Eric and Nicole Hit It Off

Eric and Nicole Hit It Off

But the trouble is just beginning...

For Years, the character of Eric Brady was one of DAYS OF OUR LIVES' unsolved mysteries. Sure, he'd gone to live with mom Marlena's (never seen) parents in Colorado, but even though Eric's name came up occasionally, he never came home--not for Christmas, not for any of his mother's weddings, not for his twin sister Sami's near-wedding, not even for his father's funeral (last spring when everyone thought that Roman was dead).

Eric finally came home last summer and the consensus is that Jensen Ackles was worth the wait. In the months since Eric returned home, two questions have loomed in viewers' minds:Why did Eric leave Colorado? and when is he going to get his very own frontburner storyline?

The first question was addressed a few weeks ago, when Eric got a surprise visit from ex-friend Jed, who had been accused of date rape in Colorado. He wanted Eric to take the fall for him, but Eric convinced Jed to go back and face the music. The story was wrapped quickly, but several loose ends seem left untied. The DAYS powers-that-be say there are no plans for a return appearance by Jed, but the door to that storyline still appears somewhat open.

As for a storyline for Eric--after months of idle banter, Eric has finally been given some potentially meaty drama of his own...and possibly a new romantic interest.

Eric's twin Sami is determined to prove she's as good a businesswoman as she is a schemer. As part of her latest plan, Sami is launching a New Faces campaign at Titan, and she's recruited Java Cafe waitress Nicole as the model. On Friday, April 3, Sami arranges for Eric to take some photos of Nicole.

He fantasized several weeks ago about trying out a number of different jobs, but this is Eric's first stab at anything approaching a career move. "I don't think Eric really knows what he wants to do," Ackles says. "He's trying to sort out his life and doesn't have any clear plan at this point."

But it looks like Nicole might figure prominently in those plans. As they spend time together on the New Faces campaign, Eric and Nicole grow closer. It doesn't take long for Eric to become infatuated with Nicole. Meanwhile, Nicole is very impressed with Sami. When Eric stands up for his sister during a confrontation with Lucas, Nicole commends him. Eric says he's sure Nicole would do the same thing for her family--but all he gets in response is an enigmatic stare.

Nicole sees her work with Titan as the break she's been waiting for. But what is it she wants to break away from? "Nicole is very mysterious," claims her portrayer, Arianne Zucker. "There are things about her she's not telling anyone at this point."

As viewers get a glimpse inside Nicole's apartment, it becomes clear that she is struggling to make ends meet. She's desperate to find a way out of poverty and will do what it takes to make the most of the modeling opportunity. But will she get the chance? On Thursday, April 9, Nicole recieves a letter in the mail which leaves her shaken. Does this have something to do with her past? And what effect might that past have on her developing relationship with Eric?

Whatever the long-range plans are for Eric and Nicole, one bump in the road is already scheduled. DAYS has announced that popular country singer LeAnn Rimes will appear on several episodes during May sweeps. According to DAYS executive producer Ken Corday, Rimes' character "will definitely play a role in Eric Brady's storyline."

He Would Jump Off A Bridge For His Job

Jensen Ackles was a fan favorite from the moment he debuted on DAYS last summer. Those positive viewer-vibes were reinforced by daytime professionals with Ackles' recent nomination in the Outstanding Younger Actor category for the 25th annual Daytime Emmy Awards, to be held on May 15.

The young thespian is fully appreciative of his good fortune. "It's really nice the way people have accepted Eric," he says, modestly deflecting the glory from himself. But when asked to envision an ideal scenario for Eric, Ackles steps up with a personal request. "I'm kind of an action guy," he says. "I'm into action movies, searching for things, running through streets..."

As far as Update knows, no such Indiana Jones-like plot has yet been devised for Eric Brady, but an eager Ackles quickly adds, "Give me something to jump off of or climb up, and I'm there!"

Soap Opera Update, April 14, 1998