Can Victor’s Love Save Nikki on ‘Y&R’? Eric Braeden Weighs In & Reveals Why He Stayed in Genoa City

Eric Braeden Young and the Restless

Fans of The Young and the Restless have received the best Christmas gift of all – the return of Victor Newman!

The mustache mogul arrived at the hospital bedside of his beloved Nikki (Melody Thomas Scott), who’s been in a coma since being struck by the car driven by her grandson Reed (Tristan Lake LeaBu), just in time for the holidays. Stay tuned to see if Victor’s comforting presence will bring Nikki back to her loved ones.

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From Emmy drama to surprising returns and shocking deaths, daytime fans were sent fans into a tizzy more than once in 2018.

TV Insider sat down with Braeden to talk about his vacation (which kept Victor off the canvas), Victor and Nikki’s enduring love story, the recent sale of CBS Television City (Y&R’s home since its inception), his most memorable scene, and if he, like Victor, wants Reed (Tristan Lake LeaBu) to get a haircut!

How was your trip abroad?

Eric Braeden: Very nice. I saw my former teammates with whom I won the National German Youth Championship in track and field; they’re all doing well. Most of them are doctors and lawyers. I’m the only thespian in the group!

Did you visit any old haunts? Has much changed over the years?

To be honest with you, not much changes in Europe. It really doesn’t. I love, as I always have, walking through the countryside. It evokes memories of times past.

In the past, we’ve seen Victor be there for Nikki when she was hovering between life and death. He has had the ability to will her back to life. The fantasy is to have someone in life who cares about you that much.

Your take on it is the best. That’s exactly what it is. The beauty of long-term relationships. If they are meant to have held on, they’re based in something very fundamental. There’s a recognition of there being something good in one another. The passionate love thing is wonderful, no question about it, but there’s a deeper kind of love and loyalty in some relationships. Otherwise, they won’t last. Victor and Nikki have that.

Victor (Eric Braeden) and Nikki Newman (Melody Thomas Scott) (Sonja Flemming/CBS)

What were some story highlights for you in 2018?

The interesting thing to play was when Victor was in a coma. That was interesting.

Victor didn’t recover overnight, which was rare.

I insisted on that. I don’t like when people miraculously get up [after an illness or injury] as if nothing had happened. It could have lasted even longer, you know?

Victor’s fall down the staircase during his battle with J.T. [Thad Luckinbill] had some interesting special effects. Often those falls are about a stunt double stepping in; this time, we saw Victor fall and the look on his face was memorable!

Yes. They did a very good job on all that.

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Here’s hoping that they all pop back up on our screens in 2019!

How was it shot?

[Laughs] You’d need to talk to someone who knows more about the green screen process it than I do. It’s difficult to explain.

Reed (Tristan Lake LeaBu) is back in Genoa City.

Yes, he’s a very nice young man.

In the past, Victor’s told Reed to get a haircut. Was that an ad-lib?

To be honest with you, I don’t remember. I honestly don’t remember. They’re probably in the script because I have nothing against that. In that sense, I’m far from the character I play. I wouldn’t say to [a grandson] of mine to get a haircut. No. What does that mean? [Just] be a good person.

Reed Hellstrom (Tristan Lake Leabu) (Sonja Flemming/CBS)

CBS Television City, the facility where both Y&R and The Bold and the Beautiful have taped for decades, reportedly has been sold. What are your thoughts on the show possibly having to eventually find a new home?

I don’t like that it was sold. What were they thinking? Do they really need more money? Please. Why? What is this? Haven’t they learned by now that people love to have a sense of tradition? Having places that people have known forever means a lot in people’s lives. I can’t say I’m against all change. Some things have improved. But most builders are unconscionable and don’t gave a damn that we have to live with their creations for a lifetime!

Why was architecture so important in the past? There are reasons we hang onto things. It gives us a sense of continuity. Otherwise, it all becomes senseless and fleeting. People, I think, have an innate desire to look at things that last. You can institute change, but allow a sense of continuity. It doesn’t have to be wholesale change.

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Any shout out you’d like to give the fans for helping make Y&R top-rated for 30 years?

I do it on Twitter all the time. It sounds almost cliched and trite but without the audience and the fans, you and I wouldn’t be talking. That’s a categorical truth. Fans play an enormous role in the success or failure of a show. But, obviously, you have to deliver for them to feel that way. That goes back to the foundation that [late Y&R creator] Bill Bell created.

I will never forget one of the most important moments in my career when Bill and I discussed the initial one-dimensionality of the character. I asked if we could give him a background to explain who he is, and why he is. He came up with it. One of the most deeply touching moments for me was the scene between Victor and his mother Cora [the late Dorothy McGuire]. The anger, bitterness, and sadness came out in one fell-swoop. It is still one of my all-time favorite scenes. I’ll [also] never forget the scene Victor had with Nikki where she prompts him to talk about his childhood, which had been a mystery. He alludes to a bitter childhood in an orphanage. I remember to this day playing that scene. I remember walking to my dressing room thinking, ‘Now, I’m going to stay.’ I’ve never looked back.

Young and the Restless, Weekdays, CBS