Why Jesse Lee Soffer is Primetime's Next Big Thing

There must have been something in the water in Oakdale, Illinois. The fictional burg from CBS Daytime's defunct sudser As The World Turns proved quite the training ground for future film starlets like Julianne Moore, Meg Ryan and Parker Posey.

Now a new generation of ATWT grads are taking Hollywood by storm, including Vampire Diaries hunk Zach Roerig and one of pilot season's most in demand actors for the past few cycles, Jesse Lee Soffer

A month doesn't go by without an item about Soffer being written up on Deadline or The Hollywood Reporter's website. With impressive acting chops and a chiseled, slightly-freckled, alabaster body to go along for the ride, Soffer has booked steady work since vacating the role of Will Munson on the CBS Daytime soap.

Most recently, he's been getting ink and/or HTML code due to his turn as murder victim Travis Alexander in Lifetime's upcoming Jodi Arias biopic, Jodi Arias: Dirty Little Secret. In the flick, premiering Saturday at 8 EST, Soffer stars opposite LOST's Tania Raymonde


Come fall, he'll be debuting on NBC's scorching-hot, primetime soap Chicago Fire, ahead of spinning off to Chicago PD at midseason. Yep, this cat is definitely making daytime proud.


MsAgentProvocateur1's picture
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...and Marisa Tomei, but who's counting Wink

Yes, I miss classic ATWT, dammit! (lol)

When I first read about this movie, I had to laugh because Arias was still on trial but part of me can understand why Lifetime wants to strike while the iron is hot.

Good luck to Jesse Lee Soffer, though.

*okay, I just saw that clip above. Yikes!

SoapArmageddon's picture
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I always thought the kid who played Aaron Snyder, Agim Kaba, would make it big. I wonder what became of him.

Ryan-Scott's picture
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That was one of the things I found about ATWT - in my opinion when the writing quality just wasn't there they always had one hell of an acting ensemble and one of the strongest in daytime.
Little sweetie pie Jesse. Our little baby. Wlll Munson. Barbara and Hal's son. Roger's little brother. Gwynn's husband. He is wonderful.

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Don't forget Billy Magnuson who just came off a Tony nomination for Best Supporting Actor in a Play earlier this month... Innocent

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I saw Billy M. Good for him. He was also in a movie awhile back but the name escapes me. It flashbacked to the 1940's an era which I love. He was good in it.

Actors still on the soaps have always said it is a great training ground. Not all can handle the pace and look good.

blake3b's picture
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Good for Jesse, he's a good actor and deserves this success! I believe he started in the Brady Bunch movies as Bobby, then he went to Guiding Light in the late 90's playing Max for just a few months before the guy from Vampire Diaries replaced him.

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I can't believe a site dedicated to promoting soaps used the following statement: "proved quite the TRAINING GROUND for future film starlets." This sounds like it was written by someone in the mainstream media. Very offensive - by using that term you are basically saying that soaps have no REAL entertainment value - kind of like a neighborhood play.

As Ryan-Scott mentioned, ATWT always had a strong group of actors - very few weak links over the years. The same with TEON - very similar in the way the cast - attractive, but not pretty people, who usually had strong theater background or formal training. ATWT had numerous college graduates - and I believe that played into the maturity and pose of several of the younger set.

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There is no insult in calling soaps a training ground. For many, they are. For some, they are a lifelong career choice. There is absolutely nothing wrong with either path. Doesn't change the fact, though, that they have been a training ground since the early days of the genre's transition to TV.

david46208's picture
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I disagree when soaps are referred to as a training ground it helps to downgrade them from a respectable genre to that of some sort of community theater. And what is worse is that it is the only genre of scripted series, where looks come before talent.

Half the actors we've seen in this genre would not have made it in primetime if they were cast the way they were.

And for some of these vets we've had to suffer through decades of bad acting just to get a few decent performances here and there.

People know who I am talking about Kristan Alfonso, Drake Hogestyn, Ron Moss and Melody Thomas Scott are prime historical examples of this issue overall.

And i'm not sorry for saying that if Melody or Kristan had tried to take Hollywood by storm with their very limited bag of acting tricks, the agent would have sat them down and encouraged them to take up secretarial work.

Drake would never have an acting career if it was not for soaps. In fact he could not understand why he could not get no work when he was written off days in 2009. He was puzzled and bewildered by it.

Hey Molly Burnett would not have made it either! Shemar Moore either! Come on now! Come on!

The agents have turned to soaps as the "send anybody genre..."

Agent: You were a plumber and want to act? Let me get you on a soap.

Plumber: But I have no experience?

Agent: Never did theater?

Plumber: Nope, nothing!

Agent: Every studied Stanislavski?

Plumber: Stanis who...?

Agent: Awww who needs talent to be on a soap opera!?!

Plumber: I want to do movies where I get to blow things up or maybe star in a sitcom.

(Agent laughs profusely)

Agent: Here is what we will do. We'll get you an audition for The Bold and The Beautiful and Days Of Our Lives. Don't speak, just show your chest and pose.

Plumber: But if they ask me to read a script?

Agent: Read it, but it won't matter. You'll figure it out eventually.