The Young and the Restless seems to be headed for some major behind-the-scenes changes. Though the CBS soap has been television's number one soap for more than two decades, fans have been critical of the show's performance over the past several years. Now, there are reportedly moves being made to bring in a new executive producer and some new talent to the writing staff.
Scott Hamner, one of Y&R's co-head writers, is out.
"I had decided to let my contract expire but Maria [Arena Bell, executive producer and head writer] asked if we could call it a sabbatical instead," Hamner told Soap Opera Digest, adding that the scribe indicated that he would more than likely return to writing duties after taking a few months off.
Others aren't so sure that Hamner will be back.
Meanwhile, Daytime Confidential reports that wheels are already in motion to name a new executive producer on television's top-rated soap. Citing sources, the site reveals that multiple-Emmy winner Jill Farren Phelps could soon be taking over as executive producer.
Earlier this year, Phelps was let go as the executive producer of General Hospital, a position she'd held since January 2001. Under her guidance, General Hospital earned four Daytime Emmy wins as Outstanding Drama Series, including a win at this year's Emmy ceremony.
Phelps also held positions at Another World, Guiding Light, One Life to Live, and Santa Barbara.
Phelps currently serves as executive producer for the Nickelodeon soap, Hollywood Heights. Both Hollywood Heights and The Young and the Restless are produced under the Sony Television masthead.
Daytime Confidential's Jamey Giddens adds that Sony wants "full creative and financial control" over Y&R.
It is unclear what the changes would mean for Maria Arena Bell, who currently serves as both head writer and executive producer of The Young and the Restless. It is believed that Bell would continue on as head writer, and that bringing in a new executive producer would free her to focus more on her writing duties.
So far, a spokesperson for Y&R has yet to comment on the reports.