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'The Young and the Restless': Third Billy Abbott highlights Phelps' disarray

Phelps' challenging cast changes continue.
Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images

The idea of daytime's number 1 drama employing three separate actors for one major role within barely three weather seasons sounds like a poorly-written storyline. But, executive producer Jill Farren Phelps has allowed Billy Miller, David Tom and Burgess Jenkins to each fill the role of 'Billy Abbott' on 'The Young and the Restless' since January.

Many seasoned soap fans expressed serious misgivings when Phelps was elected to be the mayor of Genoa City in 2012. Yet, the powers-to-be must have felt that her inclusion in CBS' iconic fictional town would somehow enhance the ratings.

Every soap opera works through a certain amount of cast changes each year. However, the volume of major player replacements has surely challenged YR's core audience loyalty since last May.

Jeanne Cooper's passing brought the 'Katherine Chancellor' era to an end naturally. The deaths of other actors have affected many shows. That's a part of life.

Michelle Stafford's decision to take off her 'Phyllis' clothes was understandable, as she played 'Red' for awhile. That change could be digested. But, the ongoing fate of two other roles defies explanation.

The entire Michael Muhney debacle remains unexplained. Most fans are still wondering if whatever supposedly caused his termination was actually a mishandled management situation? In any event, it seems as though 'Adam' may return with a different face in the relatively near future.

Billy Miller apparently wanted to continue to pursue other projects, while continuing his daytime run. YR's denial of that request seemingly led to his character's fiery removal, as he and Muhney careened off-screen in late-January.

David Tom's return to the show made sense. He played 'Billy' before Miller and won an Emmy along the way. Offering fans a familiar face certainly seemed to be a smart play as the challenging 'Delia Dies' and 'Kissing Kelly' storylines were already well underway. But, now word of Tom's unexpected departure, due to character direction changes, breaks before the end of May?

Burgess Jenkins has been hired and will soon be seen as 'Billy'. Yet another opportunity for 'Stitch' to console 'Victoria' when that late-June date arrives.

Phelps took control of YR when it was being watched by approximately 4.5 million viewers per week in the fall of 2012. Heading toward the summer of 2014, the latest Nielsen ratings reveal that approximately 100,000 less viewers are still tuning in.

It's not possible to logically argue that Phelps has strengthened the show. It is fair to ask, when, or if she'll be asked to go?

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