March 6: In the new issue of Soap Opera Digest out today, Martha Bryne (Lily, ATWT) addresses her choice to leave As the World Turns. It appears there was a bit of jumping to the gun on both sides. After first stating that she never discusses contract negotiations, as she believes them to be a private business matter, she is telling her side of the story based on the comments below from the show. "Last year, understanding the impending fiscal constraints the show faced, I willingly signed a one-year contract with a substantial pay reduction. With six weeks remaining on that contract, the show began negotiations on a new one. I made it known I was willing to sign a multi-year contract and was committed to stay with the show. After less than three weeks of talks, we hit an impasse, wich often happens with negotiations. I then learned that the show, that same afternoon, put out a breakdown for my immediate replacement. That was the end of any futher negotiations for me. Unfortunately what I thought to be a reasonable request, the show determined to be unworkable." She goes on to thank all her fans for their support, but does not stipulate exactly what the "reasonable request" was. Soapdom heard through the grapevine -- but is not in a position at this time to confirm or deny -- that it had to do with storyline approval. The good news is that fans can hear from Byrne herself. She will be chatting live on Sunday, March 16th at 7pm EST when all your questions will be answered live. Log on to participate in the chat at http://www.marthabyrne.net
Rumors began circulating on Thursday that long time As the World Turns star, Martha Bryne (Lily) could not come to contract terms with the soap and would most likely be leaving. Word was that ATWT was even reaching out to former soap actresses in an effort to recast the role.
As many websites rushed to report exaggerated accounts of what was happening behind closed doors at As the World Turns, the show spokesperson did confirm today for Soapdom that Bryne has indeed opted not renew her contract. However, it was through no fault of ATWT, who did try it’s best to come to terms with the actress.
I do want to stress that as some Soapdom members are grumbling that the show is letting her go. Not quite the way it went down.
“We made Martha an incredibly generous offer in hopes that she would remain a valuable member of the ATWT cast,” As the World Turrns executive producer, Chris Goutman revealed. “Unfortunately, Martha has decided to leave despite our best efforts to keep her.”
According to Michael Logan of TV Guide , one of his sources noted “When Goutman says ‘generous,’ he means it — the offer was generous by anyone’s standards,” insisted this particular longtime staffer. “I don’t know what else the show could have done for Martha.”
Soapdom’s sources at the show also shared that they did try very hard to come to an amenable agreement.
But it is what it is. When someone chooses to leave, they choose to leave and there is not much the show can do when someone’s mind is made up, no matter how sweet the deal.
Soapdom wishes Bryne the very best as she pursues other endeavors. She started as a teen on As the World Turns in 1985, and except for a three-year stint away, she remained a front burner character through 2008. Byrne will continue to air in Oakdale through mid April at which point, you could probably see a new face in the role.
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