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Y&R's Jeanne Cooper Video Interview Chat! Her Memoir, Maria Bell's Exit from Y&R & Your Questions Answered!

Courtesy/Harper Collins

Courtesy/Harper Collins

Yesterday on the official release date of The Young and the Restless’ Jeanne Cooper’s (Katherine Chancellor) new tell-all memoir, Not Young Still Restless, On-Air On-Soaps Michael Fairman chatted with the legendary actress via a special Skype chat while Jeanne was in New York City promoting the release of her book and Fairman was in Los Angeles! During the video interview, an emotional Cooper discussed many parts of her turbulent life with heartfelt honesty, while at the same time laughing about the roller coaster ride of a life she has had off-screen and on-screen as the Grand Dame of Genoa City for over 39 years. 

On-Air On-Soaps previously asked fans via our Facebook, Twitter, and posts here at our website, to submit questions for Jeanne and during the mid-way point in the interview she answers many of them that were chosen!

Courtesy/Harper Collins

Of course, the hot question on everyone’s mind and ours was how did Jeanne feel about the firing of Maria Arena Bell as the executive producer and head writer of The Young and the Restless, and the hiring of Jill Farren Phelps and Josh Griffith as her successor’s in each of the key roles.   Here are some excerpts from the video interview of what Jeanne had to say about that, and what she would do to fix the the enormous population of new characters that have invaded Genoa City!

Jeanne on Maria Bell’s exit:  “I was out of town thank God, when it happened.  I was honored that both Maria Bell and Steve Kent (Senior Executive Producer, SONY) called me.   And, I was honored that both people wanted to tell me their side of the story.  I have to say in Maria’s defense, she was serving two hats, one with MOCA (The Museum of Modern Arts) and one with The Young and the Restless.  She had a great sense of Y&R having Bill Bell as a father-in-law and learning and writing under his umbrella.  But within the art world, it was going down. And Maria as the chairwoman was very beneficial in turning that around.  Now that is a very important position.  Now put that on top of writing a number one show and what she was trying to do, which kept her from the show a great deal of time.  Maria was thinking she had the right people at her back at every turn, and she had laid out storylines assuming her writing team is taking care of that.  She was trying to make it blend and teach this way of working to a show, if the storylines had been correctly done.   We talked about how it is to handle two major things without paying attention to one without the other. Maria was trying to blend the two and consequently Y&R suffered for it.

Sometimes you would receive a script where you would see something that the characters would never do or say.  The writers would shoot an idea rather than a storyline. For instance, you have to make Katherine do something that is very Katherine, not just saying, “Hello? You shouldn’t do that.”    Maria thought everything was being taken care of and it just failed at one point.  You cannot takeaway characters people have grown up with and say, “You can’t have your aunt or your uncle or your grandma or grandpa.”   You cannot rob a person of their emotions, and the fans who have supported the show for years and years.  I think had Maria really listened to the audience that was already there for many years, it may have helped her.”

Jeanne on her thoughts on Jill Farren Phelps and Josh Griffith:  “Josh Griffith is a lovely and talented man, and  I don’t know if Jill will like me.   I don’t know her.  I don’t know if I will like her.   I have nothing against her except if she doesn’t do a great job, she will go the way of everybody else.  I hate to see we have become “Birth of a Nation”!  Sometimes you go to work and you see a strange face and you go, “Who are you?”  This whole switching immediately on the audience …  it takes a long time for them and the characters to bond, which is like real life.”

Jeanne on what she would to do fix Y&R:  “Everybody is so excited when the core people come back, and none of them are old and decrepit.  The point is root families! Eliminate the “Birth of a Nation” and of course there are so many!   So I would say what one should do is Genoa City adopts a sister city and the sister city is going to have a tremendous charity fundraiser. And the people going to the sister city climb on board a plane to head toward the sister city and it crashes.  That way, you don’t have to explain how anybody died.  (Laughs)  There would be one big funeral.  Then, let’s go back to family dysfunction or functional drama, and it will no longer be “Birth of a Nation”.  I wish Jill Farren Phelps all the success in the world, but it cannot be all about cell phones and sex!  “Pardon me I am finishing up on Sharon here, I will be with you in a minute.” (Laughs)

Now below watch the entire video interview with Jeanne Cooper, and let us know your thoughts and favorite parts of our chat! NOTE: Due to the Skype chat application used to record this interview, you may need to adjust your volume levels on your computer.



Leave a comment | 21 Comments


  1. Dave

    August 1, 2012 at 10:59 am

    Birth of a Nation???

  2. kay/kay

    August 1, 2012 at 11:35 am

    Amen Jeanne Cooper!!!! Thanks so much for this Michael Kuddos!!! JFP you have been warned by us fans sit down for hours with this woman and get this show back on track. Everything she said about bringing characters over from other shows is true. I will be waiting for September to see if everybody can leave their egos at the door and get to work!!!! Oh first thing get on the horn and beg for the original Mac to come home Ashley Bauisoum was the only Mac.

  3. MK

    August 1, 2012 at 11:57 am

    So now the excuse is that MAB wasn’t around to supervise? Hello, you are the HW and EP of the #1 soap. It is up to you that the quality continues. Forget your volunteer post. This is your family legacy that is being diminished.

  4. Bart

    August 1, 2012 at 2:15 pm

    Jeanne, you are a class act – can’t wait to read your book!!

  5. JT

    August 1, 2012 at 4:54 pm

    Amen keep core, and keep the Chancellors especially.

    I can do without the Anita’s, Jeff, and the periphery but not Katherine, her son, Jill.

    If its going to be just the 20 something set, I can say good bye now. They are the weakest links on Y&R. Kyle, Noah just bore me.

  6. Jared

    August 1, 2012 at 7:09 pm

    VERY well said, Jeanne. What a class act! Unfortunately, MAB was trusted with the task of safekeeping her family’s and the fans’ legacy, and she failed abysmally. She was arrogant, dismissive and indifferent to the fans, who have been around for decades. Now, we are stuck with JFP, and I fear that her (JFP’s) continued path of destruction through daytime will continue unabated.

  7. Brian Greene

    August 1, 2012 at 7:12 pm

    Thanks A Million, Jeanne & Michael. We Love You In NW Illinois! 😀

  8. Jay

    August 1, 2012 at 8:55 pm

    Jeanne, I have watched since 1973 when I was in grade school. You are my favorite actress of all time and I mean that from the bottom of my heart! God bless you and be gracious to you always. I cannot wait to read your book.

  9. ricardo

    August 1, 2012 at 9:23 pm

    i love jeanne cooper. what a classy sassy woman. michael fairman i loved your interview with jeanne cooper. jeanne is a wonderful actress. i hope that her husband rex turns out to alive. you never know. i am so happy that maria arena bell got fired. it was about time that she got the boot. let’s see what jill can do. i mean the producer. keep jeanne cooper melody thomas scott eric braeden michelle stafford, christian leblanc, tracy bregman., peter bergman, joshua morrow. fire jacks son kyle eden michael sister. hopefully jess walton comes back after 6 months. i have a feeling she won’t be back. hopefully i am wrong. maybe the new writers can bring back actors from the past. if jess walton doesn’t come back. bring back brenda dickson the origional jill foster abbott. i know she was a diva, a lot of actors had a hard time working with her. but jeanne cooper addored brenda dickson. in the beginning brenda and jeanne never got along. but they made up and were very good friends.

  10. kalamaty

    August 1, 2012 at 10:42 pm

    Thank you for this incredible interview, Jeanne and Michael! Thanks also for asking my question to Jeanne about the notorious cake fight, Michael! So fun to watch this!! Brava to you both; can’t wait to read “Not Young, Still Restless!” Every fan of the show should own it!

  11. SZima

    August 2, 2012 at 4:49 am

    I love Jeanne, the actress, but I think she is getting too old to do interviews. So much of what she said was difficult to understand…rambling without making a point. She needs to stick to scripted dialog and not speak “off the cuff.”

    It sounds like she is giving MAB a pass for her terrible work. “Wearing two hats” is no excuse for what she did to the show. MAB obviously can’t do two things at once and should have picked one and stuck with it.

    • kalamaty

      August 2, 2012 at 2:32 pm

      Sorry, but your comment is the most ridiculous thing I’ve read all week. If you want scripted dialogue, then perhaps you shouldn’t be watching an interview. And, talk about rambling without a point! Wow.

      • SallyV

        August 2, 2012 at 3:37 pm

        Um, talk about ridiculous, your comment is the dumb one. Whether you agree or not, everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

  12. Patrick

    August 2, 2012 at 11:59 pm

    Patrick replied June 7th, 2012 at 9:43 pm

    I agree… help me out here… why the fixation… all the time… victor and jack? heck victor and his brood… same old, same old. Jack is once again.. on his own… with Ashley and Traci gone… THIS IS THE TRUE CRIME COMMITTED.

    By bringing back Ronin… it gives Y&R – Katherine the Great… scheming nymph Jill… busy body Esther – wanna belong chloe, understated Ms. America Nina (i must be better then cricket)… The Chancellors to regain their 1st place… in geneo city.

    help out, Phillip 4th… Chance. Chancellors reign supreme.


  13. Barbara from Atlanta

    August 3, 2012 at 12:19 am

    Thanks, Michael, for conducting the interview and posting it. I am flattered that you included one of my questions. I appreciate and agree with Cooper’s answer to it. I really enjoyed the interview. Cooper is more honest than a lot of employed actors would be about their current work environment. The only remark by her with which I don’t entirely agree were her comments about Maria Arena Bell. I clearly can understand Cooper having strong loyalty to a member of the Bell family and wanting to defend/explain the missteps under MAB’s reign. However, I don’t entirely accept Cooper’s explanation that MAB was busy juggling tasks from multiple positions and that the writers let MAB down. Cooper’s take may offer some insight into the reasons for the failure but doesn’t really excuse it. If MAB overextended herself by working in the arts while also helming Y&R, any problems arising from that really were MAB’s fault and not the fault of the writing staff. Other than that, I agreed with almost everything Cooper said.

    In particular, I thought her comment about scenes involving “cell phones and sex” was hilarious and dead on!! I’m still chuckling about her crack that the character would answer the cell phone call and remark that he would be over as soon as he finished having sex with Sharon!!!!

    • Patrick

      August 3, 2012 at 10:46 pm

      I’m not getting the “ally” thing with MAB. An allegiance to your craft… and Yes, I know Jeanne Cooper is proud to herald her Career, in “soaps”. So, let bygones be bygones…. I don’t agree with “nepotism”. when it’s not working… fix it. LOL. Oye! Who are we to step off our soap box.

      She’s that “spitfire” who “hell be damned” is known for her truth. I mean, Sharon, can’t tell us… she’s the busy one…. LOL.

      I really liked Brenda Dickson, as well… as the orig. Jill…. God Love Jess Walton… she’s consummate. Real Old Camp Serial Classic, would be bringing Brenda back, as a tribute… and down memory lane. if JW is happier, at home.

      it’s like, how can we not miss…. the Abbotts dining…. Jack, Tracy, Ashley, John, Mamie. The Abbotts over the Newmans… were my ideal.

    • Barbara from Atlanta

      August 3, 2012 at 10:52 pm

      I realize that I forgot something important in my comment: Thank you, Jeanne Cooper, for granting this interview. I appreciate the time that you made for it and your candid and insightful responses to the questions.

  14. Karena

    August 6, 2012 at 10:37 am

    Thank you Jeanne. I love watching you on Y&R. I love when a show is balanced with people of all ages. Unfortunately, some in charge don’t. They are more interested in getting the Kardashian or Jersey Shore audience in this day and age. Sad and pathetic. I think it’s possible for a show to change without wiping everything out to do so. I guarantee it if they come in and get rid of everything that has been beloved and watched for years on Y&R, the show will crash and burn or stay on the bottom of the ratings for now on. Best of luck Jeanne.

  15. susan M.

    August 9, 2012 at 6:31 am

    I never watched Y&R .. But I wish her god luck with her book and I hope she sells a lot of books !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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