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« Our Latest Soap Opera Digest Column | Main | Soap Related Entertainment of the Intentional Kind! »

October 09, 2009

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.

Okay then!

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.


I don't know who is more pompous, Victor "You Got That" Newman or Eric "I'd have to be Stupid not to see we are in a Recession" Braeden.

The only show I really want to see is one where Victor and Sonny compete to see who is more vile. Each one continuing to knock up younger and younger women while driving them insane or getting them killed until they both die old and alone! But that's just me.

I mean isn't that what they are doing on Y&R and GH anyways? Sorry that is so cold and cynical, I'm having a rough morning.

A mocha latte would help ;-) Vanilla and caramel.... what's the point? No chocolate=no love.

I am a particular fan of his conspiracy theory of "written poorly into taking a paycut or get fired". I'll be the first to admit my conspiracy minded theories....but really Eric? REALLY? That storyline from i know of it is pretty typical for Victor. i'm not saying there's nothing shady going on....it is business afterall and well Luckygate has shown us that...but still..that's where he looses me.

He does have some good points about what daytime is doing and how the industry has changed....I agree with those....but on the other hand.........

Eric had a great run! 30 years on a soap! That's great. He was also the main focus of the show - that's even better. But now he's whining. Sorry, I never saw Stuart Damon (Alan Q) whining when GH fired his as#. I personally think Y&R put their eggs all in one basket - kind of like GH does with Sonny. I wonder what would happen if GH fired Maurice Benard?

horselover:..wow..you had me at.. what would happen if GH fired Maurice Benard...

Does this mean that thats now a possibility?

Oh, just the thought makes me a little giddy inside.

I don't blame him for being upset, but nobody's job is safe in his industry. Sounds a bit entitled. He's had 30 years. There are so many actors out there who'd do anything to have 30 minutes.

"I wonder what would happen if GH fired Maurice Benard?"

If ABC did that (and fired Steve Burton, too), I'd happily run back into GH's arms. I wouldn't care how stupid the storylines are. If a bloated Nikolas wanted to have sex with a tumor that is actually Casey the Alien's twin in a burning hospital under quarantine from toxic balls after sticking his kid in a tree or some other crap, that's fine with me. As long as Jason and his hair don't save the day while Sonny throws barware with his jazz hands and pauses mid-sentence.

The big question in firing the long time vets is who gets to fill the hole left by them? If La Lucci left, is there someone at AMC that could take on the icon mantle that she would leave. I don't think so. It's the same question when it comes to Eric Baeden. I don't watch Y&R, but I know of Victor Newman. I think of EB in the same group as I do David Canary who I don't think AMC could survive without.

At Days they did have characters that could fill the hole left by the DHs, and It revitalized the show, from what I understand. IF MB were to leave GH, I think the company is strong enough that the show would go on. DZ would be the new lead male and bring back the PCPD as a force on the show (with help from JJ's Lucky) and Scrubs and Alexis' brood could play a bigger part in the show. I think that kind of change could do overall good.

I think the thing that would allow the shows to do better without their current leads is if the next tier is led by other veterans who've been underused despite having current story possibilities (Jackie Zeman unfortunately doesn't have much to do at GH anymore, whereas I think there's more interesting stuff for Leslie Charleston to do as long as Jason is around.)

I wish Y&R luck because they are the ratings leader and if this gamble doesn't pay off, it's going to hurt the whole industry.

With all of the veteran stars getting the boot or massive cuts can someone please explain to me then why in the hell is Tony Geary is still around??? His ass really needs to get gone.

"I am a particular fan of his conspiracy theory of "written poorly into taking a paycut or get fired". I'll be the first to admit my conspiracy minded theories....but really Eric? REALLY?"

He's delusional about this story being that much worse than his other stories, but I do think he has a valid point. Nikki and Jill were both given degrading, unpleasant stories that made their characters look terrible, and then they were invited to take big pay cuts.

The show has contempt and hostility towards nearly all their vets. They think the future belongs to Deacon and Amber, and their Jack replacement, Billy.

this gives me hope. if he can be kicked from y&r..oh how i hate him and wanted him off the show...

is there now hope that sonny (MB) and jason (SB) could be kicked to the curb at gh with all their mob family and friends?

oh how i dream.

"LET ME TELL YOU SOMETHING", Y & R, if you get rid of Victor Newman, the drop in ratings will "CRUSH YOU"!!!
Who will "JACKABBOTT" obsess about now???
I guess he can go back to his old Gloria vendetta?
My guess is TGVN will return...

Man, maybe it's my rum and coke Friday, but EB can kiss my ass. Really, really? All the beautiful people on soaps, and his dried up puss is what's selling mags?

He didn't say a freakin' word when JW and MTS were treated like crap and guess what, M-Fker, now they've come for you.

Again, kiss my ass. And I don't even like Y&R.

My mother, who's been watching all those 30 years, ain't sobbing down the phone at me. She was whining about her DVR going on out and the satellite company was FedExing her a new one and I said, "Don't want to miss Victor's last day," and she was just nattering about her next doctor's appointment.

Nobody cares, EB! Nobody cares when a 60+ year old man wearing a corset leaves their soap.

I'm going to give a OU. It's time for soaps to clean house. Yes, I've loved some characters my whole life, but that's it. Effected by the same vortex that causes SORAS, their time is up. Casts need to be cut back, storylines tightened, let's get back to a soap--relationships between dynamic people.

*falling face down on keyboard*

Topic off:

"She was whining about her DVR going on out and the satellite company was FedExing her a new one"

Was it DIRECTV? I had to do the exact same thing this week.

Topic on:

I wonder how he's going to go out; I have a gut feeling it'll be unrelated to Victor bringing Patty Jane to town and causing all hell to break loose.

Yes, it was DIRECTV! It was the box though, not the service, because it wouldn't work on other TVs. Maybe it some conspiracy? Not the getting rid of vets conspiracy though.

EB can still kiss my ass. I'm sorry, this ain't RSC, this is a damn soap, and you were never good, you were paid to stand around and look constipated. Retire to Bavaria and be grateful you were paid well past your expiration date.

I mean, really, is there a need for more than one arrogant, puffed up ass of a man on a soap? They've still got Jack; position filled.

To be totally contrary, though, I pray EB shows up on GH as Stavros Cassidine, Sam's incestuous dad, killer of Spencers, and has a total mumble off with Sonny, leading to both their deaths! Whoo-hoo!

*slips under desk*

"...a total mumble off leading to both their deaths...."


I want that so much. Oh wise and creative Lisa, you've described a show of my dreams :-)

Sorry ya'll but I think that Y&R w/o EB will cause a HUGE ratings drop. That being said:
1) I don't want want him to take my MTS w/ him ! =(
2)Who is Jack going to have a bromance w/ ?
3) Whether u like it or not the show IS structured around Victor so who is going to be their focal point now ? TGVN drives storyline guys. U got that ! lol

Love him or hate him, Maria Arena Bell has written herself in to a corner by positioning Victor as the center of the Genoa City universe.

Any time one character is so pivotal to damn near every story on the canvas, you give that actor way more leverage than you should. Soaps should be an ensemble with the stories overlapping and interlocking, enhancing one another, not dependent on one character to keep all the balls in the air.

Eric Braeden will be back. The show will collapse on itself without him because the only other story that doesn't require him is the Amber/Daniel/Deacon snoozefest and if that shit moves to the forefront, the show might as well put ushers at the door to show the audience the way out.

For all the outrage, I think Days' decision to fire the Hall and Hogestyn (as well as Evans, Nichols, Berris, Penglis, and Hunley) demonstrates that there is no such thing as an "irreplaceable" star on a soap. Fans my scream and yell, but the vast majority will stick around for the same reason they've always stuck around. Maybe Eric Braeden will prove to be the exception to the rule, but I doubt it.

I find it slightly hilarious that Braeden is bitching about the "unfair" clause in his contract when that clause has been in every soap opera actor's contract for as long as I can remember. It's common knowledge that a 3 year contract means that the actor is bound for three years, but the show can fire them every 13 or 26 weeks (depending on the cycle). It's been used to get rid of actors for years. If Braeden wanted to make sure his contract was good until November 2010, he should have refused to sign the last time with that out clause included.

I've got to say -- I just started watching Y&R again, and I can't say I'm going to miss Victor. With his latest stunts, he's so been written into a corner with unforgivable acts that I'm not sure what they could do with him anyway. Further, though the baby switch storyline was pretty clear to see coming, it's actually more interesting to me to think about it as not being a big Victor Newman story and how it will affect the rest of the players. Eileen Davidson is so much better when she's not with EB. And the reactions to Sharon's baby's "death" by everyone else -- Nick, Phyllis, even Sharon Case has rediscovered how to act without annoying the piss out of me.

Further, as cheesy as it was, the scene right before the heart transplant scene with the slow motion cuts from Victor to Colleen to their families all crying with the theme song playing over it was classic soap opera. That's why Y&R is still #1 -- the fact that, even when it's out of tune, it still, unlike so many other shows out there, still knows how to play the right notes.


It's killing me to not have the gossip thread over on TWOP anymore!

A friend told me that Jeanne Cooper was at her first autograph show this weekend in LA. So I'm going to guess that much more quietly, Cooper took her pay cut and has found a way to make up the difference.

See you there in a couple of months, EB!

"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!"

I'm going to guess this is a tad misleading. He's making it sound as if he himself had 62 full pages of dialogue, and seeing how he hasn't even opened his eyes throughout most of this mess, that just isn't the case. More like "62 pages with a line here and there."

I'm with Lisa, he can kiss off. He's been phoning in his "acting" for the last four or five years, way back to that Bobby Marsino crap.

I also can't figure out why people--esp. women--don't recognize that he's an abuser. He verbally and emotionally abuses the women in his life. He displays grand gestures of love, then he tells them they'd be nothing without out him, that they'll never succeed. blah blah. He does the same thing to his children. Then he pontificates about how much he loves them. A classic abuser. I hate his character and I always have.

He's gone on many several week vacations and was never missed by moi. I ain't gonna miss him this time either.

BTW, if he's so damn smart, why didn't he get himself a good contract lawyer and have that clause removed in exchange for taking the pay cut at the beginning of his three years?

Of course Victor is despicable!
I still say it's like watching the Sopranos without Tony though...
It won't be the same.
The fact that EB plays a mean character is not up for dispute, is it?
What's being debated here is whether the show will draw viewers without him.
I'll keep watching as I expect he'll be back! It's absurd to think (as I read in TV Guide or somewhere) that they would ever consider trying to RECAST Victor?!

Sorry, but this guy needs to be in a display case in Home Depot: He's THAT much of a tool.

As I loathe Victor as much as I loathe Sonny and think that his getting away with murder is a rut I can't deal with, seeing him off the show is such a good thing, now I won't have to ff through so many scenes, rejoice!

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