Eric Braeden's (Victor Newman) contract impasse with The Young and the Restless has been well-known to fans of the CBS soap for nearly a month. During that time, Braeden has gone on a media tour, expressing his dissatisfaction with the way that he'd been approached by network executives.
While the crux of the issue seems to boil down to money, Braeden has continually asserted that he is not opposed to taking a salary cut. In fact, Braeden has asserted that he was the first actor to offer to work for less money when the show made its first round of pay cuts two years ago. In 2007, Braeden reportedly agreed to work for 10% less.
According to Braeden, he was enraged that executives from Sony, the production company in charge of distributing The Young and the Restless, approached him mid-contract and asked that he take a sizeable pay cut. Braeden states that he offered to take the cut, but not until the end of his current contract, which would have expired in November 2010.
"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?" Braeden told Entertainment Weekly.
Braeden commands a seven-figure salary, though it is unclear if Braeden would have continued to make in excessive of $1 million after Sony's latest proposed reduction. After initial talks between Braeden and Sony stalled, Braeden says that he made a counteroffer to help get contract talks back on track. The actor's offer was rejected. As a result, Braeden now asserts that the stalemate with execs is unfixable and he's permanently exited the top-rated CBS soap.
"We reached an impasse in the negotiations," Braeden said in an exclusive interview with celebrity news web site 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 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."
This is the third rocky contract negotiation this year. In March, Jess Walton (Jill Abbott) walked off the Y&R set after being asked to take a substantial pay cut. Though she eventually returned to the show and inked a new contract, Walton revealed that she had every intention of permanently exiting the show, but that the economy changed her mind.
"This is really silly. I have a wonderful job and I really think I owe it to myself and my family to continue on," Walton stated.
In June, contract talks between Melody Thomas Scott (Nikki Newman) and show executives also broke down. The impasse went on for so long that the show's writers were forced to write Scott's character out of the show. A deal was eventually reached and Scott was welcomed back into the fold.
Now that Braeden's contact woes are well-known, some of the actor's co-stars are speaking out about the situation. While their opinions have varied greatly, nearly all agree that Y&R would be better by keeping Braeden on board.
Meanwhile, Braeden, who joined The Young and the Restless in 1980, will last air on November 2.