Monday, October 26, 2009

DEVLOPING NEWS! Eric Braeden and Y&R Producers Come to Agreement

DEVELOPING NEWS: It seems that Eric Braeden and the producers at The Young and the Restless have come to an agreement, and Eric has inked a new three-year deal. I'm going to be speaking with him later today and will give you the full scoop as soon as I get it.

UPDATE: It's official!! According to Entertainment Weekly, talks have dissolved and Eric Braeden is officially OUT as Victor Newman. What are your thoughts? What will this mean for the future of
The Young and the Restless?

The news hit the fan late last week. The headlines were blaring: ERIC BRAEDEN TO LEAVE THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS (mostly true); ERIC BRAEDEN STORMS OFF THE Y&R SET (not true).

I spoke with Eric yesterday to clear up rumors from truth, and to get the word straight from the horse's mouth. I asked him to tell me, step-by-step, what happened, so there would be no confusion or cause for speculation. The following is what Eric had to tell me:

On what actually happened: To put it succinctly, I signed a contract two years ago in which I volunteered a reduction in pay, in order to lead by example. That contract was supposed to be for three years — it would be up in November 2010. They suddenly invoked a clause that most of us don’t even read in the contract — the 26-week clause — which allows the producers to revisit the contact every half-year within that three-year period. That had never been invoked before, in my case. I was not really aware of it — obviously, I should have been.

On how he was approached regarding the pay cut: We are all aware of economic times being tougher, but the way it was done: The Internet was used in order to threaten me with the possibility of casting someone who would be equally as powerful, and the story line dovetailed with the end of this contract cycle that I had never thought of. In other words, one was blindsided in a way I do not appreciate at all, especially after having loyally publicized this show and pushed this show for 30 years, being proud of it and proud of the character. To be dealt with in this kind of manner does not sit well.

It is the worst of corporate America, to be honest with you. Corporate America and all those Harvard Business School graduates who sit in the upper levels, they have to know how to deal with human beings. You do not simply, in a wholesale manner, destroy something that obviously has been No. 1, in this case, for 27 years. That is extraordinary. That is singular in Hollywood’s history. You handle that kind of thing very carefully.

There are certain actors you approach on a certain level, as far as I’m concerned. You don’t approach them in a standard, procedural way. There are certain actors who have contributed more to a show that other people have, simple as it is. To claim otherwise is hypocrisy. What corporate America needs to learn is when they simply apply the paradigms learned by Harvard Business School graduates and Wharton School of Economic graduates and Stanford Business School graduates, you need to learn how to deal with human beings.

The personal touch is always more important than anything. Obviously they are endangering the goose that lays the golden egg. I am not talking only about myself; I am talking about others on the show as well.

To be quite frank with you, this notion of signing the three-year deal, and then suddenly have the producing side be able to revisit that after three months but I don’t, there seems to be something grossly unfair about that. But that is a problem our union should not have allowed to exist.

It certainly should not apply to someone who has been on the show for more than 10 years. If you don’t know by now if someone is contributing to the show or not, then you don’t deserve to be in the business.

The 26-week clause was initially thought of because say you hired an actor and you find out well, it hasn’t really worked out, you can terminate him quickly. But, I beg your pardon, after 29 or 30 years on the show, you don’t know who’s who? Give me a break!

On rumors that he stormed off the set: I had 62 pages myself that last day, and only as an actor do you know what that means. Sixty-two pages of the script I did that last day — emotionally exhausting with flashbacks and everything else, and Victor’s life sort of rolls by him. It just suddenly hit me: This has been a part of my life for 30 years.

At the end of [filming], I sat there quietly. The booms were still rolling and the cameras were still rolling, and I said: “I want to thank all of you, crew and cast, for a wonderful time on the show. You have all worked extremely hard; I have nothing but respect for all of you. I may not see you for a long time, or perhaps never again.”

It was a very emotional, very quiet moment, there was not much said, except the crew and cast, with tears in their eyes, we all hugged each other and nothing else was said. So, the storming off is simply not true. I did not storm off that set; it was not that emotion. It was a very quiet, very sad moment.

On the possibility of working something out: It is not entirely fait accompli yet, but it is hanging by a thread. There is a minimal chance [of working this out]. It entirely depends on how one is being approached. The world I come from, a handshake is a handshake and a contract is a contract. Period.

On his counteroffer: They had approached me the year before about a slash-and-burn reduction, which I took. [This time] I came back with a counteroffer, offered a fairer reduction, and that was dismissed.

It is not that one is asking for special favors; it is not that. After that many years of helping take that show to where it is — and I say “helping” because it is about our wonderful actors, everyone has helped. But to be dealt with in such a cold manner is something that just doesn’t sit well with me. I like to shake your hand, look you in the eye and deal with you. I don’t like to be dealt with by e-mail. I want to be dealt with in an honorable way, between men. Look oneself in the eye and say, “OK, let’s talk about this.” Not through some corporate bullsh*t.

After 30 years, you need to be taken to a restaurant, together with the people involved, and you all sit down and say, “OK, how can we work this out?” That’s what needs to happen. You don’t want to be treated like a number.

On the support of his fans: I am very touched by the reaction of the public. The fans have been very supportive and I’ve been very blessed by it.

Hollywood is a tough business. But what business right now isn’t tough?

On his feelings for Y&R, in general: I am enormously proud of the show and of the character I play, and have been enormously supportive all those years. I am very proud of the actors I work with and the kind of work we do given those very limiting circumstances. Many of the actors on the show are wonderful, and many of the story lines are wonderful — I’ve loved Maria Bell’s story lines, by and large, a lot.

But the days of Bill Bell, when he ran that show all by himself, those are over. Now you don’t even know who you are dealing with.


Anonymous said...

For Y&R Eric is the "goose" and they are making a terrible mistake. I do understand about the college boys and agree wholeheartedly their social skills are nill.

Best of luck to you Eric in wherever this journey takes you!

Anonymous said...

I truely believe that the show has taken a new turn from days of Bill Bell. The show in no way seems to be taking a good turn, it seems to be heading in a direction in which will not seperate it and make original from the other typical soaps on the television these days. I hate the idea that these "business" people are turning their backs on great storylines, great cast and the "goose" who has helped to keep proud viewers dedicated with their full attention towards the show. I feel that if they continue to play such a hard game with their actors they will be left in the dark themselves with no contracts to be filled and no one to play their storylines. I will miss seeing Eric on the show but I stand beside him in what is right and I would like to see his fellow cast members stand by him as well and take a stand with their opinions and actions on how things are being dealt with these days. It would be a great loss to the soap entertainment indusrty if The Young and The Restless was to go off the air but I would rather see it go off while the storylines are still something good to talk about and remember then to watch it sink because the viewers are turned off!

The best of luck to you Eric on all that the future holds for you. You are a great actor of your time and we the viewers who know how to appreciate you do so in high regards.