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2010 Greggys: The Soap Star of the Year is Eric Sheffer Stevens who invigorated ATWT’s final days

When his character of Dr. Reid Oliver was killed off of As the World Turns shortly before the soap went off the air for good I wrote that I hadn’t been that upset since Bobby Ewing  was killed on Dallas.

The reason we mourned Reid so was not only because he had won the heart of our Luke Snyder, but he was played so deliciously by a very talented actor named Eric Sheffer Stevens.

Stevens brought something very unique to a daytime soap and the soap’s writers knew they had struck gold with the actor and his character. He could be so funny, he could be  such a jerk, he could be very sexy and in the end, he could break our hearts.

The seasoned actor was new to soaps and his chemistry with Van Hansis (Luke) was so crackling that many fans welcomed the split of longtime lovers Luke and Noah (Jake Silbermann) so Luke could be with Reid.

As for Stevens, he gave many thoughtful interviews throughout his glorious nine-month run about the show’s gay storyline.

He said to Michael Fairman’s On Soaps site of Reid’s death in a train vs. car accident: “I feel that it’s the better ending, and it just raises the awareness of it all the more, and to have them interacting with a funeral director… and it’s all about a gay couple.  All the focus then is about the gay couple and how they love each other, and how it should be easier to take care of Reid’s remains and effects.  But they are not married, but they are a couple and they are not quite being treated the same way, as if they were a straight couple.  That is all good stuff, but not satisfying stuff.   But, to have the couple be the focus of everybody’s conversation and grieving, I can’t think but that helps bring awareness to gay couples.”

Eric isn’t sure what he would have wanted to have happen storyline-wise for Luke and Reid had the show continued but he said: “I was interested in seeing how they were developing the relationship and where it was going to lead them.  I would love to see them date and have Reid open up some more, like Katie said he was finally doing at the end.   And, see him in a relationship, and get really close with Luke, and showing them living together.  And Luke is a man now, so whoever Luke would end up with, even if later down the line the Reid relationship didn’t work out, that is the next step… to show him with somebody, and living with him, and being a proper couple as adults.”

The show is now long gone but if there is any justice, Eric will have a lot more than a Greggy Award to show for it: This man deserves to win a 2011 Daytime Emmy Award!

FILE UNDER: Awards, Daytime TV


(All comments are reviewed before being published, and I review submissions several times per day.)

23 Remarks

  1. Great choice Greg! ESS took me totally by surprise and pulled me right in. Even at ATWT’s low points, this character and ESS portrayal of him glued me to my tv set every day he was on. Even though more than three months have passed, I still miss watching ESS and VH.

  2. Perfectly said! Eric was most definately the breakout star and soap star of this year! The fearless commitment and chemistry that both Eric and Van brought to LuRe, I think if it were to have been left up to them to portray their characters freely and realistically, the Luke & Reid love story would have most definately been profoundly groundbreaking!

    Totally agree that Eric deserves to win a 2011 Daytime Emmy…so does Van!

  3. Greg – ESS was a definite find for the American daytime soap industry. It’s just shameful that ATWT waited so long to create a character like that for Luke (and the viewing audience) to see in fictional Oakdale, IL.

    ESS has gained a lifelong fan out of this particular viewer.

  4. Eric definitely deserves the emmy- no doubt about it. If it weren’t for Reid ATWT would have lost me last winter- I couldn’t turn it off once Eric showed up. Reid and Lukes love story kept me watching until the very bitter end, Although I thought the ending was awful- the story itself was the only thing ATWT did right in the last year- and that was all about Eric and Van. Eric was an absolute find- I wish they had found him much sooner.

  5. I absolutely agree. Eric Sheffer Stevens got me to try US daytime again, after abandoning it for UK and German soaps. He was the best thing about ATWT in its last days.

    I interviewed Eric a few weeks back, and he talked a bit about his time on ATWT, if anyone’s interested. The relevant portion is in Part Three; all four parts are on my blog.

  6. December 22nd, 2010 at 12:21 pm
    Karen (limeybird2) says:

    ESS was the main reason i watched the show when it was announced it was being canceled. i had long since stopped watching the Nuke story, i didn’t like Noah & i didn’t like how they had Noah treat Luke, but with adding this character to the show it energized the show & i saw such great acting from both ESS & Van Hansis that they made the characters of Luke & Reid real & it didn’t feel like i was watching a soap opera, it felt like i was watching my 2 best friends.

  7. He won Luke’s heart and ours. Excellent choice in naming ESS the soap star of the year. I became a LuRe fan because of the great relationship these 2 characters shared and the chemistry the two actors shared as well.

  8. Agreed! Eric is like nothing seen on daytime before. He gave many of us laughs, tears and dropped jaws for nine fan-frickin-tastic months and should be recognized for that. Thank you!

  9. eric was definitely a breath of fresh air on atwt. he and van hansis, crackled, as you said and they were a delight and a joy to watch. to get someone of erics caliber on the show was the best thing to happen to atwt and the soap community in general, in years. if he had been hired a year or even six months earlier i truly believe the show would never have been cancelled. the ratings were going up and luke and reid were the couple to watch. eric and van were also number one and two respectively in the polls the last few weeks. you are also right that eric deserves an emmy for his portrayal as does van. their acting together was stellar and incomparable from day one. i really miss them, but i look forward to seeing where the future takes them.

  10. Agreed! I wasn’t in favor of the Luke/Noah breakup, and I still loved Reid — the best character to come along in soaps in years, maybe ever. Can’t think of anyone who more instantaneously became the reason many people watched a show, and all credit for that goes to the brilliant Sheffer Stevens.

  11. I couldn’t agree with you more. It’s a shame that the Daytime Emmy’s don’t have a newcomer or breakthrough character category, because Eric Sheffer Stevens was the best find of the year. I also think he was the best new character that As The World Turns had in at least the last three or four years.

  12. Van Hansis is the one who should win the Emmy Award 2011. Van Hansis did the best work on ATWT. Watch the scenes of Luke being angry toward Reid after Naoh’s surgery. Van Hansis was at his best. And watch the scenes of Luke crying over Reid’s death and watch the scenes of Luke mourning Reid. Watch all those scenes and you’ll see that Stevens didn’t do the half of what Van Hansis did: convey emotions and play his character with so much beauty and realism. In the Luke and reid scenes, Van shines everytime. Van Hansis is the actor of the year and is the one who should win the award.

  13. Eric Sheffer Stevens was an amazing addition to ATWT. Too bad he came on the show so late. He is an incredible actor!!!! He was the best thing to come to daytime in a long long time… I look forward to seeing what the future has in store for him.

  14. Greg: it seems that you may be voicing the opinions of many including myself! I returned to ATWT when the cancellation was announced and stayed because of ESS (and his interactions with VH). Someone said that they as a couple were sexy but sexless, TRUE, and another has quoted the late Helen Wagner as saying that real passion and feeling can sometimes be derived from the acting, the implied and not necessarily from sex for the sake of sex which is often times downfall of daytime drama. It would have been nice for the couple to have consummated their relationship but that is another issue altogether as is the craptastic way the couple was treated at the end.
    ESS and VH crackled, sizzled and I agree with others who say that ESS was something not seen in daytime in a very long while. Everybody had to bring their game when in a scene with him and still he could manage to steal the show. He was an absolute pleasure to watch on screen, I miss him and look forward to what is in store next in his career.

  15. ESS was absolutely the only reason I continued to watch ATWT after they announced it was to be canceled. I never cared for Luke and Noah and would fast forward any scences with the two. It was impossible to look away when Luke and Reid were on the screen. I miss them!

  16. I’m so glad Eric is getting the recognition he deserves. It was due to his talent that Reid Oliver, the snarky doctor with a big heart, became so loved by fans. I was new to ATWT; I started watching about a year before the show was cancelled. Van Hansis caught my attention right away and when Eric Sheffer Stevens showed up I couldn’t stop watching. Their love story was a classic soap love story, which is part of what made it so enjoyable. But the chemistry between VH and ESS is what really made me a fan and drew me to their story. I was crushed when Reid “died” and Luke was left alone. I would give anything to see these two actors on a show together again, even if they weren’t Luke and Reid. I could watch them together for years and be happy. I am a fan of them both for life and I look forward to seeing what’s in store for them in the future.

  17. Couldn’t agree more! He was the only thing that kept me from fast-forwarding through episodes!

  18. Totally agree–ESS is an amazing talent. I wish we had more time with him but I am so grateful for the nine months of his rich, surprising, multi-layered performance as Reid. I really hope that this role opens up lots of opportunities for ESS and alerts writers and producers to the fact that we appreciate and adore complex gay characters.

  19. i dont think they should have taking the show off it was a great show. and i liked erics part as dr reid oliver him and luke were meant for each. i hope to see him on other soap and van to

  20. you are right this man eric sheffer stevens deserve to win 2011 emmy award this give all the emmy’s to him

  21. December 25th, 2010 at 1:27 pm
    Mike Griffin says:

    Because of Eric Sheffer Stevens, I too fell in love with Reid. I cried all day when they aired the episode where he dies. Van Hansis broke my heart, brilliantly portraying the shock and pain of Luke’s grief. I miss them both, but I must confess that I miss Reid most of all. I haven’t yet worked through my own grief, mourning the end of their poetic relationship and the loss of the incomparable character Sheffer Stevens created.

    It was so refreshing, after seeing ridiculous pairings in countless crappy “gay” movies, to see a couple truly in love. I wish them both the best in their future endeavors, and they both have a fan in me for life…especially the uber talented and very sexy Eric Sheffer Stevens!

  22. ESS and Van Hansis had the most amazing chemistry I have EVER seen between any two people. The closest was Tony Geary and Jeannie Francis back in the 70′s. LuRe is my absolute all-time favorite couple. I was simply mesmerized by every scene they were in and could easily watch them just sitting next to each other on the sofa and talking and be totally happy. The ending given these characters was just not acceptable to the fans. Maybe Margo could have died and given her heart to Chris and THAT would have been good, but you don’t kill off the super couple at the end of the run….

  23. I agree with everything that ESS said in his interview except one fact. The Luke and Reid ending was the worst ever ending in soap history. It did not make sense at all. The writer, producer, and sponsorer would never have treated a straight couple with that horrendous ending. It was an out and out homophobic ending. There was nothing heroic about it, it was 100% discrimination of gay people. After 15 months of ATWT going off the air, loyal fans are still mad that Luke and Reid were not given a happy end while every straight couple on the show ended happy. Some of us have felt betrayed of our time and investment; and have lost faith in shows where gay SL are concerned.

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