The Young and the Restless has aired several theme weeks filled with classic episodes after running out of new material to broadcast. The show shut down production in mid-March amid the coronavirus pandemic, and at least two cast members — Greg Rikaart (Kevin) and Jordi Vilasuso (Rey) — suffered COVID-19 infection. Although the CBS Daytime drama hasn’t announced its official plan to resume production, soap veteran Eric Braeden, who portrays Victor Newman, recently discussed with Soap Opera Digest the circumstances under which he would feel comfortable returning to work.
The legendary actor noted that as people stayed home to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, the value of entertainment to society became even more apparent as people turned to television shows and movies to help pass the time. Braeden said that in addition to various news outlets, that he also spent time watching reruns of Seinfeld over the past several weeks.
So far, Y&R has not announced a specific plan to return to production. Still, Braeden expressed his willingness to resume working and shared the type of protection he would like to see when the cast and crew go back into the studio to begin filming new storylines. The actor noted that much is still unknown about the virus and that it can be vicious in some of those who catch it.
“I think I will be willing to go back to work if some provisions are met, serious provisions are met,” Braeden said. “You have the crew with masks on, you have people in the booth with masks on but somebody always wiping things down, you have continuous tests… I think it can be done. You have distancing of the actors when they perform. I’m willing to risk it, no question. And then you have to obviously sign a release to corresponding studios or whatever that you will not sue them if you fall victim to the coronavirus. So, given the proper provisions, yeah, I’m willing to come back.”
As for when production at the long-running soap opera might resume, Braeden did not reveal any specific timeline. He did mention that he had spoken with a few of his castmates, as well as others involved with the soap, throughout the time he’s been at home. Whenever the time comes to return, it appears as if the Victor actor is ready to continue his work of over four decades with the iconic daytime character — provided there are some reasonable protections in place to preserve his and the rest of the cast and crew’s health. At nearly 80 years old, Braeden is in the higher-risk category due to his age.