This week’s issue of Soap Opera Digest features a candid exit interview with The Young and the Restless’ Jessica Collins about her decision to leave the CBS soap after four years.
News of the Collins’ departure as attorney Avery Bailey Clark was announced at the end of May. Her finally episode will air July 27. In her interview with Digest, the actress reveals her decision to leave Y&R stemmed from unhappiness with storylines and a perceived lack of interest on the show’s behalf to address her concerns. “I’ve been disappointed with the story and the direction and integrity of my character for quite some time, but I was still hopeful we might be able to turn it again,” she told Digest. “Then my contact was up for renewal and I wasn’t happy with their offer. I was told there was no room for discussion, which made me realize there wouldn’t be much discussion for the character, either.”
The actress reveals she wanted to stay on The Young and the Restless, but no one followed up with the offer presented by her management. “At that point, I had to really be honest with myself, and the reality is..Avery isn’t the character I originally fell in love with playing.” As much she tried, she knew it was time for her to go.
Anytime a popular star exits it’s a newsworthy item, but when Daytime Confidential exclusive report detailing original plans for the character’s exit, fans hit the roof. Head writer Charles Pratt, Jr. planned for Avery to frame ex-husband Joe Clark (Scott Elrod) for raping her, then leave town disgraced once the truth was revealed. Collins confirmed the story during her interview and expressed her unhappiness with it. “Even though I was leaving the show, I felt very strongly that this really sold out Avery and everything she stood for.” The actress says she reached out to higher ups and asked them to rewrite the story, which they did.
Jessica Collins reveals a lot about her final months on the show, including meeting with Pratt and executive producer Jill Farren Phelps about her concerns, plans post-Y&R and whether or not she’d consider doing another soap. The new edition of Soap Opera Digest is available digitally now, and in-stores next week.
Author’s Note: Once again, Soap Opera Digest scores big by asking the right questions. I strongly recommend purchasing it on the strength of the Jessica Collins interview alone. After reading the feature, I’m not surprised Collins chose to leave. She was marginalized, her role was written out of character and no one in power seemed to give a damn about her concerns. Lack of character consistency and motivation is one of the widespread concerns expressed by fans, so to see Collins iterate her concerns with it speaks volumes.