Robin's father, Robin Scherbatsky, Sr., was first portrayed by Eric Braeden on HIMYM. Here's why he was recast with actor Ray Wise after season 4.
Robin Scherbatsky’s father made several appearances on How I Met Your Mother, but the original actor was recast after season 4 due to behind-the-scenes difficulties. While every main character’s parents were included in How I Met Your Mother, the least-presentb yet most discussed were Robin Scherbatsky’s Canadian dad and mom. While Robin’s mom Genevieve wasn’t seen until the very end of HIMYM season 9, her father, Robin Scherbatsky, Sr., was featured on multiple occasions to give background on her unloving upbringing, and became one of the only recast characters on HIMYM.
Robin’s dad was first introduced in the season 4 episode “Happily Ever After” in flashbacks to Robin’s childhood and teenage years. In this episode, he was portrayed by The Young and the Restless actor Eric Braeden. When Robin’s father finally returned in HIMYM season 6, the actor was changed to Twin Peaks’ Ray Wise, who remained in the role for the rest of the series. The recast of Eric Braeden to Ray Wise wasn’t due to a timeline-based age discrepancy, as Wise continued to portray Robin Scherbatsky, Sr. in future flashbacks of young Robin. Rather, Braeden’s HIMYM exit was a personal decision, which caused behind-the-scenes tension.
Ahead of the season 6 episode “Last Words,” which focused on the character’s fathers, How I Met Your Mother's Neil Patrick Harris took to Twitter in December 2010 to reveal that Eric Braeden would not be returning as Robin’s father. Harris wrote that “Eric Braeden is a D-Bag,” elaborating that the actor “agreed to cameo as Robin’s dad, then last night he bailed, saying the part wasn’t ‘substantial’ enough.” HIMYM’s Barney Stinson actor then wrote that Robin Scherbatsky, Sr. had been recast with Ray Wise, “who makes any part ‘substantial.’” In response to NPH’s public tweets, Eric Braeden told Deadline that he greatly enjoyed his cameo appearance on How I Met Your Mother and his time with the cast and crew, but never even met Barney’s actor on set.
While not denying that he backed out last-minute, Braeden revealed that part of why he pulled out of the How I Met Your Mother cameo spots was because he was exhausted by his overloaded work on The Young and the Restless, and he was not aware of the circumstances of the HIMYM appearance until the day before. The actor who played Robin’s father in season 4 also explained that he left HIMYM because he simply didn’t want to do it any longer. He stated that his agents and grandchildren talked him into signing on, but he was against the idea due to his animosity toward guest-starring bits after doing so many in the ‘60s and ‘70s. Eric Braeden also revealed that guest-starring salaries were heavily decreased, so while he ended up enjoying his one-episode stint as Robin’s dad on How I Met Your Mother, he wasn’t up to return for more cameo spots, thus explaining why Ray Wise joined the cast.
While Neil Patrick Harris eventually apologized for insulting Eric Braeden, HIMYM’s co-creator Carter Bays took to Twitter in 2021 to say that the original Robin Sr. actor “stabbed [them] in the back and refused to play the part anymore,” so they had to recast him with Ray Wise. This statement suggests that there’s still bad blood with Robin’s dad’s first actor, but it did end up working out for the best. Unusual for TV show recasts, Eric Braeden and Ray Wise have a physical resemblance to one another, which helped make HIMYM’s change in actors less jarring. Wise also made Robin’s father much more fun and lively, which How I Met Your Mother seemingly made a meta-joke about in season 8 when she sees her dad again and he says, “Robin, I’m fun now.”