Major changes are ahead at The Young and the Restless. When the calendar flips to a new year, the top-rated CBS soap will find itself needing a new head writer and executive producer. Mal Young, who was named executive producer in June 2016 and given head writing responsibilities in July 2017, has departed the show.
"Just arrived in London for the holidays. I felt like it was a good time to move on. Never a good idea to get too settled on a long running soap and I achieved all that I and CBS set out to do: improved scripts and production values," Young said in a statement to showbiz411.
Whether the decision to leave The Young and the Restless was, in fact, Young's decision is unclear. A report surfaced online last night, stating that Young was, in fact, relieved of his duties. Requests for statement have not been returned.
Young's tenure at The Young and the Restless featured a lot of experimentation and innovation -- and some history revision and casting decisions that didn't necessarily sit well with fans.
In the early part of Young's time at The Young and the Restless, the show adopted an "every day is a new day" approach to its storytelling. While the show received praise for trying something new, the format was eventually abandoned as both fans and critics argued that too many things were happening off-screen, and the storyline payoff had waned.
Young, who made a name for himself helming British soap operas like EastEnders and Doctors, did, however, earn critical praise for developing the storyline that focused on Dina Mergeron's Alzheimer's diagnosis. Fans have also praised Young for crafting Mariah and Tessa's love story, the show's first fully realized same-sex relationship.
Toward what would be the end of his time at Y&R, Young introduced elements of UK soap storytelling, where some episodes featured only a handful of characters. He also introduced a number of new characters, including the new-to-town "blue-collar" Rosales family. Some of the show's veterans, however, found themselves without story. Doug Davidson (Paul Williams) celebrated his 40th anniversary with Y&R and was subsequently dropped to recurring status. Other longtime castmates -- Eileen Davidson (Ashley Abbott), Greg Rikaart (Kevin Fisher), and Christel Khalil (Lily Winters) -- and new favorites -- like Mishael Morgan (Hilary Curtis) and Abhi Sinha (Ravi Shapur) -- left the show.
Production values were improved with the introduction of quite a few new sets, and the show began extensive use of "green screen" and computer-generated graphics. Young also started a tradition of airing original episodes on Christmas Day instead of repeat episodes. Due to preemptions, this year's Christmas episode will air on December 26.
Despite recently marking its 30th consecutive year as the number one soap, The Young and the Restless' ratings, like much of broadcast television, have sagged over the last year. Y&R is currently averaging 4.2 million viewers compared to about 4.7 million last year.
No successors to Young have been officially named, though a show insider tells Soap Central that former head writer and co-executive producer Josh Griffith, who returned to Y&R in August, is expected to take over as head writer. Daytime Confidential is reporting that Anthony "Tony" Morina, who has been with the series since 2004, will be the new executive producer.
Neither Young nor CBS have responded to Soap Central's requests for comment.
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