Neil Patrick Harris calls soap actor Eric Braeden a d-bag, gets schooled

Neil Patrick Harris has apologized for calling The Young and the Restless actor Eric Braeden a “d-bag” on Twitter. Harris tweeted on Friday that Braeden had canceled a cameo on Harris’ sitcom How I Met Your Mother, writing “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.” In response Braeden, 69, explained that he’d just had hip surgery and was too tired to show up to do just two lines on HIMYM. As a soap actor, Braeden has to memorize up to 50 pages a day of lines.

“I really don’t know who that fellow is. He’s a guy who stars in that series,” Braeden told EW, laughing. “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.”

On his Twitter feed, Harris said, “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.” The reason for his so-called bailing? Braeden said he only learned about the size of his part the day before the taping, which he considered unreasonable. (He believes he should have been given the scripts weeks in advance).

Braeden originally agreed to take the gig because he enjoyed his first appearance on the CBS comedy in November 2008. “I truly enjoyed working there last time,” Braeden said. “The cast and crew and producers couldn’t have been nicer.”

As for Harris, “His choice of words bothered me,” Braeden added. “It seems to me like a young whippersnapper, having seen himself on a few covers, who’s received a few awards, is now suddenly suffering from the first signs of hubris. I’ve been in the business for 50 years. I’ve seen people come and go and I’m still here.”

Braeden ultimately laughed off the whole situation. “If he is a worthy adversary, he’d better not cross my path. I will let bygones be bygones.”

It looks like Harris feels the same way. Three hours after his initial Twitter post, he added this comment: “Now I feel bad for the D-bag comment. Don’t know the guy personally. I’m just fiercely protective of our show.” Harris also said via Twitter that the role was re-cast with Ray Wise, “a fantastic actor who makes any part ‘substantial’. Super excited to welcome him to the family.”

[From Entertainment Weekly via People]

I was going to say that Braeden didn’t have to put Harris down, but his comments were pretty mild and on the mark. He called Harris a “young whippersnapper” suffering from “the first signs of hubris,” and went on to suggest that he’s seen it all before, as if it was nothing new and didn’t phase him. Braeden comes off as the more mature party here, but Harris wrote that he felt bad and it sounds like he does. We all say things we regret. I once talked smack about someone I worked with (not at Celebitchy) on Twitter, deleted it a couple hours later and still got called out for it when it showed up in a search a few weeks later. You have to be careful not to hastily use Twitter and social media!

This highlights just how tirelessly soap opera actors have to work day in and day out, with very little recognition. More than 20 pages of lines sounds insane for one person for just one day, but it’s typical from what I’ve heard. When James Franco worked on General Hospital he said he had the equivalent an entire film script to memorize in just one day. (He had seven episodes filmed that day, but it still goes to show how much work soap actors do.) There were TelePrompters on set, but according to Franco “the regulars didn’t use it.”

Last year, I read an excellent article in The Daily Beast by a former soap opera journalist who explained just how difficult and unrewarding it can be to act on soap operas. Braeden has worked on The Young and The Restless for 30 years, and probably sees two lines as about two minutes of work.

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 11: Host Neil Patrick Harris speaks onstage during Spike TV's 2010 Video Game Awards held at the LA Convention Center on December 11, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)


Mar. 05, 2010 - Hollywood, California, United States - 47th Annual ICG Publicists Awards at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza in Los Angeles, CA 03-05-2010 2010.ERIC BRAEDEN.K64429SK. © Red Carpet Pictures

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59 Responses to “Neil Patrick Harris calls soap actor Eric Braeden a d-bag, gets schooled”

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  1. nnn says:

    I know we all make mistakes but that Neil Patrick Harris sounded like an arrogant 18 years old not like a 37 years old professional.

    No respect whatsoever for his peers and total lack of professionalism.

  2. Kristin says:

    I was feeling bad for Braeden, until I asked,”Why in the HELL would anyone go on television for MORE lines after hip surgery?” Even when I search in Google his surgery, the only mentioning of it is attached to him dissing Neil Patrick Harris.

    My grandma had hip surgery a year ago and it is pretty devastating — it bruises your entire leg from hip to ankle. Not to mention you can’t get around without the help of a walker for at least a week or so. I dunno, but I’m called bs on his sympathy ploy with the surgery comment. I think he said it just to make Harris look like the bad guy.

  3. poopie says:

    whoa doogie ! you’re not THAT great. back off doogs.

  4. mln76 says:

    Eric Braeden he has a rep of being an egomaniac, he even got in a physical fight with his co-star many years ago. I do think NPH crossed the line though.

  5. eja102 says:

    I don’t quite understand how calling someone a “d-bag” is being protective.

    if you say it, own it. back peddling just makes you look a fool.

  6. brin says:

    @min76….I heard that as well…think they are both divos.

  7. polkasox says:

    Whippersnapper? Is this 1944?

    That would be really inconvenient for someone to cancel at the last minute – he made a commitment, probably screwed up the filming for HIMYM, I can understand how people could be upset. Not very mature to call people douche bags on twitter, but understandable.

    & honestly, anyone who’s seen Eric Braden on soaps can validate that he’s no prize winning actor. A lot of them have been around for ages & are terrible, it seems like if you get a part on a soap, it doesn’t matter how bad you are, you can seem to stick around forever.

  8. Lynnie says:

    EB is more handsome than I thought. 🙂

  9. redlips says:

    Something is telling me that Braeden could give Doogie Howser a few lessons in acting!

    STFU, Harris….

  10. nnn says:

    It doesn’t matter how the personality of EB is. It’s irrelevant.

    You just don’t get a pass for your own unprofessional and childish behaviour because your target has a nasty personality.

    It’s still YOU the Douchebag for insulting your colleague on Twittter because he dares dropping from your show WHATEVER his reason.

    If you’re a professional, you deal with it professionally, not by whining on Twitter and insulting a 69 year old veteran actor who didn’t personally insult you.

  11. the_porscha says:

    You’re right, we do all make mistakes, but I think NPH’s apology could’ve been a bit more substantial. More than a flippant, “Oh, I’m protective of our show” (only one of the biggest on TV, I might add, so relax… you’re not going anywhere). Something, perhaps, more like a “I’m sorry for talking out of turn about this guy I don’t know personally. Made a mistake, wish him well in his recovery.” And then go on to post about Ray Wise. It is my biggest pet peeve when people “apologize” without actually owning their mistakes.

    And while I agree with some of the above comments that canceling at the last minute is unprofessional, I also contend, like nnn says, that you don’t respond to unprofessional behavior with more of the same. NPH didn’t have to be a whiny little kid about it.

  12. Praise St. Angie! says:

    “it seems like if you get a part on a soap, it doesn’t matter how bad you are, you can seem to stick around forever.”

    that’s because if you get a part and are any good at acting, you move on to bigger and better things. if you suck, you stay.

    and I’m sorry, 30-50 pages a DAY? I don’t buy that. (unless a “page” is 8 lines of script.) I’ve watched some of those shows, and a “scene” lasts about 30 seconds and has about a total of 5 lines of dialogue, shared between two people. and often those 5 lines are repeated, in various re-arrangements, over and over.

    “I have something to tell you”

    “I can’t talk right now”

    “but I really need to tell you something”

    “can it wait? I’m busy right now”

    “but it’s really important”

    “maybe we can talk later?”

    “but I have to tell you something really important!”

    and so on, and so on…even if the information is LIFE CHANGING, it’ll take a few episodes for the person to actually verbalize whatever the information is.

  13. Dana M says:

    It was unprofessional and classless of NPH to have called EB a D-Bag. Regardless of the hip surgery or EB’s past fights, number of lines to memorize, good actor or not, etc. All that’s irrelevant to the point. I wish people would think of consequences before they ( publicly) bash someone on twitter or Facebook, especially when they are a public figure.

  14. Marjalane says:

    NPH came off like an utter douche on this, and apologizing after the fact simply because he looked bad in the media shows what an ego he’s carrying. I think the old guys response to him was perfect.

  15. Jo says:

    You shut up. Got that, Punk? :: the great Victor Newman dramatic voice::

    Sounds like Douchie Howser needs a reality check.

  16. VV says:

    Lamest apology ever. Why do people do that–the whole apology accompanied by an excuse and an explanation?

    Furthermore, why does being ‘fiercely protective’ of anything make it alright to talk like that to someone you admit you don’t even know that well?

    Just say you’re sorry, offer a bit of praise and wish him well in his recovery. The end.

    I wish more people were ‘protective’ of professionalism, good manners and courtesy these days.

  17. southerncheerleader says:

    That’s right Eric, you tell that whiny Dougster.

    Children today – jeez!!

  18. Vi says:

    very unclassy of NPH and his “apology” didn’t ring true for me. especially as it didn’t seem to contain the words “i’m sorry”

  19. lena80 says:

    I like how he makes an apology by saying in quotes that the replacement is capable of making any part “substantial”… he still had to get a dig in.

  20. mln76 says:

    @Praise yeah it’s 30-50 pages a day I grew up on soaps and every interview with any soap actor (current or former) states that. Add to that the fact that EB’s Victor Newman is the central character on Y & R . He is always involved in like 3 or 4 of the major storylines on the show.

  21. LolaBella says:

    I follow NPH on Twitter and when he made the D-Bay tweet, I was disappointed that he would be so unprofessional and discuss this in so public a forum.

    Say what you want about EB being a known divo, but he was classy in the way he responded and subtly bitch-slapped NPH.

    Man I haven’t watched Y&R in over a decade, but I remember how much I LOVED Victor Newman.

  22. Leek says:

    @nnn — you said it.

    I have to say, as a reformed soap junkie, that there are some really talented actors on soaps. In my opinion, the writing is what makes them seem like they need acting lessons.

    NPH has had a great couple of years and humility will extend those 15 minutes into a long and successful career.

  23. Carol says:

    I think neither come off well in their exchange, but I’m Team NPH on this one. Whether he had surgery or not, EB’s explanation suggests he would have shown up if the part had been more than two lines. And he’s never heard of NPH? Really? Broadway actor? Multiple Emmy winner? At least two successful primetime television series and a ton of TV movies, and EB tries to act like NPH is some flavor of the month? Clearly EB’s reason for canceling wasn’t explained to the cast who were left standing around watching production costs mount for someone who didn’t show. Frankly I like that NPH didn’t really apologize – said he felt bad for “D-bag” knowing about the surgery now, but still saying Ray makes every role “substantial.” NPH acted badly with his initial comment, but I think EB is the one who got schooled. And just goes to show you the evils of Twitter!

  24. sassenach says:

    I don’t think it’s fair for some of you to insult soap actors. There are some especially on The Young and the Restless who are FANTASTIC actors and could give many in Hollywood some lessons. Just you tube Maura West, Sharon Case and Michelle Stafford.

  25. Mistral says:

    NPH’s apology wasn’t a whole-hearted one, since he continued trying to justify his words (I am fiercely protective of my show) and his little dig about another actor being wonderful and having the ability to make any part “substantial”. It’s one of those wishy-washy apologies. I do think he realized that Braeden’s call-out had a bit of truth to it.

    The whole “young guy wins a few awards and gets a touch of hubris” thing was gold. Talking about his operation made NPH look like the D-bag.The old-school term “whippersnapper” was also perfect because it effectively made NPH look like a guy attacking his elders, thus making him look disrespectful and immature.

    Braeden’s response was calculated and pretty effective because it was pretty accurate and NPH realized that how he was coming off. Especially with Braeden’s operation-recovery explanation.

    Of course, Braeden’ is full of it when he says he doesn’t know who NPH is, because who the hell doesn’t know about Doogie Howser? Who in showbiz wouldn’t have watched NPH host whatever showbiz award show he did last year? It’s just Braeden pullin’ the ol’ “WHO?” trick when trying to put down an opponent. Pretty funny and diva-ish.

    Anyhow, I get that Doogie was pissed when he thought soap opera guy was dissing his show (because, let’s face it, dude is still a soap star. His “celeb status” is purely camp. He’s no Clint Eastwood). I get that Victor Newman was pissed at being disrespected using a term he feels is better for Jersey Shore, and thus he pulled out the whole “whippersnapper” term to show his age and put down Doogie. I get the Doogie felt bad when he read that the guy had had an operation, so he chose to say sorry. However, he still needed to make clear that while he felt bad about attacking the guy after he knew all of the details, he still felt that his comment was sort of justified at the time (when he didn’t know the man’s reasoning) and he felt that Braeden was still a little arrogant (thus the whole praise for the replacement).

  26. Lois says:

    I always did get the impression that NPH was a little too big for his boots…I love Barney Stinson, but am not the biggest fan of NPH himself.

  27. Hakura says:

    I can see this mess from both perspectives. It was obviously a complete misunderstanding of what was being said.

    This is just ONE MORE story that should show people NOT to tweet/blog/post *anything* when you’re angry. It always comes back to bite you in the ass. Usually with a bit of time to calm down, you’d regret having snapped off a response that may make you look like a complete asshole (regardless of if you had a reason to be angry), like NPH.

    I have a temper, myself, so I’ve made this mistake *several* times. >.<

  28. Bopa says:

    Those questioning EB need to keep in mind that just getting to the set after hip surgery is half the battle. Do Y&R and HIMYM shoot in the same state? It’s the difference between your boss calling you to work to only copy 1 piece of paper or your boss calling you to work a full shift because someone called off. Who would want to travel somewhere if they don’t feel well already if it’s really not worth the trip? It’s like people who feel forced to work when they’re sick. If you die your job will replace you EB isn’t any different just because he’s in the entertainment business.

  29. jr says:

    love Victor Newman.

  30. kim says:

    Don’t mess with Victor Newman ! End of story. Love Him.

  31. MissyA says:

    I guess the moral of the story is, “its not easy being cheesy.”

  32. aang says:

    @ kim, my thoughts exactly. victor newman will
    crush any b**** who gets out of line.

  33. lucy2 says:

    I love NPH, but he was out of line and shouldn’t have aired that stuff publicly. Plus his apology is lacking and seems encouraged by a publicist, rather than serious regret.
    But I do get the whole cast and crew being annoyed and inconvenienced by EB dropping out last minute, that’s not very professional either. Whatever else EB had going on, he agreed to do it. I could see citing the surgery and exhaustion if the role turned out to be MORE than he could handle, but it was less than he expected, so why not just go in there and do it, since he committed to it?

  34. Bee says:

    Soap actors are the hardest working actors in the business. That’s why a lot of producers love to hire veteran soap actors. They know they can get the job done. Also, twitter has become the equivalent of drunk dialing nowadays.

  35. Jo 'Mama' Besser says:

    I wouldn’t be chomping at the bit to appear on HIMYM either, that show is no great shakes and has been unwatchable since–well, around the time I stopped watching it and that was years ago. Congratulations, you’re on an intensely obnoxious show that wouldn’t know competent pacing if it laid eggs in its brain. And Alyson Hannigan’s on it too, which is just frigging dire because she is anathema to all things comic.

    Keep spinning those wheels, boys.

  36. Hakura says:

    @Bee (#34)- Also, twitter has become the equivalent of drunk dialing nowadays.

    Ain’t that the truth. Definitely a good comparison. People don’t *think* before they put this stuff up… rather like these starlets who take nude/sexy pictures… this stuff doesn’t just ‘disappear’ because you take it down.

  37. The Bobster says:

    I can’t believe Doogie plays a womanizer.

    Wictor was right. Doogie couldn’t carry his jockstrap…even though he’d like to.

  38. Delta Juliet says:

    If anyone looks like a d-bag in this scenario, it’s NPH.

    That’s all.

  39. coexxi says:

    @Praise St. Angie!
    That’s so funny I watched a few times “The Bold and Beautiful” and had to stop because that was the feeling I had of the dialogs… you summed it up perfectly!

  40. Justez says:

    I’ll agree NPH was out of line, but I think depending of the timing of whem EB backed out could have been the reason. I haven’t read about how close it was to them shooting and if changed their schedules around. A few years back, I worked in a restaurant, and was waiting for the next waitress to come and take her shift, she was due in at 3:30, and called at 3:20 to say she wasn’t going to make, it, leaving to me work a double, breakless. I callled her some names, not on twiiter of course, but just sayin’ I get the anger, but I was also 18 at the time.

  41. Lori says:

    Victor Newman will cut a bitch.

  42. MSat says:

    That guy is still alive? And still on Y&R? My god. I stopped watching that show when I was in high school in the 80s.

    Who knew soaps had such job stability?

  43. Cakes says:

    Its seems like apologies are useless. Most people treat them like its a lead-in to justifying what they said or did without requiring any real responsibility for their actions/words.

  44. PrimeO says:

    @lucy2, #33: “I love NPH, but he was out of line and shouldn’t have aired that stuff publicly. Plus his apology is lacking and seems encouraged by a publicist, rather than serious regret.”

    Exactly. I totally agree.

    Also, I think it says EB only received the script shortly (a day or two) before filming. When he agreed to be on the show, did he know about his surgery? That they’d be happening around the same time?

    @Cakes, #43 “Its seems like apologies are useless. Most people treat them like its a lead-in to justifying what they said or did without requiring any real responsibility for their actions/words.”

    Yes! Agree!

  45. Mairead says:

    Team NPH – if for no other reason than I’ve never heard of the other fella (we get HIMYM but not the “Young & Perpetually in motion” or whatever it’s called)

  46. Devon says:

    As just having hip surgery myself, exactly 3 months ago today, I’m surprised that EB is ready to go back to work. I just started walking 4 weeks ago and today was the first day I walked with just my cane rather than crutches. Keep in mind, I had a pretty severe operation and my leg was fractured as well as the crap they did to my hip but still. Hip surgery is not something to mess around with. I’ve been off work since the beginning of September (doc’s took me off about 3 weeks prior to surgery since my hip was so bad) and I’ve got no clue when I’ll be going back. And to top that all off, I’m 27! EB is 69. The dude needs to REST!

    I saw NPH’s comment on Twitter and at first thought “what an ass” but then when I read what he’s been going through I thought that NPH was the ass.

  47. Bee says:

    @Hakura the amazing thing is that people don’t seem to realize that the stuff they put on twitter, facebook, etc. will be there, even if they delete it, FOREVER. At least if you call someone while you’re wasted there’s the hope they might be able to wipe it from their memory, or voicemail, someday.

  48. Dannnii says:

    NPH, all drama, all excited, all rude, all of the time, all over twitter.
    He needs a valium.

    EB is a pro!!!

  49. Kiska says:

    Y & R brings back good memories of watching it full blast with my grandfather and his wife (he was going deaf) My step grandmother would yell out, “Oh THAT Victor!”

    So EB has my vote, always.

    P.S. I love the word “whippersnapper”

  50. truthzbetta says:

    Doogie’s almost 40, no excuse for this. His apology was pissy, he said the re-cast guy is able to “make any part substantial” (unlike Braeden).

    Doogie was still being a douche.

    Oh, and if “whippersnapper” is dated, I’m afraid “douche” is quite 80’s here too. Thirty year old insult from a 37 year old to a veteran in his business is pathetic.

  51. Dannnii says:

    Also, actors end up backing out of commitments or requests all of the time in the business, it really does happen quite often. Actors from the show should not be bitching about the casting/business part of it all over twitter. NPH is totally self-involved …has nothing to to with being protective. Gimme a break.

  52. JenJen says:

    I can’t stand this cocky A-hole. The show has always sucked and I am amazed it is still on anyway.

  53. Matt says:

    Doogie Howser acted like a d-bag, however I still think cancelling anything work-related at the last minute is very unprofessional. He would have known in advance that he was not physically ready to take on the extra work.

    @Cakes, #43 “Its seems like apologies are useless. Most people treat them like its a lead-in to justifying what they said or did without requiring any real responsibility for their actions/words.”

    GOD, this is so true!

  54. M&M says:

    The whole thing is just funny! Gotta LOVE Braeden’s response. . .I’m making it a point to call someone a whippersnapper today.

  55. Stubbylove says:

    Love NPH but ya screwed up here bud – another result of the idiocy of Twitter. Besides, NEVER dogg Victor Newman – he’s a legend!

  56. Athena says:

    Completely agree Stubbylove. ‘Think before you tweet’ should be a public service announcement campaign.

  57. chris says:

    Doogie Houser was the douchebag here. Have some respect for the elderly douchebag.

  58. nofreelunch says:

    @Jo #15–thanks for the early Xmas gift:)you’re hilarious: got that punk?(in dramatic VN voice)

  59. bored at work says:

    One of NPH’s New Year resolutions on twitter:

    Neil’s New Year Resolutions, Part 3: Try not to insult aged soap stars, especially when you’re on the same network.
    11:46 AM Jan 1st via Twitter for iPhone