Jill Farren Phelps

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Jill Farren Phelps
Born (1950-07-07) July 7, 1950 (age 64)
New York, NY
Nationality American
Education BFA, Carnegie Mellon University
Known for American television producer
Awards Numerous Daytime Emmy Awards and nominations

Jill Farren Phelps (born July 7, 1950)[citation needed] is an American television producer. She is best known for her work with American soap operas, having served as executive producer of Santa Barbara, Another World, Guiding Light, One Life to Live and most notably General Hospital. She is currently serving as executive producer of The Young and the Restless.[1]

Background[edit]

Phelps was born in New York, New York[2] and earned a BFA in directing from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She became a stage manager at McCarter Theater in Princeton, New Jersey before becoming a production assistant for various New York stage productions, working with notable directors Mike Nichols and Bob Fosse. She started her television career in 1974 with Guiding Light as a production assistant. From 1977 to 1984 Phelps served as an Emmy Award-winning music director on the ABC Daytime drama General Hospital. In 1984 she joined Santa Barbara where she ultimately rose to the position of executive producer.[1][3] She has since worked as an executive producer at all three major U.S. television networks producing six daytime dramas, as well as two prime-time dramas on cable television.[1]

Career overview[edit]

Phelps has been the executive producer of six American television daytime dramas, a record in the soap industry, including Santa Barbara (1987–1991), Guiding Light (1991–1995), Another World (1995–1996; resigned August 4, 1996), One Life to Live (1997–2001), General Hospital (January 2001–January 2012), and as of now, The Young and the Restless (October 2012–present).[1] Additionally, she has served as executive producer of two prime time cable dramas, the first season of SOAPnet's prime time General Hospital spin-off General Hospital: Night Shift (2007) and Nick at Nite's Hollywood Heights (2012).[1]

Phelps broke into the daytime television industry as a production assistant on Guiding Light. She served as a music director on General Hospital and later on Santa Barbara before she started producing. During Phelps' time at Santa Barbara, the show won three consecutive Daytime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Drama Series (1988 - 1990). She scored four more Emmy victories in the same category while serving as executive producer at General Hospital (2005, 2006, 2008, and 2012).

On December 1, 2011, it was announced that Phelps' longest run in the television industry was coming to end, and that she would be replaced as General Hospital's executive producer by former One Life to Live executive producer Frank Valentini.[4][5] In January, 2012, Phelps accepted a position as executive producer of Hollywood Heights, a night-time soap opera airing on Nick at Nite.[1] On July 26, 2012, Sony Pictures Television, which produced Hollywood Heights, announced Phelps had been named executive producer of The Young and the Restless.[6]

Santa Barbara[edit]

In 1984, Phelps was hired as a music director after previously working in a similar capacity at General Hospital. She rose through the ranks, and was later promoted to producer. In 1987, when executive producer Mary-Ellis Bunim was let go, NBC Daytime named Phelps executive producer.[1] Under Phelps' leadership, the show won three consecutive Daytime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Drama Series in 1988, 1989, and 1990. Although Santa Barbara won two more Emmy awards in the Outstanding Drama Series category in 1989 and 1990.

Guiding Light[edit]

After Robert Calhoun left Guiding Light, Phelps, who had recently departed Santa Barbara, took over as executive producer in 1991.[1]

Another World[edit]

While Phelps served as executive producer at Another World, the creation of an updated, dynamic opening sequence and refreshed sets,[2] along with casting and other changes, were credited with ratings improving in the key demographic of women 18-49 by 34%.[7]

One Life to Live[edit]

After Phelps resigned as executive producer of Another World, ABC Daytime hired her to be the executive producer of One Life to Live in 1997.[1]

General Hospital[edit]

Phelps was named executive producer of General Hospital in 2001.[1] During her tenure there, the show won four Daytime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Drama Series (2005, 2006, 2008, and 2012).

One highlight of Phelps' time at General Hospital was the addition of accomplished television and screen actor James Franco to the cast. Franco has portrayed the mysterious Robert "Franco" Frank intermittently since 2009.[8]

Phelps was replaced by former One Life to Live executive producer Frank Valentini in January 2012.[4] The future of the show Phelps led for over a decade has been uncertain due to poor ratings, but GH was renewed in April, 2012 for another year.[9]

General Hospital: Night Shift[edit]

In 2007, Phelps served as the executive producer for the first season of SOAPnet's prime time General Hospital spin-off General Hospital: Night Shift.[1]

Hollywood Heights[edit]

In January, 2012, Phelps was hired as executive producer of Hollywood Heights, a soap opera for Nick at Nite.[1] The 80-episode limited series, which premiered on June 18, revolves around Loren (Brittany Underwood), a teen whose life is transformed after becoming a music star. Phelps shared producing duties with Hisham Abed and the show's head writer, fellow daytime drama veteran Josh Griffith, and she is working with several former daytime television actors on the show, most notably recurring General Hospital cast member James Franco (ex-Franco).[1][10]

The Young and the Restless[edit]

In July 2012, following the firing of executive producer and head writer Maria Arena Bell and co-head writer Scott Hamner, Sony Pictures Television appointed Phelps executive producer of The Young and the Restless, alongside the show's former head writer Josh Griffith.[6]

Controversies[edit]

Firing of Anna Lee[edit]

In 2003, Phelps did not renew the contract of veteran screen and television actress Anna Lee, who had portrayed matriarch Lila Quartermaine on General Hospital for a quarter of a century. According to fellow cast member Leslie Charleson, Lee had been promised the role for life by former executive producer Wendy Riche. Charleson said in 2007, "The woman was in her 90s ... they fired her, and it broke her heart. It was not necessary."[11] Lee died of pneumonia not long afterward.

Positions held[edit]

Preceded by
Bridget and Jerome Dobson
Mary-Ellis Bunim
Executive producer of Santa Barbara
1987-1991
Succeeded by
John Conboy
Preceded by
Robert Calhoun
Executive producer of Guiding Light
1991-1995
Succeeded by
Michael Laibson
Preceded by
John Valente
Executive producer of Another World
1995- August 4, 1996
Succeeded by
Charlotte Savitz
Preceded by
Maxine Levinson
Executive producer of One Life to Live
1997-2001
Succeeded by
Gary Tomlin
Preceded by
Pam Long
Head writer of One Life to Live (de facto)
1999
Succeeded by
Megan McTavish
Preceded by
Wendy Riche
Executive producer of General Hospital
2001-January 2012
Succeeded by
Frank Valentini
Preceded by
N.A.
Executive producer of General Hospital: Night Shift
July 2007 - Sept. 2007
Succeeded by
Lisa de Cazotte
Preceded by
N.A.
Executive producer of Hollywood Heights
June 18, 2012 - October 5, 2012
Succeeded by
N.A.
Preceded by
Maria Arena Bell
Executive producer of The Young and the Restless
October 23, 2012 - present
Succeeded by
Incumbent

Awards and nominations[edit]

As an executive producer, Phelps has been nominated for fifteen Daytime Emmy Awards and has won eight times (1988–1990, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2012 and 2014).

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "Nick @ Nite Press Release: Hollywood Heights". NickPress-HollywoodHeights.com. May 23, 2012. Archived from the original on June 17, 2013. Retrieved December 11, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "Jill Farren-Phelps Biography". www.torrentreactor.net. Retrieved January 5, 2012. 
  3. ^ "Jill Farren-Phelps Biography". www.imdb.com. Retrieved January 4, 2012. 
  4. ^ a b "Phelps Out! Valentini In!". abc.soapsindepth.com. Retrieved January 5, 2012. 
  5. ^ "General Hospital head writer on show's future". insidetv.ew.com. Retrieved January 5, 2012. 
  6. ^ a b "Jill Farren Phelps Named Executive Producer And Josh Griffith Named Head Writer Of "THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS," The Number One Daytime Drama". Market Watch. Marketwatch.com. 2012-07-26. Retrieved July 26, 2012. 
  7. ^ "Jill Farren Phelps: Executive producer of the ABC Television Network’s General Hospital". About.com. Retrieved March 23, 2006. 
  8. ^ "James Franco Returns to General Hospital". www.tvguide.com. Retrieved January 5, 2012. 
  9. ^ Verne Gay (April 11, 2012). "ABC: 'General Hospital' renewed; hour of "GMA" in afternoon". www.newsday.com. Retrieved June 26, 2012. 
  10. ^ Lowry, Brian (June 7, 2012). "Review: Hollywood Heights". Variety.com. Variety. Retrieved December 12, 2013. 
  11. ^ Soap Opera Weekly, 13 February 2007, p. 2

External links[edit]