February 2020 marks 40 years since Eric Braeden originated the role of scheming mogul Victor Newman on Global‘s “The Young and the Restless”, with a special batch of anniversary episodes scheduled to air next week.
Braeden, 78, spoke with Variety about the role he’s played for decades, revealing he may never have even considered it had he not received some advice from actor Dabney Coleman, known for roles in “9 to 5” and “Tootsie”.
Braeden tells Variety he received an offer to audition for the beloved daytime drama, but was hesitant about shifting from primetime television, where he had guest starred on hit shows ranging from “Gunsmoke” to “Charlie’s Angels”.
Coleman, however, had once played a doctor on NBC soap “Bright Promise”, and fondly recalled the experience. “He said, ‘Do it. You’ll love it,’” Braeden recalled. “Upon that advice, I agreed to come in for an interview.”
While many actors have complained about the wildly fast pace of filming daytime compared to primetime drama, Braeden found that he loved it. After decades, he admits that working at the pace of what he calls “nighttime TV” would “bore the s**t out of me.”
The special 40th-anniversary episode celebrating Braeden were originally intended to air earlier this month, but the presidential impeachment hearings led to some “Y&R” episodes being pre-empted; instead, they’ll air during the week of Feb. 18-20.
According to Variety, the storylines for these episodes “were crafted to allow for the brief return of a number of fan-favourite characters who have tangled — in one way or another — with Victor Newman over the past 40 years,” under the auspices of a 50th anniversary party for Newman Enterprises.
With no sign of slowing down, Braeden says his long career on “Y&R” has allowed him the opportunity to meet fans in a way he probably wouldn’t have had otherwise.
“Daytime TV people tend to appreciate the connection to the audience. We go out and meet them” at fan conventions and promotional venues, he says. “You meet families with three or four generations who watch the show. And then you realize why you’re doing it. Beyond the money, you’re doing it to entertain.”