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Just stumbled upon this via a Twitter post. It's a podcast interview someone conducted with JFP earlier this year. She talks a lot about her start in daytime and the various shows she's Executive Produced.

 

https://anchor.fm/soapoperaroyalty/episodes/JILL-FARREN-PHELPS-ebr1bj

 

For those who don't want to listen, here's a quick recap of some main points I wrote down:

  • She says she started as a casting assistant at GL before became a production assistant there
  • Then she went over to GH to became the musical director at GH, and then SB - and then moved up to producing at SB
  • Talks a lot about Cruz and Eden at SB in the beginning
  • She says her Emmy wins at SB were due to SB being a "different" show that didn't "play by any rules" 
  • She says that she thinks a story like Eden's rape on SB could never be done today
  • She talks about Maureen Bauer's death on GL - she takes responsibility for it, but says she "researched" this decision a lot, and the "research" said the audience was indifferent to the character. She says the writing of the story made people care "too much about the character," so when they killed her, the audience was "out of its mind". Goes on to say this was a "teaching" moment for her - IMO, she tries to victimize herself here a bit, and the backlash from Maureen's death still stings her in some way
  • Continues to say she didn't kill Frankie Frame on AW as she was already out the door - she doesn't say her name, but pretty much blames Margaret DePriest for this and the way it was written 
  • She defends the John/Felicia affair story on AW...
  • On OLTL, she says Erika Slezak and her had a lot of "trust" between them
  • Talks a bit about her Emmy wins and what they mean...
  • Not much was said about her GH tenure strangely, but the interviewer didn't have any specific questions
  • She said Hollywood Heights was brutal work, but she had fun (that's where she and the interviewer worked together) 
  • On Y&R, she said the mandate from CBS was to "bring it into this century." She said CBS and Sony felt the show, its look, and its sound were "outdated"; She praised the Delia death story...
  • She says the decline in soaps over the past 20 years is due to people having life changes (more women going to work, people losing the habit); She says the search for "younger viewers" did a disservice to the people actually watching the soaps
  • Typical OJ excuse for the loss of the soap audiences also talked about
  • She says loved all of the shows she EP'd, but there was one she wouldn't name that she said she didn't love as much due to where she was in her life...
  • She singled-out the beginning of her time at GL as a piece of work she was particularly proud of - the writers (Curlee/Demorest/Reilly/Broderick) were't mentioned by name but she praised them as "extraordinary"; She LOVED the Blackout week on GL
  • She says Gloria Monty never remembered her name and called her "Jane" when she was musical director at GH, bur she learned a lot from watching her
  • She praised Steven Bochco a little too much and says she tried to bring things she watched on his shows on the shows she produced...
  • Says she would love to bring Santa Barbara back if she could bring back any of the cancelled soaps she worked on
  • She felt like she had unfinished business at AW and didn't get to do a lot of what she wanted there; She called JER's (or 'Jimmy Reilly' as she affectionately called him) work at DAYS "brilliant", but she said she refused pressure from NBC to steer AW into the direction he had taken DAYS in 
  • She says she would like to be remembered for being "fearless" and "courageous" and for encouraging others to be that way, and also being a "good boss" 

 

 

 

Edited by BetterForgotten

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Thanks! Especially for the recap :)

 

I love the way she rationalizes pretty much everything. Wonder if there was ever a proper mistake she made. 🙄

Oh, and regarding CBS's supposed mandate for Y&R: if creating 5-dollar sets and cheap music is considered bringing a soap into this century they might as well turn it into a webseries.

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41 minutes ago, BetterForgotten said:

On Y&R, she said the mandate from CBS was to "bring it into this century." She said CBS and Sony felt the show, its look, and its sound were "outdated"; She praised the Delia death story...

 

9 minutes ago, Aback said:

Oh, and regarding CBS's supposed mandate for Y&R: if creating 5-dollar sets and cheap music is considered bringing a soap into this century they might as well turn it into a webseries.

When you watch the older episodes and how sumptuous and timelessly produced they were (and in a lot of ways far more modern actually), you can only think, how boneheaded! But these people were looking at all the wrong things to blame for a stagnant and gutted show. 
 

As deluded as she is, her BTS perspective on soaps is invaluable  (from its pop culture peak to its lowest of lows, which she helped precipitate). I’ll make time to listen, and thanks for the recap, @BetterForgotten.

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And yet she was fired by CBS/Sony for repainting Katherine Chancellor’s mansion and moved her portrait. What a way to end a long career. I do wonder if Y&R is the soap she didn’t love as much, especially once Pratt came in. 
 

I’ve heard her blame DePriest before when she first started Y&R. Who knows who wheeled out DePriest from the nursing home that year, although she did up writing for Sunset Beach for a while afterward. 
 

Phelps became the poster child of when focus groups and writing by committee  go wrong. Blackout Week on GL was indeed amazing I’m glad she acknowledges that was her best work at GL

I will have to listen, it seems to me as if someone has actually a list of regrets in their life as opposed to accomplishments. 

 

 

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It is true Phelps didn't make the decision to kill Frankie Frame.  She always get the blame, but I was watching at the time, and a new executive producer had already been named -- wasn't it Charlotte Savitz?  Maybe a new head writer too, not sure about that.  Jill's name was still in the credits, but she was a lame-duck and everybody knew it.  Savitz (or who ever was the new Ex Prod) was already calling the shots.   They were in the middle of deciding how to pay for Robert Kelker Kelly's salary, when the new Ex. Prod. was announced.  She came in and made the decision very quickly -- fire Alice Barrett.  I understand the confusion, because Phelps was still in the credits.  But she wasn't even contributing at that point.  The new Ex Prod made that decision.   This is a historical error that will probably never be fully corrected, mostly because of her name being in the credits. And so many people hate Phelps, and want to make her look as bad as possible, they just keep pushing this rumor around.  But the soap press, at the time, had made it very clear Phelps was a lame-duck.  Then the decision to kill-off Frankie was announced.   

Edited by Neil Johnson

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3 hours ago, BetterForgotten said:

 

  • On Y&R, she said the mandate from CBS was to "bring it into this century." She said CBS and Sony felt the show, its look, and its sound were "outdated"; She praised the Delia death story...

 

Of course they did. OF COURSE. :rolleyes: Taking something classic and timeless and destroying it to chase the trends... and not even doing that right! 

 

And then a few years later they reintroduce the "outdated sounds". Idiots. Bunch of fools.

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2 hours ago, soapfan770 said:

 I do wonder if Y&R is the soap she didn’t love as much, especially once Pratt came in. 

I got the feeling she was talking about OLTL. She talked about how boring she found the show (or a specific scene between Slezak and Straser) when she got there. She was the one responsible for bringing Pratt to Y&R.

Edited by BetterForgotten

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1 hour ago, BetterForgotten said:

I got the feeling she was talking about OLTL. She talked about how boring she found the show (or a specific scene between Slezak and Straser) when she got there. She was the one responsible for bringing Pratt to Y&R.


Gotcha. She did sound a little flustered talking about Y&R and also gave Griffith way too much credit when it was Altman’s work that out Y&R back in the 4’s briefly if I recall right. 

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Does this woman ever take responsibility for anything? She wants to take credit for the positive, but it's always someone else's fault when it is a huge mistake. I would appreciate it more if she just said "I screwed up." I have no doubt there was network interference, but she made the same type of mistakes on every show.  

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I get the issues with her, particularly her damaging stint at GH, but I did love her time at Guiding Light. The writing and production was just top notch AND without their biggest stars. I get people are upset about Maureen’s death, but at least it was part of a major story. IMO that is how a death should be, with real emotional stakes. 
 

With Y&R I thought she fit in well. I love her always for making a point to bring Jess Walton back and having the writers write for her. You could tell by the time she reached Y&R she was relaxed as an EP. Yes the set changes were a bad idea, but as we now know it wasn’t her choice. 

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I don't blame her for AW. She brought in Tom King/Craig Calson/Harding Lemay to write the show, updated the credits with the best opening daytime has ever had IMO (other than Edge when they updated during Lori Loughlin's years).  I loved John and Felicia.  NBC wanted to do vampires and kept insisting on changing the writers. They had a one or two novelists come in as consultants before NBC forced the return of DePriest. Her early years on GL were mostly great and it was due to the writing. But she lost her way when she brought in writing by committee then fired them for an inexperienced college professor, Doug Anderson. I could never get into Santa Barbara or her version of GH.  

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1 minute ago, Chris B said:

I get the issues with her, particularly her damaging stint at GH, but I did love her time at Guiding Light. The writing and production was just top notch AND without their biggest stars. I get people are upset about Maureen’s death, but at least it was part of a major story. IMO that is how a death should be, with real emotional stakes. 
 

With Y&R I thought she fit in well. I love her always for making a point to bring Jess Walton back and having the writers write for her. You could tell by the time she reached Y&R she was relaxed as an EP. Yes the set changes were a bad idea, but as we now know it wasn’t her choice. 

I thought she has some good months at GL, but then the wheels came off as they always do with JFP. Maureen's death really didn't create much story after that (much the same way Cass was M.I.A shortly after Frankie's death). I always felt JFP dumbed down the GL characters (as she did with OLTL) and when I look at the 1991 episodes, it's shocking to me how much more emotionally satisfying they were compared to a lot of her work. 

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Everyone always says the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. That, if you ask me is Jill's career in a nutshell.

 

On so many shows that she produced, she tried to change their core focus. Under her, AW became ER. Under her, GH became The Sopranos. It might have brought some new viewers, but it almost always alienated, and turned off each show's core audience. And as a result, look what happened.

 

I am curious to know how she would have been if she had been hired as the EP for a brand new soap, like Sunset Beach or Port Charles or even Passions. I'm sure there would have been mistakes, but would they have caused their audiences to tune out?

2 minutes ago, RavenWhitney said:

I don't blame her for AW. She brought in Tom King/Craig Calson/Harding Lemay to write the show, updated the credits with the best opening daytime has ever had IMO (other than Edge when they updated during Lori Loughlin's years).  I loved John and Felicia.  NBC wanted to do vampires and kept insisting on changing the writers. They had a one or two novelists come in as consultants before NBC forced the return of DePriest. 

I'm actually watching the episodes of AW under JFP on YT right now and honestly, I don't think its terrible. It's just that it doesn't feel like AW, it feels more like a crime/medical drama which AW wasn't up until that point. I completely understand why a lot of people tuned out at this time. 

 

But yeah, Jill aside, it's pretty clear that the sabotage/turning it into a DOOL clone had started before she got there. 

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