His large extended family notwithstanding, Eric Brady (Jensen Ackles) has been flying solo since his return to Salem last summer. But that's about to change: Arianne Zucker has joined the cast of DAYS OF OUR LIVES in the newly-created contract role of Nicole Walker. Nicole, a waitress at the Java CAfe who first appeared on the show February 27, is "a young woman with a trouble past."
"I haven't been given much of a sense of Nicole's background yet," Zucker tells Update. "All I know at this point is that she's a waitress." Zucker, a Southern California native, was a teen model and has also appeared in a number of television commercials. DAYS OF OUR LIVES marks her dramatic television debut.
Her first day on the job, Zucker worked with Ackles and Austin Peck (Austin). What's it like going up against two of daytime's hottest hunks? "That was kind of intimidating at first," she admits, "because I'm so new. But they've been incredibly helpful." And by now, Zucker's had a chance to meet other Salem regulars as well. "Christie Clark (Carrie) and Ali Sweeney (Sami) were really sweet during the first days," she says. "This has been so exciting for me."
Originally, a second character, Taylor, was set to be introduced as a friend of Eric's from Colorado. The role had been cast and Taylor was already appearing in script breakdown as a shadowy presence following Eric. But the character has since been dropped. According to executive producer Tom Lanigan, "We decided not to include the character of Taylor in the current storyline."
Ackles has gained quite a following, so it's certain that female fans will be watching Zucker closely to judge if her Nicole is worthy of Eric.
Soap Opera Update, March 31, 1998