“Lily gets in a limo and takes off,” Bryne revealed to her fans on Sunday night, March 16th, when she visited with them via a chat room on her website, marthabryne.net. It was her response to Sleepydreams143’s question asking “how they wrote Lily off?”
As the World Turns fans were shocked recently, when it was made known that Bryne, who started with the soap in 1985 at age 15, would not be signing on the dotted line to renew her contract. The rumor mill raged rampant, so much so that As the World Turns, who never discusses contract negotiations, released a statement from Executive Producer, Chris Goutman, to Soapdom stating “We made Martha an incredibly generous offer in hopes that she would remain a valuable member of the ATWT cast. Unfortunately, Martha has decided to leave despite our best efforts to keep her.”
Byrne soon addressed the show’s official statement, also mentioning how she has never discussed contract negotiations publicly previously, always believing them to be a private business matter, but felt in light of the show’s official statement, she wanted to clear the air. She explained that in the middle of the negotiations both sides reached a stalemate, but instead of the show making a counter offer, they sent out a casting call to name soap actresses as Byrne’s replacement. For Byrne, “that was when things went from bad to worse.” Bryne later told TV Guide online that she just did not feel that the show did all it could to keep her, per Goutman’s statement, and she feels that the fans deserve the truth.
Speculation and rumors persisted that the stalemate issue was Byrne’s demand for storyline approval, but on Sunday, March 16th in chat on her website, Bryne shared that storyline approval was in no way the culprit. When asked if storyline control was the reason, she replied “NO!!!”
When asked by chatter MarkH “Are you really okay with this break from ATWT?” Bryne replied “no.”
Chatter janefitz asked: “There's been a lot of rumors about what happen between you and the producers. Can you share now what caused the breakdown in negotiation? Also, best of luck in whatever you decide to do.”
To which Bryne replied: “I did not want storyline approval. No one gets that. I had already taken a substantial pay reduction last year. The only thing I wanted was to work at least the same amount of episodes this year as last year. This was denied and that is when I heard about my recast.”
Time out for an explanation on that point. A soap actor is contracted for a guaranteed number of episodes per week – two, three, four. If they are contracted for a guarantee of three, and they only work two, they still get paid for three. If they are contracted for a guarantee of three, but work four, they get paid for the extra day. From what Bryne is saying here is that whatever her guarantee was last year, she wanted the same guarantee for this year, and for some reason – probably budgetary – the show was not in a position to agree. Paying Bryne for a three-day guarantee is also more costly to the soap than paying say, Van Hansis (Luke) a three-day guarantee. He’s only been with the show a few years, while Bryne’s been there for over 20. She is at a far higher pay rate, I am sure, even with last year’s pay cut.
Bryne also shared that her last scenes are with Jon (Hensley, Holden), Michael Park (Jack) and Maura (West, Carly). “Michael Park was my hanky when the scenes were done,” Bryne revealed. Her last tape date was Friday, March 14th. She will air through the end of April.
She talked about her going away party saying it was “Awesome. There were about one hundred people there. Some from our old studio. Some old friends, lots of love in the room! I cried again.”
Fans also asked Bryne to reveal her favorite storyline “So many, but I loved playing Rose and Lily together in scenes;” if she was still going to be involved with St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, a charity she recruited the just about everyone in soapdom to support for 11 years, with the 12th charity event scheduled next year, “I am going to Memphis in October as a professional advisory board member and will be more involved with St. Judes on a day-to-day basis. I will be planning another St. Jude’s event for Spring 2009;” what scenes she submitted for Daytime Emmy Award consideration, “I submitted two episodes one being the day Lily decided to enter rehab at the Snyder Farm and the second episode was the day after Holden found Lily in Dusty's suite and asked for a separation;” if she was going to continue with her music, etc.
When asked if she’d consider another soap she replied, “I am open to anything.” She also believes that fan support is amazing and that the show does listen to the fans. When asked what they could do to help, she suggested writing to P&G Productions in Cincinnati, Ohio.
But it may be too little too late. SOD is already reporting that ATWT has recast the role of Bryne with a name actress, who did not even have to audition. However, they are not releasing the name as of yet.
Soapdom wishes Bryne all the best. Should she find her way back to Oakdale in the future that would be wonderful. Should she land on another soap or primetime show, we couldn’t be more delighted. One thing is certain. Bryne is a two-time Daytime Emmy Award winning talented actor, and a gracious, generous person. She’ll come out of this stronger for the trouble, we’re sure.
Transcript of Martha Byrne's chat with fans
As the World Turn’s Martha Byrne Out
Martha Byrne on Exiting ATWT: "I Was True to Myself"
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