Genoa City fans who were holding out hope that Victor Newman will stay should start prepping their goodbyes now: Eric Braeden told EW.com exclusively today that “it’s the end of the road” and he’s “pulled the plug” on any more talks to stay on The Young and the Restless. In September, Braeden walked off the set of the soap that he’s called home since 1980 after an ugly contract negotiation with Sony. The production company wanted Braeden, 68, to take a pay cut but the actor opted to leave, instead. Braeden told EW that he has since made a counter offer (he offered to take a “substantial” pay cut on the top of a voluntary 10% reduction he took two years ago) but it apparently wasn’t enough for Sony. Braeden’s last appearance on the soap will air Nov. 2.
“We reached an impasse in the negotiations,” Braeden told EW.com. “I have shown flexibility, they have shown none. It is over. I pulled the plug. That’s it. No more. If I show good will, I expect it to be reciprocated. If there is a rigid attitude on the other side, what is there to to negotiate? That’s a sign of utter disrespect. I will not negotiate with people who remain aloof and arrogant about the whole thing. Not after 30 years, I won’t do that. I’m saying this with a great amount of sadness because I’ve had nothing but respect for my fellow cast members, I have deep respect for the crew who has done an extraordinary job year in and year out, and I have enormous respect for (head writer) Maria Bell.”
Sony and CBS did not respond to requests for comment but an insider with knowledge of the negotiations said Braeden, who had been earning a seven-figure salary, would continue to earn a seven-figure salary if he agreed to a pay cut. The cast and crew of Restless – which, at 5.12 million, is the most-watched soap in daytime today – have taken pay cuts over the last year, the insider said. Braeden says he was the first cast member to offer to take a pay cut two years ago.
Like most soaps today, Restless can’t command the same kind of rich license fee from CBS that it used to because of the softening ad market in daytime – thus Sony’s attempt to lower production costs. However, Sony continues to make money off the popular drama by selling its reruns overseas and to Soapnet.
Braeden said he’s exploring new opportunities but declined to elaborate. “It’s slowly sinking in (that I’m leaving),” said Braeden. “It’s sad.”
Photo Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS