What Really Happened With Gina Tognoni As Phyllis On ‘The Young And The Restless’?
The news that Michelle Stafford would reprise the role of Phyllis Summers on The Young and the Restless shocked fans, especially considering that Gina Tognoni made the character hers and won a Daytime Emmy Award for her efforts. Now, the show’s c0-executive producers and head writer Anthony Morina and Josh Griffith, have revealed the details behind the decision.
The new showrunners discussed the changes they made after taking over the helm when Mal Young left with Soap Opera Digest. One of the burning questions the magazine wanted to know the answer to was about the casting change coming up soon for Phyllis.
“Michelle wasn’t looking for a job, “said Morina. “It was really me. I called Michelle up.”
Morina and Griffith want to take the soap back to show creator Bill Bell’s original vision for the show. They plan to tell simple stories with compelling characters. Also, they want to follow Bell’s assertation that the music is also one of the characters in the storyline. For Griffith, Stafford, who was portraying Nina on General Hospital at the time, helps bring the show back to that original feeling.
Griffith said, “It was part of the bigger picture. We have to re-create the core sensibility of the show. And Michelle is iconic as Phyllis.”
Stafford exited Y&R in 2013 and began her run on GH shortly after. According to Mornia, “She really wasn’t looking. She was really happy at GH.” He continued discussing the possibility with the actress, and eventually, everything for her return came together.
“I will take full responsibility for not giving up on pursuing that. I just know where we want to go, and really where the network wants to go.”
While they loved Tognoni’s work as Phyllis, both Morina and Griffith felt that bringing back Stafford would help move the show in the desired direction.
“We love Gina. Gina did a great job. I mean, she was great as a person and as a professional. She couldn’t have been any nicer,” Morina said.
Everything happened quickly, and The Inquisitr reported that Tognoni recently wrapped up her work on the show and her castmates said goodbye to her with a wonderful party outside of work.
Victor Newman actor Eric Braeden tweeted praise for Tognoni and her work on the show and then welcomed Stafford back to Genoa City in a follow-up tweet recently. As for viewers, they remain divided, with many eagerly anticipating Stafford’s return while others bitterly disappointed to see Tognoni leave.