For the past few months, Y&R viewers have watched and wondered why Victor Newman has been acting so peculiarly. Though the diagnosis will not be revealed to viewers for another two weeks, Soap Central has learned exactly what has been making The Black Knight act so , well, un-Victor-like.
In an episode that will be broadcast on Monday, July 17th, Victor Newman will be diagnosed with temporal lobe epilepsy, which is the result of a head injury he sustained in a car jacking several months earlier. The on-screen diagnosis will be followed up by public service announcements airing on July 17th and 18th. The PSAs will feature Emmy winner Eric Braeden (Victor Newman) in what CBS hopes will promote awareness of the disease.
"CBS is proud to be able to use this forum to raise awareness about epilepsy, and as the story unfolds, viewers will have the opportunity to not only see how Victor himself deals with his diagnosis, but how his family reacts as well," said Barbara Bloom, Senior Vice President, Daytime Programs, CBS. "We are fortunate to have an actor of Eric Braeden's caliber to play out these events, and we hope our audience will find them remarkable."
Temporal lobe (the portion of the brain nearest one's temples) epilepsy is characterized by a variety of symptoms, however, certain patterns are common. According to the web site, epilepsy.com, there may be a mixture of different feelings, emotions, thoughts, and experiences, which may be familiar or completely foreign. In some cases, a series of old memories resurfaces. In others, the person may feel as if everything-including home and family-appears strange. Hallucinations of voices, music, people, smells, or tastes may occur. These features are called "auras" or "warnings." They may last for just a few seconds, or may continue as long as a minute or two.
The description seems to mesh with what Y&R's writers have developed for Victor. In recent weeks, the once ruthless businessman has been seen buying a puppy, charming his wife with dance lessons and doting over his grandchildren. In the days before the diagnosis of epilepsy is made, Victor will be stricken by blackouts and hallucinations.
"For many people with epilepsy the biggest problem is not the disorder itself," explained Eric Hargis, president of the Epilepsy Foundation, "but society's attitude toward people with the condition. The facts are, however, that most people with epilepsy can lead successful, seizure-free lives with appropriate treatment and medication. We're extremely pleased with CBS's decision to partner with us to help bring epilepsy out of the shadows by associating the condition with one of the network's most renowned programs and famed actors."
For fans fearing that the diagnosis and recent headlines that "Y&R's Victor: Out" foretell the exit of Eric Braeden, here's a little reassurance. Braeden is not leaving the top-rated CBS soap. The actor merely took a short vacation so that he could travel to Germany for this year's World Cup soccer tournament.