CBS’ soap opera “The Young and The Restless” (Y&R) has captivated the American audience for nearly five decades since it premiered on 26 March 1973. The plot’s never-ending twists and turns has kept viewers glued to their seats, as well as character developments; successive stars of this long-running daytime television series have become household names, and earned recognition for their acting performances, in both awards and financial recompense. As such, many have wondered who among them has amassed a huge fortune, and how they’re ranked based on their net worth.
- 1 About the show
- 2 Richest actors in “Y&R”
- 2.1 Melody Thomas-Scott – Net Worth: $7 Million
- 2.2 Tracey E. Bregman – Net Worth: $7 Million
- 2.3 Gina Tognoni – Net Worth: $9 Million
- 2.4 Daniel Goddard – Net Worth: $17 Million
- 2.5 Christel Khalil – Net Worth $17 million
- 2.6 Peter Bergman – Net Worth: $10 Million
- 2.7 Eric Braeden – Net Worth: $25 Million
- 2.8 Lauralee Bell – Net Worth: $200 Million
About the show
“Y&R” is set in the town of Genoa City located in Wisconsin, and originally revolved around the conflict between the working-class Foster family and the affluent Brooks family. As the story evolved over the years, the focus shifted to the Newmans, Abbotts, and Williams, and later on, new central characters were written in, such as the Barbers and the Winters as well as the Fishers and the Baldwins. The creators, William J. Bell and his wife Lee Phillip Bell, pushed boundaries by tackling topics such as pre-marital sex, rape, and incest in a more analytical and introspective manner, which was said to be unusual for soap operas of the time, but nevertheless appealed to its large target audience, as have further social issues including cancer, alcoholism and bulimia which found their way into the storyline; some have been controversial, but have received generally positive reviews from critics.
In the ratings game, the show started at the bottom when it premiered in 1973. William Bell had reportedly been so frustrated and distressed by its slow rise that he asked the CBS Daytime head for its cancellation. However, CBS had faith in it, so it continued to air, and they were right in their decision, as the time came when “Y&R” tied with ABC’s “General Hospital” in first place in 1987-1988. It reigned supreme over all daytime shows beginning in 1988-1989 until 2019-2020, when its sister-series “The Bold and the Beautiful (B&B),” took over the number one spot. It’s been hailed as the Outstanding Drama Series by the Daytime Emmy Awards numerous times, the first in 1975, and the most recent in 2020.
Richest actors in “Y&R”
Many have been curious about how much an actor earns in a daytime drama series. Landing a contract role in a soap opera might mean higher pay for a recurring role, but it would still depend on the popularity of the character and the show; naturally, an Emmy Award-winning actor could also command more. Reportedly, the average pay for the main actor is $1000 per episode, with those who had been in the soap for over five years could earn $1,500 to $3,000 per episode, and those who portrayed a character for over a decade could make $5,000 per episode. Here are the richest cast members of “Y&R”, and their estimated net worth as of July 2022 according to authoritative sources.
Melody Thomas-Scott – Net Worth: $7 Million
Melody celebrated her 40th year with the hit soap opera in 2019, having joined the cast in 1979 as a replacement for Erica Hope in the role of Nikki Reed, a girl down on her luck working as a stripper. Her character had been through a lot, as she accidentally killed her father when he tried to rape her, unwittingly became involved in a prostitution ring, and was chased by a psychopath. She later had a tumultuous relationship with business tycoon Victor Newman, whom she married four times. Melody earned an Outstanding Lead Actress nomination in 1999 for a Daytime Emmy Award.
She was born on 18 April 1956, in Los Angeles, California, and began her career in the entertainment industry when she was three, mentored by Ethel Meglin, who launched the careers of Judy Garland and Shirley Temple. Her movie debut was in 1964 in the Alfred Hitchcock psychological thriller “Marnie”, playing the role of the young Marnie. While she was in her teens, she was cast for minor parts in Clint Eastwood’s “The Beguiled” (1971), Kirk Douglas’ “Posse” (1975), and John Wayne’s “The Shootist” (1976).
Behind the glitz and glamour of her life in showbusiness was a dark secret that she carried for so long – she was molested by a Hollywood player, with her grandmother sitting merely five feet away and who did nothing to stop it; she was only four when it happened for the first time. Her painful past living with her grandmother whom she believed had a borderline personality was revealed in her memoir, “Always Young and Restless: My Life On and Off America’s #1 Daytime Drama,” published in August 2020.
In 1985, Melody married Edward J. Scott, who started working on the soap as an associate producer in 1976, and eventually became its executive producer from 1986 until 2001. They have three children: Alexandra (whose father was a make-up artist from the soap), Jennifer (from his previous marriage), and Elizabeth.
Tracey E. Bregman – Net Worth: $7 Million
Tracey Bregman was born on 29 May 1963, in Munich, Germany, to American record producer, composer and arranger Buddy Bregman, and Canadian-born movie and TV actress Suzanne Lloyd. She lived in London, England for 10 years before her family moved to southern California. Her father would take her along on the set every day, and this gave her the opportunity not only to form a close bond with him, but also to learn much about the business as she assisted him in whatever way she could. She also shared, ‘I traveled all over the world and met people I would never have been exposed to. I grew up faster because of that, but I enjoyed it and learned a lot.’
She did commercials, the first for Mattel toys. At 14, she began appearing in NBC’s “Days of Our Lives” as Donna Craig Temple, a stint which lasted until she was 17 – her mother helped her balance time between doing soap operas and attending school. Later, she read for the role of Patty Williams in “Y&R”, and even dyed her hair blonde for it, but didn’t get the part. However, the show’s creator saw something in her, so ‘the role of Lauren was created. I didn’t have to read for it. They just hired me,’ she said. It was supposed to be just a summer gig, but she was offered a contract role, and was beyond excited, as she’d fallen in love with her character.
Lauren Fenmore was introduced in “Y&R” in 1983, and by 1985, Tracey had won her first Emmy for Outstanding Younger Actress in a Daytime Drama Series. She also received Emmy nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actress (2006, 2008), and Outstanding Lead Actress (2016). Her character temporarily crossed over to “B&B” in 1992, and she would subsequently go back and forth between the two hit soap operas.
Gina Tognoni – Net Worth: $9 Million
Gina joined the cast of “Y&R” in 2014, in the role of Phyllis Summers as a replacement for Michelle Stafford, who left the soap after 16 years saying that she was ‘done’ portraying that character. Despite winning an Emmy for her outstanding performance, Gina’s contract was terminated in 2019, and it was announced that Michelle would be returning to the show. She expressed her feelings on the matter through social media, as she posted, ‘I am beyond grateful for the creative experience that The Young and the Restless has given to me…I love my Genoa City family.’ Many were shocked by this development, and according to some reports, the main reason why this happened was that Josh Griffith, the executive producer and head writer at that time, wanted to bring back the original actors into the show.
Gina Tognoni was born on 28 November 1973, in St. Louis, Missouri. In 1991, she was crowned Miss Rhode Island Teen USA, and in 1993, she took home the title of Miss Rhode Island Teen All-American. She made her debut in daytime TV series in 1995, as regular cast member Kelly Cramer in ABC’s “One Life to Live”, and portrayed that role until 2002. She next appeared in CBS’ “Guiding Light” as Dinah Marier in 2004, and twice won an Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series with her performance. When it was canceled, Gina went back to playing her Kelly Cramer character, from 2010 to 2011.
Daniel Goddard – Net Worth: $17 Million
Daniel was cast to play the role of Cane Ashby, an Australian bartender searching for his family; the character was introduced in 2007, and killed off in 2011. As fans campaigned for his return, he was back on the screen with the story that it was Cane’s twin brother who actually died. Daniel recalled that he auditioned for a role in “As the World Turns”, but failed to get the part. However, the CBS daytime senior vice-president, Barbara Bloom, recommended him to “Y&R” executive producer and head writer.
Daniel Richard Goddard was born on 28 August 1971, in Sydney, New South Wales Australia. In 1995, he made his debut on TV in the Australian soap “Home and Away,” after which he went to Hollywood to model for Dolce & Gabbana and Calvin Klein. He was cast to play the lead character, Dar, in “Beastmaster,” which aired for three seasons from 1999 to 2002.
— Daniel Goddard (@DanielGoddard) August 6, 2021
Christel Khalil – Net Worth $17 million
Christel Adnana Mina Khalil was born on 30 November 1987, in Los Angeles, to a Pakistani father and a mother of European, African-American, and Native American descent. She was just six years old when she made her TV debut in the American sitcom “The Sinbad Show” in 1993, then in 1996 she was cast in a minor role in the 1996 fantasy-comedy “Matilda”, and made a guest appearance in “That’s So Raven” and “Malcolm in the Middle.” In 2004, Christel landed her first leading role, lending her voice to Cornelia Hale in the French-American animated series “W.I.T.C.H.”
She joined the cast of “Y&R” in 2002, playing the role of Lily Winters, who was described as a naïve but rebellious teen. She left the soap in 2005 due to stress, despite the producers’ insistence that she stay, as they were impressed by her performance, so Christel eventually agreed to return the following year. She scored several nominations for Emmy Awards for Outstanding Younger Actress and won in 2012, as well as an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series in 2008. In 2020, she received an Emmy nomination, this time for Outstanding Supporting Actress.
Peter Bergman – Net Worth: $10 Million
In 2021, CBS commemorated Peter’s three decades in “Y&R” playing the role of Jack Abbott, known for his longstanding business rivalry with Victor Newman as well as his romances with Nikki Newman and Phyllis Summers. His character evolved from being a womanizer to someone who valued family.
Peter Bergman will be here on the #YR Facebook page at 2pm ET/11am PT to chat with YOU! Have a question for him? Leave them in the comments below.
Melody Thomas Scott was instrumental in how he was cast in the show. His exit from “All My Children” after his portrayal of Dr. Cliff Warner for a decade (1979-1989) made headlines, and when Melody saw him in a magazine, she told her husband, the then executive producer of “Y&R” that ‘That’s Jack Abbott.’ Peter was hesitant about doing it, as he believed replacing someone in a show (Terry Lester quit the role) would never work. However, accepting the role turned out to be one of the best decisions he made in his career. He’s garnered over 20 Daytime Emmy nominations, and bagged the coveted award for Outstanding Lead Actor in 1991, 1992, and 2002. His character has made guest appearances in other CBS shows, such as “The Nanny” (1997), “B&B” (1998), and “The King of Queens” (2001).
Peter Michael Bergman was born on 11 June 1953, in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to a US Naval Officer parent; his family moved around a lot until he reached eighth grade. He was an alumnus of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, Class 1975. He appeared in various regional theatre productions before he landed a contract role in 1979 in “All My Children”, for which in 1983 he earned his first Emmy nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series.
Eric Braeden – Net Worth: $25 Million
For over 40 years since 1980, Eric Braeden played the role of the charming but ruthless villain Victor Newman, a self-made business tycoon, in “Y&R.” His character was initially written to be killed off by his wife after eight to 12 weeks, but his performance – ‘the voice, the power, the inner strength’ – had such a great impact that the show’s creator signed him up for a contract role. He became an icon, recognized as the biggest daytime leading man of all time. He scored an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series in 1998, and was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2007. Reportedly, he could command $5,000 per episode.
He was born in Bredenbek, Germany, on 3 April 1941, as Hans-Jörg Gudegast. He immigrated to the US in 1959, where he attended the University of Montana on a scholarship, due to his athleticism. Eric went to Los Angeles to look for a distributor for a documentary he made with his friend, but instead found himself landing roles portraying Nazis, including a starring role as the sympathetic German officer, Captain Hans Dietrich, in “The Rat Patrol” (1966-1968). He initially used the name Hans Gudegast, but under pressure from a Hollywood Studio, he changed his name to Eric Braeden. It was a painful decision for him, so he chose one with which he could identify, the name of his village in Germany. The first time he used it was in “Colossus: The Forbin Project” (1970) and then as he went on to appear in various projects, including “The Titanic” (1997) for the role of the wealthy John Jacob Astor IV.
Lauralee Bell – Net Worth: $200 Million
Lauralee Bell was born on 22 December 1968, in Chicago, Illinois, to “Y&R” and “B&B” creators Lee Phillip Bell and William J. Bell. Her career as an actor began at the age of nine, when she appeared as an extra in “Y&R”, and was then cast for the role of teen model Christine “Cricket” Blairi n 1983. Her character matured and pursued a career in law after her traumatizing experience of being raped. Lauralee revealed that she had to repeatedly beg her parents to be part of the soap – they weren’t keen on the idea, but gave in anyway on condition that she would only film during school holidays. In 2016, she earned an Outstanding Supporting Actress nomination for a Daytime Emmy Award.
In between filming for the soap, she was busy with various projects as a creator, writer, director and producer. She launched the web series’ “Family Dinner” (2009) and “Just Off Rodeo” (2011). Her work, the “mI Promise” (2013), which premiered in 2019 on Amazon Prime, won a Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Special Class-Short Format.
Her brothers are also in the entertainment industry: Bradley Bell is the current head writer and executive producer of “B&B”, and William Bell Jr. is the president of Bell-Phillip Television Productions. In 2005, her father passed away from complications of Alzheimer’s disease, while her mother died in 2020 from natural causes.
“Y&R” aired its 12,500th episode in May 2022, and would reach another milestone by the 2023-2024 broadcast season – its 50th anniversary. Loyal viewers could continue to look forward to more intriguing storylines and shocking developments with characters who they could root for, and love to hate.