Budget cuts may well have accomplished what a psycopath’s bullet couldn’t: ridding Genoa City of Victor Newman.
Soap Opera Digest is reporting that actor Eric Braeden, who originated the role of the mutil-millionaire 29 years ago on THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS, is being written off of the show over a contract dispute. That dispute apparently centers on a pay cut the show wants Braeden to take on his current contract, which expires next year.
Braeden told TV Guide that he was sympathetic to the changing economy and even says he was the first actor on the show to propose and accept a cut in pay on his current contract two years ago. But an odd clause that’s apparently standard operating procedure in the business allows the show to renegotiate key points like salary every 26 weeks, no matter how long the contract runs.
Braeden also says he’s not opposed to less pay on his next contract, but feels the way he was approached in this negotiation left a lot to be desired, describing his treatment as “cold, deeply insulting and unconscionable.”
Salary disputes during contract negotiations are nothing new in daytime, or even on Y&R. Melody Thomas Scott, who plays Victor’s ex-wife, Nikki Newman, was said to have reached a temporary impass that led to her absence from the show for several weeks. Similiar stories were circulated about Jess Walton, who portrays Jill Abbott.
But high-profile soap characters — the ones most long-time viewers would think are “safe,” have been written out before, including Days of Our Lives’ Deidre Hall, who was said to have been axed because of a large budget cut. During her tenure on that show, Hall was involved in a controversial storyline as the “Salem Stalker,” in which many of the show’s core characters, even original cast member Frances Reid, were supposedly killed. Much was made of Reid’s “final scenes” and the emotion on the set when she left the studio for the “last” time, only to return a few months later, her character alive and well.
So stories about major characters leaving, while not impossible, often turn out to be nothing.
For Y&R, life without Victor Newman, around whom many characters’ lives seem to revolve, is a tough pill to swallow.
Unless, of course, you’re Jack Abbott, Newman’s longtime nemesis.