Actress Out! [Updated]

I’m really, truly surprised by this.

The Academy Of Television Arts & Sciences Daytime Emmy Nominee Recepti

Soap Opera Digest reports that Arianne Zucker (Nicole Walker) is leaving Days at the end of her contract.

In the new issue of Digest, on sale Friday, Arianne Zucker (Nicole) exclusively reveals that she will be leaving Salem when her contract is up in late April. “Two years ago, I was contemplating making the shift,” the actress shares. “I know there are a thousand girls who would take my job in a second, for me, it is my time to go.” For the full story, pick up your copy on Friday!

I have to say, I thought she’d be a lifer. But that tidbit about her having nearly left two years ago is telling. Isn’t that just about exactly when the writing shifted (abruptly) from the emphasis being on Nicole/Eric to Nicole/Daniel? I’ve heard rumors that she requested to be paired with Shawn Christian (Daniel) — her boyfriend in real life — and this seems to indicate, at the least, that she was promised a pivot in focus for Nicole if she stayed. She’s also basically been frontburner for nine years, minus her relatively short maternity leave. That has to be exhausting, any way you look at it.

This news leaves me full of thoughts. A final tape date in late April will keep her on-air into the fall. The natural ending for Nicole would be to win custody of Holly and leave Salem for a new beginning. There’s still a bit of confusion over how long-term Greg Vaughan (Eric) is around for, since he’s balancing his Days role with his appearances on OWN’s Queen Sugar, so I guess it’s possible Nicole and Eric leave town together with Holly. Ken Corday has also previewed an upcoming murder mystery, which seems like it has to center on Deimos, so there’s always the possibility they pull a Gabi and send Nicole to prison for Deimos’s murder — but that would be such a depressing end for the character, especially since she’s wanted a child for so long and would yet again be separated from her.

And just like Alison Sweeney’s exit, this loss leaves a big hole in the canvas. Nicole and Chloe are the only women in that mid-30s-to-early-40s age range in Salem right now. This really does open up — and create a need for — a Carrie or Belle or someone. And both of them are so tethered to relationships that feel like they’ve been through the mileage of the older supercouples, with all the breakups and reunions and whatnot, that the show is in a tricky spot. I do think Nicole as a character could use a rest, particularly after this last year of Daniel and Deimos foolishness, but I’ll still be sad to see her go. Zucker has delivered some incredibly moving performances over the years, and as messy as Nicole has been at times, her narrative as a character has been compelling. I guess we’ll see where they choose to go next.

Zucker debuted in the role of Nicole in February 1998 and played the part until 2006, when she was written out of the show without an onscreen exit. She returned in 2008 and has been portraying Nicole ever since.

UPDATE: The full article still isn’t officially online, and I’m not a big fan of posting scans of other publications’ work, but in the interview, Zucker expresses annoyance that Shawn Christian was fired (as opposed to choosing to leave the show) and seems to imply that his departure had plenty to do with her own choice to leave. Thoughts… I have them.

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14 Comments on “Actress Out! [Updated]”

  1. underyourwing Says:

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! she has to be the best most natural crier on earth……this sucks.

  2. Michelle Says:

    I’ve hated her story since they broke up Eric and Nicole, but I will miss her. She’s made a lot of dreck work through the years and until recently Nicole was always rootable no matter what crazy thing she did.

    • mykleraus Says:

      Agreed. They’ve really made a mess of her throughline since ending that beautiful Ericole build. I really think they’ve lost the focus of the character in the last year or so, although the core of the Holly story still very much works.

  3. Pat Paquette Says:

    She will be missed. The Deimos storyline never sit well with me. Nicile loved Daniel and Eric who are gentle souls. For her to be with a man like Deimos makes no sense. His charactor is unredeemable. I hope she leaves with Holly. Her portrayal of Nicole was heartfelt. You could see her vulnerability. She will be missed.

    • mykleraus Says:

      This Deimos thing has been so off-kilter. I think they could’ve made it work if either a) they played like her mourning for Daniel clouded her judgment and made her want to cling to any hint of happiness whatsoever or b) Daniel’s death sent her spiraling back into Bad Nicole. But it’s never made any sense onscreen. But I agree — she’s done some tremendous work over the years and has made all sorts of things work.

  4. Simon Parris Says:

    Miley, you put it best in another post on Zucker when you wriote that she has chemistry with whomever she is paired with. An all too rare and highly valuable talent in a soap opera actress. She will be sadly missed. This is one time we can be grateful for how far ahead they shoot the show.

  5. Shea Says:

    It’s no secret I am not a Nicole fan but I think any character who has slept their way through such a large percentage of the town needs a rest. (Maybe she could take Kate with her?) I can still be entertained by her to some degree but I don’t get invested in her story.

    I kinda thought she would be a lifer too. So I have to wonder if all of that Trump crap played a part in her decision?

    Off topic a bit but I couldn’t sleep the other night and wound up watching two Kate Mansi Lifetime movies back the back in the middle of the night. (Unwanted Guest and Boyfriend Killer.) They were both exactly what you expect from Lifetime but I admit that I find those kind of movies to be a bit of a guilty pleasure when I am in the right mood for them…LOL

    • Michelle Says:

      I’ve seen both of those movies as well. Kate seems to have found a niche in playing lunatics. I guess that last year of Abby was practice.

    • mykleraus Says:

      I do think Nicole is sort of used up storywise, at least for now. The baby thing has really been her dominating arc this run, and if she gets Holly, it’s reached its conclusion. I still think it was foolish to waste the Ericole 2.0 build — which would’ve really been her first love story since the original Eric pairing, and could’ve repositioned her and created story for years to come — but since everyone seems to have decided Daniel was her great love instead, whatever. Give the character a good rest.

      I do the same thing with Lifetime movies. If I’m in the mood for something silly and ridiculous, they can hit the spot. I really like Kate Mansi, so I’m curious to see those!


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