The 40th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards took place on Sunday, June 16 at the Beverly Hills Hotel, Los Angeles, with the prestigious event completely sold out. It’s hard to describe the Daytime Emmy experience other than to say it’s an exhilarating whirlwind marathon! I was lucky enough to snag a spot on the red carpet finally representing the fans that work so hard to keep the genre alive.
Chairman of The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Malachy Wienges conveyed his excitement in honoring the 40th Anniversary of the historic ceremony in a press release. “Daytime television is well and prospering as witnessed by this overwhelming turnout honoring the best that television can be. Working with our production and broadcasting partners, LocoDistro and the HLN Network, we’ve delivered an evening that truly honors the outstanding work that happens day in and day out across all the genres that make up the Daytime viewer experience.”
It was a star-studded event to be sure, with some legendary actors on hand to assist in presenting, including Carrie Fisher, who awarded George Lucas an Emmy for Star Wars: The Clone Wars. In another amazing moment, Betty White awarded game show producer Bob Stewart a Lifetime Achievement Award, and Wayne Brady presented a Lifetime Achievement Award to famed game show host Monty Hall, the original host of the hit game Let’s Make A Deal.
HLN broadcast the ceremony for the second year in a row and working with NATAS, and brought a memorable experience to the audience. Celebrating its milestone 40th Anniversary this years’ theme was “Past, Present, and Future” as the Academy honored and acknowledged the evolution of daytime television.
I had the opportunity to speak with the Daytime Emmys Executive Producers David Michaels and Dave Levine, who dubbed the awards show the “greatest talk show ever.” And indeed it was. With 28 talk shows currently in production, Levine thought of a way to not only showcase the best of talk TV, but also give award winners the opportunity to elaborate on their wins. So after their acceptance speeches, winners were immediately ushered into a spontaneous interview conducted by talk show hosts, including Giada De Laurentiis, Sheryl Underwood, Julie Chen, Sam Champion, and A.J. Hammer. It was a historic twist to the Awards broadcast, the first time it had ever been done this way.
This year, the Daytime Emmys added a social media dimension by way of a Social Media DJ from Red Touch Media, who manned a Twitter command station from the ballroom. Leading the way into the 21st Century of social media, this was the first major awards show to utilize Twitter, and the fans appreciated it. In the coming years, social media will continue to gain importance in advertising, building, and interacting with audiences, whether for entertainment, business or personal reasons.
In a touching moment, Corbin Bernson, son of the late legendary soap diva Jeanne Cooper, who spent 40 years on The Young and the Restless, acknowledged his mother’s passing alongside Jeanne fellow cast mate Jess Walton. Both introduced the In Memoriam segment and it was clear just how many souls she touched while allowing us to watch her in our living rooms year in and year out.
The Bold and the Beautiful snagged the most wins at four, while Days of Our Lives, General Hospital and The Young and the Restless each garnered two. After one previous nomination in the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series and a whopping total of fifteen, as well as four previous wins, Heather Tom (Katie Logan, B&B) garnered the golden award. Later she told press she couldn’t even gather her thoughts for the off-stage interview!
After 38 long years, Days of Our Lives finally took the win for Outstanding Drama Series. Co-Executive Producer Greg Meng described things behind the scenes, “[It’s] been very busy, it’s all happening, it’s going very, very well,” he told me on the Red Carpet. Days is the only soap that films four months in advance and he explained the reasoning behind it. “We tape seven to eight shows a week, so even though production is crazy, it’s funny everything piggy backs on top of that pace.” He went on to describe, “We have to tape seven or eight shows a week for financial reasons, so it catches up with us. We have a lot of dark weeks over the year so everyone can catch their breath, but the writers have to continually be thinking, so it’s an amazing feat for them.”