If your only wish this Christmas is a complete turnaround for Days of our Lives' Nicole, you're in luck: Her portrayer, Arianne Zucker, shares that the previously roadblocked character will be given brand new ways to shine in 2016. The actress sat down with Soap Central during the show's recent Day of Days fan event and opened up about the twists ahead as well as how the behind-the-scenes changes have left her with her jaw open.
soapcentral.com: This has been such an exciting time for Days of our Lives. The show has great ratings, great storylines, great characters, and great events happening. What has been the highlight for you in the last few months of all of this?
Arianne Zucker: Watching the change! I'm fascinated with how different it is, and I just said the other day to one of my bosses that I literally feel like I'm working on a different show. It's really educational, too, to watch it and watch how much change we've been through since the time I started -- from network television being it, to cable, all these changes, and now everyone is watching shows on their phones. And what we've had to do to stay current has been fascinating to watch. Some ideas were great, some ideas were not, and this one happens to be great. Now we're watching the ratings go up, and we're going, "Wow." And the number of fans that have shown up at our events this year? It's been an unbelievable feeling.
soapcentral.com: In all of the good is the bad news that Shawn Christian is leaving just as Daniel and Nicole have come together in a strong, romantic way. How do you think his exit will affect Nicole?
Zucker: I haven't seen anything official on that yet, so I'm not really saying much about that right now.
soapcentral.com: You have new writers, and there have been definite changes on-screen. Have you noticed whether or not Nicole is being written differently? For example, is she being presented with different scenarios or choices in life?
Zucker: Yeah, I think my character was kind of stuck for a couple of years. I think she was stuck on an apology tour for forever, and she was getting blamed for everything. And she was definitely in transition from bad girl to a better version. And now I think we're in that land now where the writers are trying to figure out what to do and how to make this character something bigger, stronger -- something! So the transition I'm seeing now is she's still carrying her strength, her love, but we'll gain that edge back. We like Nicole's edge! But it will be done differently. It won't be a redo of what we've seen before.
soapcentral.com: Have you found any of the new material to be challenging?
Zucker: Oh, yes! My character is such a challenge anyway. I don't have any family on the show anymore, and I always have to make sure that the fans either love to hate me or want to see me succeed or want me happy or something so I don't get painted into a corner. I feel that a lot, especially when I had to steal Sami's (Alison Sweeney) baby. I was like, "Oooohhhh, my God. How do you recover from that?" But it worked, and we were able to create this storyline and hold it together, and it really worked out. So I learned to really sit down and take the time to find out how fans will be affected. I never say, "My character would never do that." I say, "How will the fans be affected by what I do, the choice that I make." Something might be written on the page, and I may not agree with it, so I try to put an emotional line under it so somebody picks that up!
soapcentral.com: As you said, it's so rare that a character doesn't have any family on the canvas, at least for as long as Nicole has...
Zucker: And no children! After 18 years, you'd think I'd have a baby, at least. [laughs] There are all these teenagers on the show now, and I'm like, "Not one of these are mine?!"
What would you like to see for Nicole in 2016? What kind of storyline do you think could highlight the character’s soon-to-return edge in a fun way? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.