The Young And The Restless’ Maria Arena Bell Out, Jill Farren Phelps & Josh Griffith In.

More changes.

Updated on September 6:

October 12 marks the first day that storylines will begin airing under Jill Farren Phelps and Josh Griffith.

Same Day Update:

CBS Soaps In Depth has reported that Bell posted on her Facebook in order to explain her departure from “Y&R,” which was a shock to her, and stated, “So it was announced today I am leaving ‘Y&R’… the show I have loved so much for so long. It is the legacy of my father in law… my mother in law… and all the Bells. The show has been my heart and soul. I loved working with the most talented writers in TV who were also the most wonderful human beings I know. They became a second family and my best friends. I loved the cast and crew. I am extremely sad to go because there are more stories I could have told. So much more I wanted to do. My ratings are strong… each week stronger than last year. The show is in a great place creatively. We are number one by the greatest margin in the show’s history and have been consistently while I’ve been there. Under no one else’s tenure as head writer exec producer have we won every demographic for so long. I am just shy of five years at the helm. It has been an amazing ride. So why am I leaving? I am mystified as are my cast and crew. There have been a lot of tears shed in the last few days… by me and by my loyal staff and by our iconic actors. I was not given a reason and in fact I have heard nothing from Sony or CBS. They sent me a message through my husband Bill who had the terrible job of conveying that they’d gone around him and were letting me go. I fought hard for my vision and to keep the show on track with the characters that matter to the audience. Maybe I fought too hard. But I am glad I did. I never compromised on what I believed in. I never dumbed down the storytelling. I walked in the door at ‘Y&R’ in 1988… as a young writer getting her first job. Today I leave there knowing it was one of the greatest experiences of my life. I love you ‘Y&R.’ Your story was my life story too. And to Victor… Nikki… Jack… and Kay… I will miss you.”

In another Facebook post, Bell shared how she said goodbye to those at the show. “When I said my farewell today to the company of ‘The Young and The Restless’ I stood between Eric Braeden [Victor], Peter Bergman [Jack], Melody Thomas Scott [Nikki] and addressed everyone. Then, spontaneously, each of them said something that was profoundly moving to me about how much they appreciated me, my work, my storytelling, my vision. The moment that will stay with me for the rest of my life was looking out at a sea…of faces, many of them in tears. And then Eric Braeden who was choking back tears himself to the point he could barely speak said that my leaving was a travesty that made no sense and that ‘This is the end of an era.’ In that moment I could feel my heart break a little… but I also felt that the commitment I had to that show… the seven day a week fifty two week a year craziness of it all was worth it… because I was part of the history of something truly great.”

Posted Earlier:

Earlier Soap Opera Fan Blog reported that Co-Head Writer Scott Hamner would be taking a leave of absence, and now Maria Arena Bell (“The Young And The Restless,” executive producer/head writer) will be leaving the soap.

Jill Farren Phelps has been hired as “Y&R’s” new executive producer and has worked on such soap operas as “General Hospital” (2001 to 2012), “General Hospital: Night Shift” (2007), “One Life To Live” (1998 to 2001), “Another World” (1995 to 1996), “Guiding Light” (1992 to 1995), and “Santa Barbara” (1987 to 1991). She is currently leading Sony TV’s Nick-at-Nite “Hollywood Heights” alongside former “Y&R” head writer Josh Griffith (2006 to 2008). In fact, Griffith will be returning to take over “Y&R’s” head writer position, one Bell has held since October 2008 when she replaced Griffith.

In an official statement Steve Kent, Senior Executive Vice President, U.S. Programming at Sony Pictures Television, stated “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. 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. We are also happy to welcome Josh back to ‘The Young And The Restless’ and are looking forward to his creative input and ideas.”

Do you think Y&R is in need of new leadership? Vote in Soap Opera Fan Blog’s poll…

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Photo Credit: Judy Eddy/

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Fun fact! Amy Mistretta wrote this story just for you on September 6th, 2012 |

  4 responses so far...

  1. From Jeffery McGraw

    Y&R has been in dire need of some creative infusion for quite a while. Maria Arena Bell had wonderful intentions toward maintaining Bill Bell’s legacy of methodical, character-driven storytelling. Unfortunately, the overall execution during Maria’s stewardship more often than not fell flat, with character motivations that seemed to derive from whichever way the wind might blow on any given week. The tilt-a-whirl of bed-hopping has been especially egregious. No one really cares who Sharon ends up with anymore because we all know she’ll be with someone different next week. The same could be said of numerous other characters. Perhaps the one saving grace under Maria has been the exquisite pairing of Victoria and Billy, who are – strangely – the one couple that anchors this once stalwart drama and helps keep it afloat (thanks mostly to those who portray them, Amelia Heinle and Billy Miller).

    I look forward to seeing how Jill and Josh will transform Y&R. Wishing them (and us, the loyal viewers) all the best in the months to come.

  2. From Linda

    Time will tell if this is a good move or not. The story line has been disjointed for a long time now. I don’t even recognize Sharon any longer. Yes Billy and Victoria are a great match and I think they finally got it right with Adam and Chelsey. Those two really like each other and it shows.

  3. From Tita Scorpio

    I had decided to stop watching the show due to the ridiculous & repetitive story lines, the constant partner switching – restless indeed! – and once likable characters becoming almost intolerable to watch. I never liked Sharon much but now she’s almost cartoonish. And Victor & Sharon a couple – OMG! But with new talent coming in, I think I will wait & see. Maybe there’ll be other reasons to watch now besides Victoria & Billy, who are the only reason I’ve stayed watching this long.

  4. From Cheryl Barrett

    The show has really gotten strange over the last 2 years. I used to never want to miss an episode but now I don’t really care. Story lines are horrible. Love Billy and Victoria together. Can’t believe that actress that plays Lilly is leaving.

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