Neil Patrick Harris Slams Eric Braeden for Bailing on Role

by | December 18, 2010 at 12:04 PM | TV News

Eric Braeden (Photo: Vince Bucci/Getty Images)

Eric Braeden (Photo: Vince Bucci/Getty Images)

The Young & the Restless” star Eric Braeden has been called many things: daytime’s biggest star, a multiple Emmy winner, the mustache.  “How I Met Your Mother” star Neil Patrick Harris has another name for him: D-bag.

Braeden was scheduled to appear as Robin’s macho father on the popular sitcom, a role he first played in a 2008 episode of the show.  Apparently, he thought that his character did not have a big enough part this time around, so he backed out at the last minute.

So Harris took to Twitter to proclaim, “”Eric Braeden is a D-Bag. The actor, (Robin’s dad) agreed to a cameo, then last night bailed, saying the part wasn’t ‘substantial’ enough.”

His follow-up Tweet revealed that the role had been recast: “”We’ve recast with Ray Wise, a fantastic actor who makes any part ‘substantial’. Super excited to welcome him to the family!”

Oh, snap. This incident is going to become legend – wait for it – dary in the soap world. Braeden has long been known for his Alpha Dog behavior.  Sometimes it seems as if there’s a thin line between where Braeden ends and his character, powerful billionaire Victor Newman, begins.

Watch Full Episodes of “The Young & the Restless” on xfinityTV.com

Last year, Braeden left the show for over a month because he refused to take a pay cut.  At the time he said, “Here is no appreciation of the fact that I’ve been an important part of the show for nearly 30 years that has been No. 1 in the ratings. That’s extraordinary. So to be dealt with in a perfunctory matter as if you had just known these people for a few months is what is most offensive … I have shown flexibility, they have shown none. It is over. I pulled the plug. That’s it. No more. If I show good will, I expect it to be reciprocated. If there is a rigid attitude on the other side, what is there to to negotiate? That’s a sign of utter disrespect. I will not negotiate with people who remain aloof and arrogant about the whole thing.”

Braeden ultimately returned to the show after news leaked that, even after the pay cut, he would still be making in the neighborhood of a million dollars a year. Most notoriously, in the early 1990s Braeden got into a fist fight with costar Peter Bergman, who plays Victor’s nemesis Jack, though the two have since mended fences.

Most daytime stars would jump at the chance to play a recurring role of any size on one of prime-time’s most popular comedies.  Braeden’s longtime leading lady Melody Thomas Scott, who plays Nikki Newman, just shot  a guest starring role on “Castle.”

Ironically, Braeden’s refusal to do a cameo on a prime-time show comes at a time when many actors with prime-time and film experience are taking small roles on soaps.  Michael Badalucco, who won a prime-time Emmy for his work on “The Practice,” is currently playing the bit part of a loan shark on “The Young & the Restless.”

In his defense, Braeden issued a response to EW regarding Harris’ “D-bag” comment:

“It’s very unfortunate. First of all, I came back from hip surgery. I was off for three weeks. I’ve doubled my work, 30 to 50 pages a day for me, alone. Everyone knows that I’m exhausted. I was not about to appear on a show for two lines, because that’s what it amounted to.”

After that, Harris Tweeted: “Now I feel bad for the D-bag comment. Don’t know the guy personally. I’m just fiercely protective of our show.”

What do you think? Was NPH right to call out Braeden? Or is it none of his business? Is Braeden being a diva or did he make the right decision?