A Few Thoughts About the 36th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards

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As of this writing, The 36th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards concluded a few hours ago on The CW and I am awash in mixed emotions after live Twittering the event. I wanted to put down these feelings while they are still fresh but I promise to keep these ruminations brief.

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First, let me offer congratulations to Daytime Confidential'sJamey Giddens, along with TVGuide.ca'sNelson Branco and Soap Opera Digest editor Stephanie Sloane in their debut as commentators during the awards pre-show. Though one could detect a teeny bit of the jitters at various times, they were a class act all the way. I also must give praise to DC's Melodie Aikels, who did a bang up job offering live blog commentary during the pre-show & ceremony.



To that end, I think that our hats really should be off to The CW for airing the show and to Emmy producer Jim Romanovich for producing one of the classiest Daytime Emmy pre-show & awards telecasts in recent memory. The fact is that the network didn't have to pick up the show, regardless of the strange set of factors that made it possible for them to air, despite the fact that the network airs no soaps or other original daytime programming. Sure, the pre-show was awash in blatant, in-your-face promos for The CW's new fall schedule. In my opinion, that is a small price to pay for getting the awards on the air. During the pre-show, Lara Spencer was grating at times, but an enthusiastic sport. Kevin Frazier did an admirable job. The entire endeavor was a pretty well-done, if obviously financially constrained, affair.

As for the awards show itself, Vanessa Williams was an oustanding host who took the ceremony seriously, treated with dignity, looked fabulous and her opening number went over a lot better than its inspiration, Hugh Jackman's recent Oscar night turn. In fact, it was very reminiscent of the hilarious faux-opening for the fictional Daisy Awards that aired on One Life to Live in 1989!

The acceptance speeches were mostly heartfelt & sincere, although someone should tell smug winner Kevin Clash that Guiding Light's 72 years is a lot more impressive than his show's 40. Speaking of which, the tribute to Sesame Street's 40th anniversary was awesome. However why did Thorsten Kaye look like he wanted strangle Elmo? I have little to say about the winners, other than I think almost everyone who won deserved it. The fact that Bob Guza took home the trophy for best writing gave me chuckles to no end. Guza didn't deserve it, but the fallout promises to be entertaining over the next few days. As for none of The Ladies of The View — who finally won! — bothering to show up after literally years of nattering about never winning, I have one thing to say: bitches!

It is clear to me that the producers and production team were determined to put on a real awards show, one that actually celebrated daytime, despite the time and financial constraints put upon them. I actually liked the very brief "fashion show/photo shoot" (no offense to any of the other actresses, but Chrishell Stause, Rebecca Herbst, Bree Williamson and especially Ewa Da Cruz were stunning). Betty White was hysterically funny, appropriately moving and respectful of Guiding Light. I got a kick out of Miss Williams' first singing number.

Where this year's Emmy telecast fell short reveals cracks that were both small and staggering. After the first couple of awards, clips of the nominees were unceremoniously dispensed with and latter categories were rattled off with such astonishing speed that I thought I unwittingly had stumbled on an episode of As the World Turns.

Several award recipients were "played off" way too soon while others were given far too long to speak. They surely could have cut that kid actor acting category, which I don't know if anyone other than their parents were remotely interested in. Moreover, while I'm sure it was stipulated in Ms. Williams contract that she would be allowed to sing two numbers as a way to promote her new album "The Real Thing" (which is wonderful, by the way), the second song smacked of overkill. Even though it a) had nothing to do with daytime and b) it detracted time from two of the evening's most anticipated awards.

The first was the long-awaited tribute to Guiding Light. The longest running dramatic show in the history radio & television is ending a historic 72 year run on Sept. 18 and what did the director/producer do? They cut to commercial in the middle of the cast literally giving their final curtain call. No words from Kim Zimmer or Robert Newman or anyone, just a Sopranos-style cut to black, heaping one final indignity on a show that has lived in the hearts of millions for the better part of the entire history of the broadcast medium. Although GL was recognized and given better tribute than many other soaps that left the airwaves (Another World anyone?), this act of cutting the tribute short was shameful by any measure.

Almost as shameful and no less insulting was how The Bold & the Beautiful wasn't given a few seconds to say thank you before rolling credits. I don't even like B&B and I felt horribly for the show and its cast. Bill Bell, Jr. has toiled on B&B for 22 years and finally won his first best drama award. There should have been some creative thinking that would have allowed him to get at least some words of thanks in if the show ran long, like rolling the credits in a split screen or in the lower thirds instead of cutting B&B out completely. It was wrong on every level.

Mind you, I am well aware that The CW had to keep a tight schedule with its affiliates. The show had to honor its contractual obligations to sponsors and get its promos on air. I do not begrudge them what they have to do as a business or the agreements they have in place; but for God's sake, they rehearse these shows and somebody should have had a tighter reign on things given all the segments they tried to work in. Like every other fan who watched, I was singularly disheartened by these two regrettable decisions regardless of reasons why the director, producer or network made them.

Finally, I would encourage fans who might be unhappy with the show to try to see it in the full context. If the ratings are not sufficient to impress The CW or its advertisers, this could very well be the last telecast of the Daytime Emmys ever. Yes, the cutting of GL's tribute and B&B's acceptance should be roundly criticized, but — in my considered opinion — we should also thank The CW and Mr. Ramonovich for putting on a show that, for the first time in many years, seemed to truly respect daytime as a whole even with the lapses in judgement that accompanied some of the decisions. Beating up on them is certainly not going to make the network or any other amenable to carrying the show in the future.

I think that under the circumstances, the producers & The CW did an overall good job. It's just a pity that Guiding Light and Bold & the Beautiful did not get their full and rightful recognition on what was supposed to be a night of respect & celebration for all of daytime.