In a plot twist far more unexpected than any seen on-screen, head writer Sally Sussman and story consultant Kay Alden are both exiting The Young and the Restless.
Daytime Confidential reports that both Sussman and Alden are "choosing to retire" from the world of soap opera writing. The report comes just a few days after a Highlight Hollywood report that claimed Alden was being forced out in favor of Sussman's son, Adam Morina.
"Sally has had great success with her career as a documentary filmmaker and wants to focus her time and energy there," a source told Daytime Confidential.
Earlier this year, Sussman's documentary, Midnight Return,was released to critical acclaim. The film explores the impact of the explosive, Oscar-winning 1978 movie Midnight Express, which told the true story of Billy Hayes, who escaped a Turkish prison after being arrested for smuggling hash. Midnight Return follows Hayes as he returns to Turkey many years later, and it seeks to reveal the impact cinema can have on the history, popular opinion, tourism, and other factors of a country.
As for who will take over the reins of Y&R's writing team, it is reported that Mal Young, who currently serves as executive producer of The Young and the Restless, will serve at least temporarily as head writer.
Sussman and Alden's retirement announcement comes just days after another long-time soap scribe wrote her last soap story. Jean Passanante stepped down as head writer of General Hospital, with the intention of enjoying retirement and baking pies. Passanante served as co-head writer of Y&R from December 2013 to March 2015.
Despite word that Alden and Sussman's exits are of their own choosing, one show source insists that this is not the case. According to the mole, a higher-up "has been unhappy with the way [...] story ideas have been executed."
"Adding to his current responsibilities as executive producer, Mal Young will be stepping in to the role of head writer of The Young and the Restless," Sony Pictures Television, which distributes Y&R, said in a statement. "He has made incredible contributions to the show since joining the team of daytime television’s #1 drama."
A Y&R spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
UPDATE: July 31, 2017 -- 11:23pm
Mal Young and some Y&R stars were quick to take to social media to weigh in on -- and seemingly confirm -- the changes.
"Standing on the shoulders of giants," Mal Young shared on Twitter. "Exciting times."
Standing on the shoulders of giants. Exciting times. #YR— mal young (@malyoung) August 1, 2017
Doug Davidson (Paul Williams) added, "Incredibly encouraged about changes that have occurred today. Mal Young has the taste, smarts, and talent to move our beloved show forward."
Incredibly encouraged about changes that have occurred today. Mal Young has the taste, smarts, and talent to move our beloved show forward.— Doug Davidson (@DougDavidsonYR) August 1, 2017
Later, when a fan complained that the show would revert to "awful plot-driven stories" under previous writing regimes, Davidson responded, "I'm very optimistic. Mal loves character driven stories."
What do you think about the changes? Do you think both Sussman and Alden decided to retire? Do you think another head writer will be hired, or will Young tackle both roles? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.