is being replaced by Jill Farren Phelps, who will be the new Executive Producer, and Josh Griffith, who will be the new Head Writer.
Co-Head Writer Scott Hamner is also leaving the show. The status of Hogan Sheffer, the show’s other Co-Head Writer, is currently unknown.
via Press Release
LOS ANGELES, July 26, 2012 – Jill Farren Phelps has been named Executive Producer of THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS, daytime’s number one drama, and Josh Griffith joins the series as Head Writer, it was announced today by Steve Kent, Senior Executive Vice President, U.S. Programming at Sony Pictures Television.
“We are excited to have such a talented daytime veteran leading our team at ‘Y&R.’ Jill has a stellar record of success in the daytime genre,” said Kent. “We are also happy to welcome Josh back to THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS and are looking forward to his creative input and ideas.”
“On behalf of everyone at ‘Y&R,’ we extend our sincere thanks to Emmy® Award-winning Maria Bell for her contributions to the show over the last five years. We wish her the best of luck and continued success,” he added.
Phelps has been the executive producer of five daytime dramas and two prime time cable dramas: “Santa Barbara,” “Guiding Light,” “Another World,” “One Life to Live,” “General Hospital,” the first season of “General Hospital: Night Shift” and “Hollywood Heights.” As an executive producer, Phelps has been nominated for 14 Daytime Emmy Awards and has won seven times (1988–1990, 2005, 2006, 2008 and 2012).
Griffith’s writing career includes “As the World Turns,” “One Life to Live,” “Santa Barbara,” “Sunset Beach,” “General Hospital,” “The Young and the Restless” and “Hollywood Heights.” He has received four Emmy Awards and four Writer’s Guild Awards.
THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS has been the number one rated daytime drama for more than 23 years and is in its 39th season. The show is broadcast weekdays (12:30-1:30 PM; 11:00 AM-12:00 Noon, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network and is produced by Bell Dramatic Serial Company, in association with Sony Pictures Television.
Nickelodeon has tapped former “General Hospital” executive producer Jill Farren Phelps and former “One Life To Live” head writer Josh Griffith to adapt the popular Mexican telenovela “Alcanzar una Estrella“ for Nick at Nite. Phelps will be co-executive producer with Hisham Abed (“The Hills” and “The City”) and Griffith will serve as the head writer.
via press release
NICKELODEON AND TELEVISA BREAK NEW CREATIVE GROUND WITH “REACH FOR A STAR”, FIRST-EVER TELENOVELA ADAPTED FOR THE U.S., TO AIR ON NICK AT NITE
80-Episode Daily Series Centers Around Teenage Girl Who Reaches Stardom and Wins
the Love of Her Teen Idol; Produced in Association with Sony Pictures Television
Miami, FL – Jan. 24, 2012 – Nickelodeon, in partnership with Televisa, has ordered 80 episodes of a groundbreaking, original one-hour U.S. adaptation of the popular Mexican telenovela, Reach for a Star (Alcanzar una Estrella) for Nick at Nite, it was announced today by Cyma Zarghami, President of Viacom’s Nickelodeon Group; and Jose Bastón President of Television and Content from Televisa. The first telenovela ever adapted for the U.S. audience, Reach for a Star is a single-camera, daily series following a teenage girl whose life changes completely when she becomes a star and wins the love of her teen idol. Reach for a Star will be produced in association with Sony Pictures Television and is set to premiere later this year on Nickelodeon’s nighttime block for families–Nick at Nite. Production begins in March in Los Angeles, Calif.
“We have experienced first-hand the popularity of the daily scripted format with our kid audience through the success of House of Anubis and our teen audience with DeGrassi: The Next Generation,” and our Nick Latin American channel has already had great success in producing telenovela’s with Televisa,” Ms. Zarghami said. “This partnership brings together Televisa’s un-matched leadership in the telenovela genre with our expertise in making content, and we’re looking forward to introducing this first true English-language telenovela to Nick at Nite’s family audience.”
“As part of the steps towards building a strong presence in the Anglo TV market, Televisa is excited to coproduce with Nickelodeon one of the many successful scripts from our library in a daily series format,” said Bastón. We are convinced that the daily series will be well received by Nick´s family audiences, and will capture their attention daily as it has happened in different markets in the world where Televisa has exported its production capabilities. The Televisa and Nick alliance will certainly result in a successful formula, and we envision Reach for a Star as the first of many joint projects.
“For more than a decade Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN) and Televisa have been strategically building upon their regional partnership that today encompasses, distribution, consumer products and co-productions,” said Pierluigi Gazzolo, Chief Operating Officer, VIMN. “Reach for a Star marks a dynamic new phase in our partnership and VIMN is incredibly excited to once again be expanding our content portfolio with Televisa.”
Reach for a Star follows Nickelodeon’s success with its live-action serialized series, House of Anubis and Degrassi. Nickelodeon has also experienced tremendous success with the format in Europe and Latin America. The Reach for a Star series is an adaptation of the hit Mexican telenovela, Alcanzar una Estrella, first broadcast on Canal de las Estrellas and Univision in 1990. The success of the series led to a film and sequel telenovela starring Latin American pop sensations, Ricky Martin and Sasha Sokol.
Reach for a Star follows a smart, shy and independent high school senior, Loren, who has ambitions of being a songwriter and secretly sends her song lyrics to her celebrity crush, rock superstar Eddie Wild. Loren’s wildest dreams come true when she not only wins a songwriting competition sponsored by Eddie, but strikes up a friendship with her idol. Eddie sees beyond Loren’s potential as a songwriter and gives her a first break as a singer, and when the truth about his less-than-faithful girlfriend Chloe is revealed, Eddie and Loren’s friendship blossoms.
The series will be co-executive produced by six-time Emmy Award-winner Jill Farren Phelps (General Hospital, One Life To Live) and Hisham Abed (The Hills and The City). Josh Griffith (Young and The Restless, As The World Turns) will serve as head writer.
Nick at Nite is Nickelodeon’s nighttime programming block that features popular hit family comedies including the Emmy Award-winning series Friends, My Wife & Kids, George Lopez and The Nanny.
(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — In a statement released via Soap Opera Digest, “One Life to Live” head writer Ron Carlivati says, “I am both excited and honored to remain with ‘One Life to Live’ as Head Writer and Consulting Producer when the show moves online. My heartfelt thanks to Executive Producer Frank Valentini, as well as to Rich Frank and Jeff Kwatinetz of Prospect Park for this incredible opportunity.”
“I would also like to express my very sincere gratitude to everyone at ABC Daytime, especially Jill Phelps at ‘General Hospital,’ for supporting me in this decision.”
Back in June it was announced that Carlivati was expected to report to “GH” as a script writer after the conclusion of “One Life to Live” on ABC. In July it was announced that his canceled soap would live on via Prospect Park’s licensing deal with the Disney/ABC Television Group. It was announced earlier today that the writer would join several of his cast as the soap transitions to the web in January 2012.
(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — After fifteen years of working in various positions on the “One Life to Live” writing staff, including serving as the show’s head scribe for the last three years, ABC has announced that Ron Carlivati will be joining “General Hospital” as a script writer. The move will fulfill the remainder of the three-year contract Carlivati signed with the network last September. A similar two-year deal was hammered out at the time with “One Life” Executive Producer Frank Valentini.
Despite the timing of the news, “OLTL” fans breath a sigh of relief, however, since Carlivati is not expected to begin his new duties until after the show wraps production sometime in mid-November. “One Life to Live” will air its final episode on January 20, 2012.
Carlivati echoed the sentiment in a press release, saying that “I remain fully committed to Frank Valentini and ‘One Life to Live’ as the show’s Headwriter until the series concludes in January of 2012. It has been my distinct honor to write for Agnes Nixon’s groundbreaking soap opera for the past fifteen years, and it will be with a heavy heart that I, along with my incredibly talented team, pen its finale. At that time, I am happy to announce that I will then be joining the writing team of ‘General Hospital,’ and am thrilled to be working once again with Executive Producer Jill Phelps as well as new Headwriter Garin Wolf.”
Wolf was just named “GH” headwriter last month by Brian Frons, President, Daytime, Disney/ABC Television Group, upon the firing of the show’s former head scribe Robert Guza, Jr.
The news of Carlivati’s move to the L.A.-based “Hospital,” was broken Thursday by “One Life’s” soon-to-be-departing leading lady Robin Strasser, who tweeted that ” JUST TOLD but NOT told it wuz SECRET: Ron CARLIVATI to #GH as script writer-hopes 2 b co-head writer? Yo,I’m taking heat for leaving early?” Strasser, as we previously reported, is leaving “OLTL” this summer to have back surgery. Her final tape date is Friday, July 1.
Carlivati, along with his writing staff, won a Daytime Emmy in 2008 for their work on “One Life to Live.” He began his daytime career on the soap as a Writer’s Assistant from 1996-1998, before being promoted the the position of Script Writer. In 2001 he was again promoted, this time to the job of Breakdown Writer. In May 2007, he was appointed Co-Head Writer (along with Dena Higley). In September of that year, he was named the show’s sole Head Writer following the network’s dismissal of Higley, where he has continued to serve (minus a brief hiatus during the 2008 Writer’s Strike) in the same capacity.
Click here to read an interview Soap Opera Network did with Carlivati in March of this year, one month before ABC announced the cancellation of “One Life to Live” and sister soap “All My Children.”
(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — On Monday, May 23, three days after news broke that Ingo Rademacher (Jasper ‘Jax’ Jacks) had been fired by ABC’s “General Hospital,” Soap Opera Network tweeted that we had exclusively learned that Vanessa Marcil Giovinazzo (Brenda Barrett Corinthos) would be the next actor leaving the daytime drama series. On Thursday, May 26, just before the long Memorial Day Weekend, the actress confirmed our report when she revealed that her days with the soap were numbered via her Twitter page. Interestingly, the actress has been tweeting up a storm since revealing the news while keeping mum for nearly 3 months on her twitter account (it had previously been crickets since February of this year). Marcil Giovinazzo’s confirmation follows months of rumors since she revealed in an interview with Access Hollywood Live back in March that she was on her way out.
“I came back to honor my roots. These are the people that I grew up with. I haven’t been a regular on the show in 13 years. It was like going to an incredible high school reunion,” said Marcil Giovinazzo of her time back at the Prospect Studios where “GH” is filmed in her AHL interview. “We had so much fun. I have so much respect for these people. They work so hard. I loved being there. We shot the wedding for seven days. We just had the best time. There were all these insane things that happened and now after the wedding, there’s a lot of drama because now my time [on 'General Hospital'] is almost done.”
In a tweet posted on Tuesday, June 7, the actress revealed her last tape date will be this Thursday, June 9. “Thank you ‘GH’ for a great year. Best cast and crew in the world and in my heart forever,” she commented after revealing the date.
In the days leading up to her exit, the actress showed her appreciation for her co-stars, fans and crew including “General Hospital” executive producer Jill Farren Phelps. “My final days are near… will miss Maurice [Benard] and cast with every cell of my being. Should I keep Brenda’s thigh high stilettos?” was just the beginning of numerous tweets made by the actress back on May 26. It was followed up by the revelation that she’d be working on a cartoon series post “GH.” In her tweet to follower nygall33, Marcil Giovinazzo stated she was “working on an animated children’s show that I wrote with my sister and my son. GAGOO AND THE LAND OF CHOICES :)” On Farren Phelps, the actress said “My boss Jill says door is open. She”s lovely.” On Friday, May 27, Marcil Giovinazzo revealed that Steve Burton (Jason Morgan) “got me through first 3 months here. He’s breathtakingly talented. Wish we had gotten more together.”
While a “GH” representative was unable for comment at press time nor do we expect to receive one on this matter as it is ABC policy not to respond to actor tweets, look for Vanessa Marcil Giovinazzo to last air in mid-to-late-July as the soap currently films 5 weeks ahead of airdate.
(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — After 72 years on air between radio and television, CBS’s “Guiding Light” will cease broadcasting on the CBS Television Network due to low ratings. Love may save the world, but apparently it wasn’t enough to save television’s longest running daytime drama. Even with having its name published in the Guinness World Record Book and winning three Daytime Emmy’s for Best Drama Series (the most recent being in 2007), “GL” found itself unable to withstand the mass exodus of viewers from the traditional daytime soap format in recent years.
Consistently finding itself in the ratings cellar for the past few years, many sensed that the dimming ‘Light” would soon burn out on the long-running daytime drama.
According to published reports, Proctor & Gamble, the company responsible for producing both “Guiding Light” and sister soap “As the World Turns,” sat down with cast and crew members at their studios in New York and New Jersey on Wednesday morning to break the news that “GL” would be ceasing production this fall, with the last episode airing on Friday, September 18th after more than 15,700 episodes.
The news was met with mixed emotion by fans and cast alike. Long running “GL” castmember Ron Raines, who portrays the villainous Alan Spaulding stated that the “The numbers are really tough for all these old dramas. I don’t think any of the other shows want any of us to go off. We’re all in this together. What was it? 72 years continuous? That will never be touched. It is a very sad thing, but these are the times we live in. It’s very tough out there.”
“Being on the air for more than seven decades is truly remarkable, and it will be difficult for all of us at the show to say goodbye,” said Executive Producer Ellen Wheeler. “I’m proud of everything we’ve been able to do, including outstanding storytelling, our community service around the country with ‘Find Your Light’ and the launch of our new production model. This show has such a rich history, wonderful fans, and I’m honored to have been a part of the ‘GL’ legacy.”
This afternoon’s sudden announcement has sent shockwaves that have reverberated around the nation, as news of “GL’s” demise has dominated media outlets and online soap message boards. Lynn Leahey, Soap Opera Digest editorial director, calls the cancellation “heartbreaking” and said that “it was a constant in people’s lives” that hung around, unlike its prime-time counterparts that came and went. “For many of us, it was the first show we ever watched.”
Former “GL” Executive Producer Jill Farren Phelps summed up her fondness for the years she spend at the helm of the long-running daytime drama “‘Guiding Light’ has a very special place in my heart. I began my career in daytime there as a production assistant and later returned as executive producer. It was a privilege (both times) to be a part of such a fabulous group of people who did such outstanding work. Some of the most talented actors, writers, and directors have walked through the doors of ‘Guiding Light.’ The industry will mourn the loss of this beloved show, but ‘Guiding Light’ leaves a rich legacy for all of us in daytime to treasure. I wish all my dear friends a gentle landing.”
Nancy Tellem, President of CBS Paramount Network Television Entertainment Group, had this to say about the the show’s rich legacy, “‘Guiding Light’ has achieved a piece of television history that will never be matched, it has crossed mediums, adapted its stories to decades of social change, and woven its way through generations of audiences like no other. This daytime icon will always be an indelible part of CBS’s history, with a legacy of innovation and reputation for quality and excellence at every step of the way. While its presence will be missed, its contributions will always be celebrated and will never be forgotten.”
And, according to Barbara Bloom, Senior Vice President of Daytime Programs at CBS, “No show in daytime or prime time, or anytime, has touched so many millions of viewers across so many years as ‘Guiding Light.’ We thank the cast, crew, and producers — past and present — who delivered this entertainment institution, the beloved characters, and the time-honored stories to our audience every day for seven decades. It’s been a privilege to work with such an extraordinarily talented group of people.”
Adding to “GL’s” woes within the past decade is the fact that several prominent CBS affiliates from around the country have either moved the soap to early morning or late night time slots, or removed it from their programming schedule entirely (such as KOVR-TV in Sacramento, California and WNEW-TV in Flint City, Michigan).
With sagging ratings, “Guiding Light” began to experiment with several different approaches to the traditional daytime model of storytelling within the past year. The sudser scrapped the familiar three stationary camera set-up in favor of portable cameras, which allowed producers to film cast members in various settings and locations outside the studio. Unfortunately, however, the changes did little to re-energize ‘GL,’ and largely had the opposite effect, resulting in turning off veteran fans and losing such popular cast members such as Beth Elhers and Ricky Paull Goldin (who have since moved on to ABC’s “All My Children”).
According to CBS, in 2008, the soap “premiered a brand-new daytime production model, featuring permanent sets inside its New York City studio and approximately 20% of the production shot in exterior scenes in the town of Peapack, N.J. In addition, directing and editing were changed to be done digitally and almost simultaneously, giving the sets a more realistic feeling and eliminating the need for production suites.”
In a press release issued by TeleNext Media, Inc., which oversees production of “GL” for Proctor & Gamble, Senior Vice President and Managing Director Brian T. Cahill thanked fans for their loyalty over the years and said that “We are honored to have been welcomed into the homes of multiple generations of ‘Guiding Light’ viewers. Cahill also gave “GL” fans a glimmer of soap by announcing that he and his staff are “working hard to find the show a new home, and we are exploring all our options to continue to bring loyal fans the characters and stories they love.” That ‘new home’ could come in the form of online episodes or moving ‘GL’ to a cable or satellite network following the soap’s departure from the CBS Daytime schedule this fall. However, given the recent failure of the now-defunct NBC soap “Passions,” which moved to DirecTV near the end of its run after being cancelled by the Peacock Network, the outlook for a new venue for “Guiding Light” appears bleak at best.
The demise of “Guiding Light” leaves only seven daytime soaps still airing on the Big Three Networks. ABC and CBS will each have three and NBC one. In terms of longevity, fellow P&G soap “As the World Turns” is daytime’s second oldest drama, celebrating its 53rd anniversary on April 2nd. The other six soaps (with the year they premiered in parenthesis) are “General Hospital” (1963), “Days of Our Lives” (1965), “One Life to Live” (1968), “All My Children” (1970), “The Young & the Restless” (1973), and “The Bold & the Beautiful” (1987). “GL” becomes the eighth daytime drama to be cancelled in the past twenty years, placing it with the likes of “Another World,” “Santa Barbara,” “Sunset Beach,” “Loving,” “The City,” “Port Charles,” and “Passions.”
“Guiding Light” was created nearly seventy-five years ago by the talented soap writer Irna Phillips (1901-1973). Long recognized as a daytime pioneer, Phillips created or co-created nearly a dozen soaps, three of which (“As the World Turns” and “Days of Our Lives,” which she helped Tim and Betty Corday develop) were still on the air at the beginning of 2009. Phillips has either direct or indirect ties to all but one of the eight present daytime dramas. Agnes Nixon (creator of “One Life to Live” and “All My Children”) and William J. Bell, who developed the concepts for “The Young and the Restless” and “The Bold and the Beautiful,” were at one time writers for Phillips on several of her soaps. This leaves “General Hospital” as the only remaining soap not either created by the late soap icon, or one of her protégés. “Guiding Light” paid homage to Phillips in a special 70th anniversary episode in 2007, which featured past and present cast members portraying Phillips, her crew, and some of the original “GL” characters while recording a radio broadcast of the show in the late 1930s.
Launched as a 15-minute NBC radio serial on January 25, 1937, “Guiding Light” would later make the transition to television, premiering on CBS on June 30th, 1952. The radio broadcast ran concurrently with its TV counterpart (and featured the same actors and characters) before coming to an end in 1956. “GL” first aired in color on September 11th, 1967, and expanded to thirty minutes the following year. In November 1977, it expanded once more, this time to sixty minutes. Ratings peaked in late 1981, but have steadily declined in the years that have followed.
Set in the fictional town of Springfield and focusing primarily on the Spaulding, Lewis, and Cooper families, “Guiding Light” has won an impressive 69 Daytime Emmy Awards and 12 Soap Opera Digest Awards during the soap’s long, record-setting history. “GL” has also broken ground over the years by tackling numerous controversial issues including teen pregnancy, cancer, alcoholism, sexual harrasement, abuse, Down Syndrome, and post-partum depression. It was also the first daytime drama to prominently feature African-Americans in frontburner storylines in 1966. ‘GL’ became the first soap to podcast audio only episodes in 2005. Veteran cast members include Kim Zimmer, Jordan Clarke, Robert Newman, Michael O’Leary, Grant Alexander, and Tina Sloan. “GL” also boasts a long list of distinguished alumni, including Justin Deas (who is tied with “One Life to Live’s” Erika Slezak and “General Hospital’s Anthony Geary for most Daytime Emmy wins, and remains a part of the cast), Kevin Bacon, Calista Flockhart, Allison Janney, James Earl Jones, Cicely Tyson, Taye Diggs, Hayden Panettiere, and Brittany Snow.
Originally known as “The Guiding Light” (‘the’ was dropped in 1975), the show focused around the character of the Rev. John Ruthledge, and his parishioners in the Chicago suburb of Five Points (the setting later moved to Selby Flats, before finally settling in Springfield). A continuously lit lamp in the Reverend’s study assured his flock that he was there for them whenever they needed him.
Even though the ‘Light’ will soon be extinguished, its legacy and rich history will continue to live on in future generations of soap fans. Thank you, “Guiding Light,” for your contributions to the daytime drama, and God speed. You will be missed.
Stay connected to SON as we continue to follow this story.
“Guiding Light” airs Weekdays on CBS. Anytime on CBS.com. Check local listings.