This Is Big News, You Got That?
There have been Genoa City goings on that range from...well, mostly from the bad (the art storyline and Clementine Ford's acting come to mind nearly immediately) to the ugly (Victor getting the heart of the girl whose death he is basically responsible for! A "shocking" baby switch that was so clearly telegraphed that even the Amish were like, "Adam's going to steal Sharon's baby and give her to Ashley!"), but I haven't provided any expletive-laden commentary on them. I am going to pretend that this is me getting my righteous indignation on and that I had been boycotting Y&R coverage as a political statement against their foolish decision to kill off Colleen. I'm fighting the power, y'all!
(The truth of the matter is that I have just been insanely busy, but isn't man-damning a better excuse?)
There is big news, though. As with most things in the world of soaps lately, the drama is taking place completely off-screen. Can you imagine how awesome soaps would be if reel life was even half as interesting as real life?!
Eric Braeden is being written off of the show. Yes, that Eric Braeden. He is none too happy about it, and has chosen to voice his frustration through a series of angry interviews. He spoke to TV Guide and Entertainment Weeklyarmed with "Whatever, I say what I want" straight-talking and, I imagine, a large thesaurus or standardized test prep book because he's busting out some words fit more for a GRE review book than common conversation.
Some choice bits, although both articles are worth reading in full:
TV Guide: Could the tough economy just be a cop-out—an excuse for Sony to cry poor? Let’s face it, Y&R is still the No. 1 daytime show. The most recent ratings [September 21-25] show that the program is drawing 5.3 million viewers. Those are still good numbers.
It’s a damn good show, and [executive producer/head writer] Maria Bell has done a very, very, very good job. I cannot say enough about that. As far as I am concerned, she has revived Y&R. The actors are enormously disciplined and we all work under very difficult circumstances now. Are we all friends? No. Are we family? No. That “family” thing is bull----. But do I respect t he actors I work with? You bet. [Due to budget cutbacks] we now crank out this show with practically no rehearsal. It’s become so impersonalized, so cold. What we do in one day is unheard of anywhere else in the business. We shoot between 80 and 100 pages per day—I myself did 62 pages on the day I said my goodbyes. Very emotionally wrenching stuff. I’m dead serious—62 pages! Take any movie star or primetime star and put them on a daytime soap and they would s--t their pants.
EW: As of today, are you willing to take what Sony offered?
No. There is no appreciation of the fact that I’ve been an important part of the show for nearly 30 years that has been no. 1 in the ratings. That’s extraordinary. So to be dealt with in a perfunctory matter as if you had just known these people for a few months is what is most offensive. This is a certain corporate culture now that is very deleterious.
TV Guide: Where does CBS fit into this equation? Why isn’t Barbara Bloom, the head of CBS Daytime, doing something to stop it? Where’s Les Moonves?
I don’t know. I assume all this will have to be played out first [with Sony]. Let me put it this way, I’ve always had a great respect for Les Moonves, and I think it’s mutual. I don’t know who has what say and what power, but I would assume CBS has considerable power. And none of this, as I said, is a fait accompli. It’s not that I’m not cognizant of these difficult economic times. One has to be stupid not to be aware. I’m also aware of certain decreases in the [Y&R] license fee that took place recently, but now it’s sledgehammer time, you know? [And that’s wrong] when you put your ass on the line for this show for 30 years, and have done as much publicity as I have. I still sell more [daytime] magazines than anyone in this medium, as you know. And I am very proud of that association.
Well, when he is on the cover of nearly every issue, that is to be expected!
EW: You taped your last episode on Sept. 23. Was that the way you wanted Victor to go?
No. It was rushed. It was obviously meant to intimidate. It was obviously done with enormous forethought to coincide with the end of the 26-week cycle. Essentially that is what the business is doing now and has been doing for a while. And quite frankly, it’s outrageous. When I sign a three-year deal, I’m obligated to fulfill that deal. The producers, however, can come to me after a half-year and say, “We’ve changed our minds.” Where in the world of business does this kind of contract exist? Do I blame the people for wanting to squeeze as much out of us as they can? I do not. The question is, when do you squeeze too much?
As I have been with many other things lately (Jonathan Jackson returning to GH: CONFLICTED. The big decision between a vanilla latte and a caramel latte: CONFLICTED), I am of two minds about this.
On the one hand, a Y&R without Victor is something that I've dreamed about. And those dreams are always so glorious! No mumbling, no misplaced rage, no storylines biased towards holding Victor up as the greatest human being to ever walk the earth.
On the other hand...
...I swear I had a downside to a Victor-free Y&R. Um...oh! No Victor means no hilarious Jack Abbott quips at Victor's expense. That would be sad.
On the first hand, other important daytime veterans--legends, even, have gone through this very same song and dance with their shows, including Braeden's co-stars Jess Walton and Melody Thomas Scott, and they had to take the paycut. As did SUSAN FREAKING LUCCI, the most famous person in all of daytime. Deidre Hall and Drake Hogestyn got FIRED. So it's irksome to read how he knows all of this, saw it happen on his show, and still thinks that it's absurd that he has to do the same thing.
Also, on that same hand, even if this clause in the contract is unfair, it's still part of the contract that he signed.
But on the other hand, the thought of a Y&R with no Victor, but plenty of Amber, and Baldwins is terrifying. I don't even like him, and I simply don't know if I can stand for that. Plus, like, 90% of the show is centered around Victor. I shudder to think what the writers will do to fill the screentime he usually gets.
And there is a huge portion of Y&R viewers who WOULD tune out if Victor left. I don't know any personally, although I'd like to meet one so that I could study him or her, but they do exist! Soaps are bleeding viewers right now and can't afford to lose more.
I have to say that I don't actually see this taking. I'm sure that both sides will continue playing hardball, but I have a feeling that Victor will be with us for a long, long time.