Biggest Soap Opera Salary DisputesPublished on December 10, 2020.
Life often imitates art, and there is no better example of this then contract negotiations for soap opera stars. Oh, the drama that can unravel! While some soap stars may bargain for more guaranteed episodes weekly, vacation time, a decent dressing room, and other perks, contract renewals often come down to the money, which can lead to disputes! Below is a list of some 0f the biggest soap opera salary disputes:
12. Deidre Hall
Even soap opera actresses with star power can fall victim to salary disputes. Deidre Hall, who has played the iconic Marlena Evans for decades, dealt with an issue on Days of Our Lives (DOOL) back in 2009. Much like her better half Drake Hogestyn (John Black), the duo’s contracts were up for renewal, and budget cuts made Days producers feel as if these high-paid stars should be the first to go. Evans and Black would leave Salem then; however, it wouldn’t be long before the soap would hire them back.
11. Mishael Morgan
Amanda Sinclair is great, but does anyone else miss Hilary Curtis? Morgan’s exit in 2019 was quite unexpected. Reports indicate that during her 2018 contract negotiations, no pay increases were included. In fact, many of the actors on the soap at that point in time hadn’t received a raise in approximately five years. Morgan moved on and departed from the show; however, it didn’t take long for Young and the Restless (Y&R) execs to think of a way to bring Morgan back.
10. Eileen Davidson
While the Y&R’s Ashley isn’t around Genoa City as much as some fans would like, it is nice to see her in current storylines. She too departed the soap opera in-and-around the same time Morgan did, so was her salary the reason? Some reports indicate that while she did want to spend more time with her family, and the fact that Sony did have a cap on raises made that decision far easier.
9. Emme Rylan
Rylan recently exited Geneal Hosptital (GH) among rumors of budget cuts on the soap; however, this isn’t the first time Emme has experienced this. Back in 2012 when she was playing Abby Newman, the actress was fired from the daytime drama for this very reason. Emme would jump into the Lulu Spencer role shortly after, and oddly enough actress Melissa Ordway was recast as Abby months later.
8. Tyler Christopher
Remember when GH’s Nikolas Cassadine passed away not once but twice in a matter of months in 2016? That was because of contract negotiations that seemed strong at one point with actor Christopher Tyler and then crumbled as the weeks progressed. There are multiple factors that come into play as it relates to these types of negotiations, where salary is one of them. Was money the issue? It’s hard to say exactly; however, when things went sour, Cassadine was axed, and Christopher would head to Days shortly after everything went downhill.
7. Sofia Pernas
The Y&R’s Marisa suffered the fate of budget cuts on the show in 2016 when actress Sofia Pernas was let go. With that said, no one can feel that bad for her. Within hours she had a prime-time gig lined up with a CW pilot, and in the summer of 2020, she and Justin Hartley (former Adam on the Y&R and Kevin Pearson on the mega-hit This Is Us) took their relationship public.
6. Anthony Geary
Beloved Luke Spencer, one half of the famous GH super couple Luke and Laura, had a little tiff with producers back in 2013. With the genre of daytime drama slowly wilting away, soaps simply don’t have the budget they used to. As such, reports indicated that GH producers suggested a 50 percent pay cut; after all, Geary only really worked 35% of the year at that point in time, was living in Amsterdam, and was earning a whopping $1.5 million dollars annually. Tony threatened to walk off the show and was requesting his character Luke get killed off. Alas, Luke was never axed and Tony ended up staying with GH until the summer of 2015.
5. Drake Hogestyn
Drake Hogestyn has played the infamous John Black on DOOL on and off since 1986. While the actor has been a staple on the show over the years, he has been let go during his thirty-year tenure about three times. Why? Well according to reports, it was due to salary disputes around contract negotiation time. In the 1990s, when both Drake, Black, and the soaps were booming, Hogestyn requested $25,000 each episode. So, when things would get rough in the land of daytime drama finances-wise, John Black was the first one to leave Salem. Still, since 2013, it seems as if money has not been as much of an issue for Drake because he loves what he does.
4. Ronn Moss
Fans of Bold and the Beautiful (B&B) were devastated in 2012 when Ronn Moss, the actor who played staple character Ridge Forrester, left the show after 25 years with the soap. To boot, Moss was known as a core actor for B&B, playing the character since the show had first debuted back in 1987. What was the reasoning behind his decision to leave? It was reportedly all over a salary dispute. Sure, Thorsten Kaye would step into the Ridge role in 2013, but avid B&B fans will agree, it’s just not the same.
3. Jason Thompson
Y&R fans love Jason Thompson as Billy Abbott, but most GH fans can agree, he is quite missed in Port Charles playing Dr. Patrick Drake. Back in the fall of 2013, as Jason’s GH contract was expiring, contract negotiations broke down shortly after, and Thompson announced his departure via Instagram in November of that year. Could it have been related to salary? Well, Thompson would move on to the Y&R a little while after and then reports surfaced that the actor’s salary was stirring up some jealousy amongst other Y&R stars because it was that high, with him allegedly making over $20,000 each episode with a four-episode guarantee weekly.
2. Eric Braeden
Speaking of the Y&R, wonder how The Moustache felt about Thompson’s hefty salary walking into the show? Undeniably a soap opera legend, Eric Braeden is one of the best things about the show after close to thirty years of playing the infamous Victor Newman. Despite his popularity though, Braeden too has had his own salary disputes over the years. It was reported that in 2009, the actor walked out of the show as he felt he deserved more money. No Genoa City without Victor? Seems like producers thought the same thing and they met his demands by offering him $25,000 for each episode, with a two-episode weekly guarantee. Victor would approve.
Wonder what actors and actresses on North American daytime dramas would do if salary negotiations hit a fever pitch where everyone’s job was in jeopardy? Who knows, but in 2014 when a the South African-based soap Generations, which is in no relation to an older NBC daytime drama with the same name, had some salary disputes with their entire cast. What did producers do when the entire cast refused to return to work if they weren’t paid more? Well, they fired them – all of them! Seems a little harsh, but the show’s execs sure did get their point across.