Tough Economy Hits Hollywood, Salary Cuts for Actors: Soap Opera Stars Cuts
By Lynda Hirsch
Dec 7, 2008
Soap opera salaries are going down the drain. Agnes Nixon, creator of "All My Children," "One Life to Live" and dozens of other fabled soaps recently told Advertising Age that all the stars on all the ABC soaps have been told they will have to accept pay cuts or the roles will be recast or sent out of town. Yes, that includes Susan Lucci (Erica, AMC).
Michael E. Knight (Tad, AMC) just re-signed his contract. While he feels it was fair he admits that when you hear you are going to be making less money it is not the easiest thing to take. Actors who just negotiated contracts are being asked to rework the deals. In a soap contract an actor can be written out in any 13-week cycle. The actor, however, must honor the contract for its entire term.
Last week "Days of Our Lives" announced it was saying goodbye to its most enduring couple, John and Marlena. All the stars are being told, "You are getting less money this time around." No one is safe. Any character can be killed off. Of course, if their writer wants to bring the character back to life they can do the old "he was hurt in an accident and had to have his whole face rebuilt" ploy. So the character is recreated by an actor willing to work for less.
"Guiding Light" trimmed its budget by using a different production mode: no sets to put up and take down every day. The show has many permanent sets. The good news for GL and its viewers is that actors like Grant Aleksander (Phillip) return to the canvas in the next month.
Over at "Young and Restless" a veteran star is being let go. Don Diamont, who has played Brad for over 20 years, will be written out. The word is that the character will be killed. The character of Brad has always been a lothario. He started as a pool boy and became head of a cosmetic empire. He married the daughter of the most respected man in Genoa City when he married Ashley. For years Brad had a secret past, which was revealed two years ago. He was a man from Cleveland who brutally tortured several folks to avenge the cruelty his Jewish mother suffered at the hands of the Nazis. The story gave birth to the world "reliquary." Even thought I have tried I understand "reliquary" as well as I understand quantum physics.
Sarah Brown (Claudia, "GH") is adding a year to her contract. While there is no official word it looks as though Maurice Benard (Sonny) and Steve Burton (Jason) have signed new contacts. No word on Tony Geary (Luke).
Dante, the much talked about but yet to be seen son of Sonny and Olivia is slated to appear in early January. While GH will not make it official it appears as earlier reported that David Lago has the role. There have been rumors about Dante's life. Word is that he not a member of the mob, thank you. In fact, he may be a priest. If this is true, what a wonderful twist. I even have an ideal "Sonny meets his son" scene. The studio can have it for free. Here is the pitch: Sonny does not know about his son. Sonny has a lot to confess and decides to unburden himself to the local priest, who has just come to town. Dante does not know Sonny, and takes the confession. Later he learns the man with the very dark confession -- we are talking murder, lies, disloyalty, sleeping with every woman in town -- is his father.
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