We don't usually cover soap operas here at Celebrity Extra, but this is definitely a story worth covering. Even those of you who don't follow soaps had probably heard the news: Eric Braeden, aka Victor Newman of The Young and the Restless, was as good as gone from his 30-year tenure on the No. 1 rated soap. (Check out my previous interview with Eric on our sister site, Daytime Dial, to get the scoop.)
Well, the news broke just before the weekend that both sides had hammered out a deal and Eric has inked a new three-year deal with the soap — and a collective PHEW! could be heard throughout the industry. I spoke with Eric about this wonderful news last night, and he was definitely back to his happy self, with a lift in his voice that I was very glad to hear.
Daytime Dial: So tell me, last I heard, you were as good as gone. How did it come about that you were able to come to an agreement?
Eric Braeden: I can only talk about my experiences in the world of sports, where you fight tooth and nail, and afterward you have a beer. This was a hard fight, no question about that. It hung by a thread, to be honest with you. We came to a mutually beneficial arrangement. But it was a tough fight. And there’s give and take, as there is in sports.
DD: How did the tide turn?
EB: Both sides made certain gestures to continue negotiating.
DD: How are you feeling now that this is all settled?
EB: To be frank, what really deeply moved me was the reaction of the fans. I did not expect that and it has touched me greatly.
DD: I know a lot of fans will be happy to have you back — if you've kept up with any of the message-board chatter, then you know public opinion was definitely leaning toward you.
EB: I was made aware of it and I read a lot of it, and it really affected me in a very emotional way. I did not expect that kind of reaction, and I am deeply grateful for it, and I am deeply humbled by it.
DD: You must have been going through a lot internally, because you were off the show for a few weeks and you had probably gotten into the mind set of "I'm not Victor Newman anymore."
EB: When you go through something like this, it is sort of like a divorce, in a sense, because 30 years is a long time. Thirty years of having given whatever you can as an actor, emotionally, it is very difficult. You go through some of the early withdrawal — whether it’s denial, whether it’s anger, whether it’s all kinds of things. I hadn’t reached the point yet where I had really stepped back and looked at the whole thing. It was still very emotional. As in everything in life, when you have a separation or a kind of loss, it affects you differently at different times. It takes a while to gain an objective perspective. I am glad that we resolved it. That’s all I can tell you. But I am mostly deeply impressed by the fans’ reactions. That’s really important.
DD: Have you had any reactions from the cast about your reinstatement?
EB: Melody (Thomas Scott) has been very supportive throughout all of this. And so has Sharon Case. So I’m grateful to expressions of support, you bet.
DD: Do you know yet how Victor will be written back in?
EB: I honestly don’t know that yet, but I trust Maria Bell. I always have. I think she is very good. She’ll find a very good way to reintroduce him.
DD: So we should all just keep watching, because Victor WILL be back.
EB: With a bang. He’s gonna come back and wreak some havoc.
DD: We hope so!