Sources say that two-time Emmy winner Jennifer Landon (Gwen Norbeck) and Emmy nominee Jesse Soffer (Will Munson) are leaving As the World Turns in early 2008. The talented duo joined the cast in 2005 and 2004, respectively, to become Oakdale's youngest supercouple.
While there is no official confirmation from the show, an insider tells soap
that Jennifer Landon
) and Jesse Soffer
) will exit As the World Turns sometime before spring. The pair's exits are a potentially huge hit to a show that has just recently started to see a ratings rebound.
Soffer joined the show in September 2004, signing on to play the downtrodden Will Munson. He is the fourth actor to play Will, but the first to take on the character as a teenager and young adult. When Soffer took over, he brought Will into a new stage of his life by dealing with his character's responsibility for Rose's death, and his reintroduction to life in Oakdale after being incarcerated in a mental hospital.
When Landon first appeared on As the World Turns in March 2005, her work as Gwen was originally expected to be a one-shot deal. Fans took to the character quickly and show executives liked Landon so much that the actress was given a long-term contract. By the time Landon returned full-time in May 2005, Will was already envisioned as an potential love interest for the spunky Gwen Norbeck. Gwen was introduced as a down-on-her-luck emancipated teen, impregnated by Will's best friend, Casey. When Will began to help Gwen through her pregnancy, their shared struggle brought Will back to life, and their characters eventually became a favorite young couple for fans to root for. In 2007, Landon took on the challenge of playing Gwen's look-a-like, Cleo Babbitt, whose time ended on the show after Will foiled Cleo's plot to kill Gwen and take over her life. Together, Will and Gwen faced meddling mothers, murderous stalkers, miscarriages, and infidelity.
Despite being veritable newcomers to acting when the joined ATWT, both actors quickly racked up numerous accolades for their work. Among the honors are Landon's two Outstanding Younger Actress Emmys in 2006 and 2007. For his part, Soffer received nominations for Outstanding Younger Actor in the same years.
Landon and Soffer taped their final scenes in February and had their on-screen exit on April 4th.
A spokesperson for As the World Turns states that it is not the show's policy to discuss contracts.
Photo Credit: Greg Weiner/PGP