Braeden says he nearly left Y&R during Latham's reign

Posted Monday, March 24, 2008 12:01:17 AM
Braeden says he nearly left Y&R during Latham's reign

Fans who were unhappy with Y&R's direction in 2007 are not alone. Emmy winner Eric Braeden admits to nearly walking away from the show. The actor says he was unhappy with what was done to his character and other veteran performers.

By now, most fans of The Young and the Restless have heard gossip and third-and-fourth-hand tales of how chaotic and tense things were behind the scenes last year. Now, one of the show's biggest names is stepping forward to confirm that things were bad... really bad.

 Eric Braeden
In a stunning admission, Eric Braeden (Victor Newman) revealed in a recent interview that he almost quit the top-rated CBS soap last year. According to the actor, the reason for his almost-departure was because he was not only disgusted with the direction of his character's storyline, but he was also unhappy with the storylines of the other veteran characters. Braeden sat down with then-executive producer Lynn Marie Latham to discuss the problems, but was frustrated and baffled by what he viewed as the lack of reciprocal concern.

To put the timeline into better perspective, the meeting came just after Latham had hired a brand new team of writers, some of whom had no previous experience with writing soap operas. It was under this regime's reign that Braeden said he felt that Victor Newman had become a weak and diminished character, forced to sit on the sidelines while an array of "new, younger characters" took over.

"I will always rail against this chasing of the mythical, young demographic, (that) leads to the dumbing down of television," Braeden told the National Ledger. "It's the bane of a lot of writers, directors and actors in this town."

Braeden inched closer and closer to walking out, but soon saw a brief glimmer of hope and realized that if he hung in there a little while longer, his problem might be taken care of. As 2007 wound down, there were reports that Latham would be ousted from the show. The combined effects of increasing pressure on Latham and the failure of her pivotal November Sweeps story weakened her position with the show. Her decision to leave her cell phone behind and go on vacation during the strike by the Writers Guild of America instead of fulfilling her contract as executive producer marked the end of her tenure with the show. Latham was replaced in February 2008.

The show recently elevated Maria Arena Bell, daughter-in-law of Y&R co-creators Lee Phillip Bell and her late husband William, to the head writer position. Braeden couldn't be happier.

"This is the happiest I've been on the show in a long time," he gushed. "The emphasis is again where it belongs, with the established characters on the show."

This week, The Young and the Restless marks its 35th year on the air. Eric Braeden has played Victor Newman for 28 of those years. Last year, the Emmy-winning actor received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

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