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.”
Veteran Peggy McKay, who has played Caroline Brady on Days since the 1980s, answered fan Bonnie’s question, “How do you keep your character fresh after so many years and maintain it?” “It depends on what’s happening, also we get really wonderful writers, keeps refreshing the characters and enlarges it and that makes me happy, gives it more colors to play.”
Suzanne Rogers (Maggie Horton, DOOL) spoke about working with legendary MacDonald Carey (Tom Horton) and Francis Reed (Alice Horton) and how they impacted her career. “They were wonderful teachers and great mentors. They took me under their wing, helped me because I was very young and didn’t have any experience in this genre. I had done musicals on Broadway, a dancer and hadn’t done this so they were very helpful to me and I owe them a lot.”
Tall drink of water James Scott (EJ DiMera)
said he liked the fact the DiMera’s were brought back into the Days of Our Lives fold. Initially he did not know who Stefano DiMera was and spoke about when he learned he would be playing the infamous villain’s son. “When I came on the show, Steve Wyman who was the executive producer, I said to him well what sort of homework or research should I do to find out more about this character? He said nothing. Don’t do anything at all. We want you coming in knowing nothing. After about a week he told me you’re going to be Stefano DiMera’s son. I didn’t really know what that meant. It was interesting. I had no idea what a powerful presence that family had on the show for such a long time. It was a great privilege to be brought in to sort of rekindle that family on the show.”
Kate Mansi, who was cast three years ago as Supercouple Jack (Matthew Ashford) and Jennifer Devereux’s (Melissa Reeves) daughter Abigail, spoke about working with the popular duo. “I was really lucky to work with both of them and Missy is such a terrific actress. She’s just like a quintessential mother which has been awesome, having a lot of fun working with them.”
Then it was time for soap fan Tracy Goodwin’s question, “Which soap title resembles your real life?” After thinking a moment Kate answered, “I would say it is the Bold and the Beautiful, Young and Restless, Days of my life.” Soap hunk Shawn Christian (Dr. Daniel Jonas) described his character’s role in the Jack and Jennifer dynamic, “Jennifer and Jack were a Supercouple, so I thought pretty much I was the third wheel to a Supercouple is what I felt.” He went on to say, “Missy Reeves is a talented actress, very real, she’s a very grounded actress, so when you work with her that’s what you get, so you run with it. I’ve had the good fortune to share those moments with her [on the show], obviously a very rocky road.”
Soap fan Sharon M. wanted to know his craziest soap fan moment. “It was when I was punched in the stomach in New York City. I was walking down the street and this woman said ‘I know who you’re sleeping with, I know you sleeping with her’. She was pretty engaged in the storyline and felt I should be out of this woman’s bed.” According to Camila Banus (Gabi Hernandez) things have been very busy for her character. “It’s been crazy the last couple of months, as fans know Gabi gave birth, now broke up with Nick. It’s been a little bit crazy but it wouldn’t be fun if it wasn’t, you know what I mean? It keeps us on our toes and keeps the fans surprised and we love it.”
Doug Davidson (Paul Williams, Y&R), who won top honors in the Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series, was overwhelmed by the incredible support from his cast-mates, and as to whether or not he’ll have a love interest, “We’re waiting to see what the budget is.” General Hospital’s ex-Lulu Spencer Falconeri, Julie Marie Berman won for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series, and during her press Q&A expressed how much she misses her former cast mates, including leading man Dominic Zamprogna, who played Lulu’s love interest Dante Falconeri since 2009. While she admitted her decision to leave was to spread her wings and get her feet wet in other projects, when asked if there was anything on the horizon she said her calendar was wide open, actress for hire! Scott Clifton (Liam Spencer, BB) and Billy Miller (YR) tied for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series, neither minded sharing the honors.
However, the two winners dubbed the Prince and Princess of the Daytime Emmys this year were Days of Our Lives’ Chandler Massey (Will Brady) and General Hospital’s Kristen Alderson (Star Manning/Kiki Jerome).
Chandler said he was giving his golden statue to his grandfather this year, after giving last years’ trophy to his father due to their influence his life, as well as career. His contract ends in December and it sounds like he’s pretty much decided to go back to college to get his degree. At this point it doesn’t appear he’ll re-sign. Asked how he chose his scenes to submit in his Emmy reel, he proudly announced his mother had that honor.
Kristen was gushing after officially giving a shout out to new beau and co-star Chad Duell (Michael Corinthos III) during her acceptance speech. She elaborated in the press room and explained they became best friends last year and although they were concerned about taking the next step, she describe they just really fit well together. Ecstatic to have finally won after 15 years portraying darling Star Manning on One Life To Live, she didn’t have enough good things to say about her ex-cast mates and was really overwhelmed by the win. She informed the pressroom that she watched the new version online and is kind of sad she’s not there because it looks like they’re having a really good time with it.
Asked about working with Roger Howarth playing the role of his daughter again, she described that because they know each other so well, they are working hard to really make Franco and Kiki very unfamiliar. One of the things she loves about working with Roger for so many years, is the unpredictable spontaneity and the fact she never knows exactly what he’s going to do once the cameras roll. Both Roger and Trevor St. John work like that so it is very challenging. One of the biggest things Kris has learned over the years from Roger is to trust her instincts in how she wants to play a scene, as well as stand up for herself. In closing she told everyone to plan on seeing her golden statute all over the internet, on YouTube, and anywhere she can possibly post it!
The entire night was full of great memories and our daytime actors shined brightly as they always do. Who says soap operas are dead? For a complete list of Emmy Winners, go to HLN’s site.
RHeart Radio will do a complete recap of the red carpet, daytime stars wins, style and fan reactions Friday June 21, 2013 at 10:00 p.m. (ET).