This week, CBS Daytime hosted a very special studio day and panel discussion to kick off their upcoming fall season to the press. The Young and the Restless Peter Bergman, The Bold and the Beautiful’s Heather Tom, The Talk’s Sharon Osbourne and Julie Chen, The Price Is Right’s Drew Carey, and Let’s Make a Deal’s Wayne Brady all took part.
After the panel, On-Air On-Soaps spoke with Angelica McDaniel, Senior VP Daytime Programming CBS Entertainment, to get her thoughts and input on the decision to replace Maria Arena Bell at Y&R with Jill Farren Phelps and Josh Griffith, what the plans are for Y&R’s upcoming milestones, and what her involvement will be shaping the future of Genoa City.
In addition, Angelica reveals details of what fans of the CBS Daytime line-up can expect via the network’s new Twitter feed @CBSDaytime, and if the network is still in support of a same-sex storyline now that Joanna Johnson has left the building, leaving Crystal Chappell solo at B&B … for now. McDaniel also discusses what’s coming up for the program in which she was the mastermind, The Talk, when they come back for the fall for season three!
There were some very big decisions and sweeping changes at the top of the number one CBS soap, The Young and the Restless. Maria Arena Bell has been replaced in both her capacities with the series as executive producer and head writer. In her place comes Jill Farren Phelps as the new EP, and Josh Griffith as the new head writer. Many fans and viewers were glad, while at the same time many people were perplexed at who was brought in. So, did you have a hand in this decision?
ANGELICA: I think it was something Sony was looking to potentially pursue, and CBS was definitely involved in that conversation. We support the decision Sony made to bring on Jill and Josh. Maria did a great job the last five years she was with the show, but we are just looking forward to seeing where we can take the show next. B&B has shown that soaps can grow. We don’t have to accept that people say, “Oh, it’s a dying genre,” because it’s not. Look at Dallas and Revenge and primetime shows! Serial storytelling is not an exclusive genre to daytime. It’s thriving in primetime, cable, and daytime It’s just about welcoming Jill, who is fresh off her Outstanding Drama Series win for her work on General Hospital, and who has decades of experience in the day part, and also welcoming back Josh. He was with Y&R before and really stepped up during the strike and helped out with the show. We are so thrilled to have him coming back. It’s about collaboration with Sony and with CBS, and Jill and Josh, and working together to positively affect the show and see where we can take it!
We have been seeing B&B adding viewers almost every week, while Y&R was more often than not, losing viewers. That had to be one of the indications for you to make a major change at the top?
ANGELICA: I think with these kinds of decisions, it’s nothing that is taken lightly and something you come to overnight. There are a lot of layers involved in it and numbers are important. Part of my goal in all of daytime is to try to increase viewership. That was discussed, but it was not the driving force behind this decision.
So then it was more about that the-powers-that-be felt a change was just needed, given what was happening with the series.
ANGELICA: It was time to do something different, and we are excited to see what that something different will be.
Are you now heavily involved in the creative decisions for The Young and the Restless?
ANGELICA: This is really is a collaborative partnership. The Talk is on hiatus for the summer. This really gives me time to be on set and visiting with the actors and the writers. I am going to be really invested in the process. Y&R is something we care about and that I am very passionate about. I will be working with Jill and Josh, Steve Kent (Senior Executive V.P Programming Sony), and Margot Wain (CBS Director of Daytime Programs). It’s all of us coming together and defining what the clear vision for Y&R is as group. We don’t always agree, but we are going to have respectful dialog.
So there is a brand new Twitter page launched by you @CBSDaytime which looks to be a new online initiative for viewers of CBS Daytime!
ANGELICA: Yes, we just launched it on Tuesday July 31st! We have so much happening in daytime. We have The Talk which has been live for over 200 episodes, the soaps go year round, and we have the game shows which tape hundreds of episodes in a season. So we have a lot happening, and it is almost a love letter to the fans. This is really an opportunity for the fans to get real time information, behind the scenes sneak peeks, and just stuff about their shows that they are going to love. So definitely keep following the shows. Keep following the talent, but just add @CBSDaytime into the fold, because we are definitely going to have exclusives for all the CBS Daytime shows!
Over at B&B, Crystal Chappell and Joanna Johnson were going to launch the series first ever same-sex storyline. I know in our previous conversation, you were thrilled to have Crystal in the CBS line-up. Now with Joanna departing for what we know is an indeterminate amount of time to concentrate on the new primetime series she is producing, where do you see that story ultimately going?
ANGELICA: The great thing about soaps is anything can happen, right? And everything has! But Crystal is fantastic and we are thrilled to have her, and obviously Joanna as well. But never, say never.
The Talk is your baby. Are you pleased going into season three, where the show is at? From what we heard during the panel, the plan is to continue to entice big celebrity guests to appear on segments of the show, but also to lure those provocative newsmakers!
ANGELICA: Even if it’s not celebrity based, it can be provocative topics. We really want to be on the cusp of what people are talking about, those water cooler moments … whether it’s a news item, a celebrity item, or a celebrity guest. The Talk really found its voice in season two, and in season three it’s not about changing the show, it’s about taking what we know is working. That is: really topical talk with the ladies, followed by a celebrity guest, followed by “The Talk Takeaway” - little tips and tricks women can do to improve their lives and make things easier, faster, and to save money. Next season, we will do the same thing, but up our game a little bit and find those things that will spark and resonate, so we are really pushing ourselves.
This is a big season for Y&R! Its about to celebrate its 10,000 episode milestone and then it will gear up for its 40th Anniversary celebration early next year! What can you tell us about the network’s plans to support the shows accomplishments?
ANGELICA: We are building towards the end of September to celebrate the 10,000 episode with something special. We are going to have a big panel discussion at the Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills this month to honor the series, and we have a lot of the actors coming to participate. I think the big priority is figuring out everything we are going to do to honor the 10,000 episode, and then we are going to move into what we are going to do for Y&R’s 40th Anniversary which is next March. It’s a great cause for celebration. We have lot of things happening; The Price Is Right is celebrating its 40th, B&B is coming off 25 years, so we have a lot of anniversary’s here which is something to be very proud of.
What do you think about Angelica’s support of the regime change of Y&R? Do you think with Angelica getting more involved with the show in coming months, there could a return to the Genoa City you would love to see? What would you love to see happen to honor Y&R’s 10,000 episode and 40th Anniversary? What shows of the CBS Daytime line-up strike your fancy? Let us know the answers to our burning questions!