Did Richard Simmons and a “Campy” Nurses’ Ball Hurt General Hospital’s Daytime Emmy Chances?

General Hospital being shut out of the major Daytime Emmy races this year caused veteran soap opera journalist Carolyn Hinsey to put on her investigative cap. Here's a snippet of what she unconvered during a conversation with the telecast's executive producer David Michaels:

Carolyn: What’s your reaction to GH being shut out of the big categories?

David: I’ve got to admit I was shocked. It’s so difficult to watch so many great GH episodes throughout the year, and then have them not nominated. But I am very happy for the Prospect Park group. All My Children was very good, as well. I don’t know why they weren’t nominated, either.

Carolyn: GH submitted the Nurses’ Ball, and I know I’m not supposed to repeat this but some judges told me it was too campy. One even said, “Richard Simmons lost them the nomination.” Can you comment on that?

David: I shouldn’t [laughs]! All I can say is that a lot of the people who voted in that category don’t watch soaps – and the ones that do don’t watch all the episodes. Any entertainment professional can vote in the lead program categories. If they follow the rules, they are supposed to judge purely by the episode(s) submitted – not by the shows they may have watched all year. I realize that’s a little bit like the jury being told to “disregard that statement” but those are the instructions.

I found Richard Simmons' antics at the Nurses' Ball (an event fans begged to see return for years) hysterical. However, I wouldn't have submitted anything involving him for Daytime Emmy consideration.
Don't even ask me how Prospect Park's knock-off version of One Life to Live managed to push GH out of the Oustanding Drama Series and Outstanding Directing categories. I might quibble about what GH submitted, but OLTL was a shell of itself online, whereas All My Children had its best season in a decade. Then again, it's all about the submissions. OLTL put up "Give Me Shelter", which was a decent episode.

In the writing category, GH submitted Robin (Kimberly McCullough) back from the dead, and at the church for Patrina's wedding. This was a great, sudsy moment (Mommy?!), but perhaps too sudsy?

The return from the dead is the most tried-and-true of soap tropes. Voters have seen it a million times.

Days of Our Lives had a sudsy-yet-powerful submission with the church house reveal of Kristen (Eileen Davidson) having raped Father Eric (Greg Vaughan). While DAYS can still boast a smidge of late James E. Reilly's camp from time to time—which I appreciate them for—the vileness of Kristen's acts weren't played for hijinks in 2013, like they were a decade and a half ago.  

As much as I hated The Young and the Restless killing off Cordelia Abbott, I knew it would lead to a slew of nominations. Years ago, an insider told me Daytime Emmy voters detest anything too "soapy". They look for reels that are more akin to primetime and film. Love her or hate her, Jill Farren Phelps knows how to pick good reels.

So does Bradley Bell. We used to gripe here at Daytime Confidential that Bell only told one serious story a year, in order to have something for Daytime Emmy submission time. That wasn't the case last year. The Bold and the Beautiful was on fire all season, and Bell's Brooke vs. Katie-centric picks were a testament to that fact.

Of course, any soap blogger can play Monday morning quarterback, but I wish GH had selected submissions involving Sonny's (Maurice Benard) meltdown at Morgan (Bryan Craig) and Kiki's (Kristen Alderson) wedding party. Those scenes, featuring Morgan exploding on his father for always loving older brother Michael (Chad Duell) more, were some of the most well-acted, gritty, biblical sequences in soaps last year. Big, splashy, fun moments are a treat for fans, but apparently don't digest well among Daytime Emmy voters.



30 Responses

  1. Profile photo of Camp is not a sustainable model
    Camp is not a sustainable model

    MC Phelps: I got the Emmy reel minus touch/That’s why my noms keep going up/Y&R is leading the pack/No writing no drama/GH reel pickers is whack/Richard Simmons was your Emmy reel pick?!/When I was at the helm/That would never stick/See you gotta to understand how the game is played/This is Monopoly/Not Chutes and Ladder/Due to my experience/My award chest is fatter/Next time you want to pick a reel/Ask yourself what would Jill Farren Phelps do?/Put your glasses on and find the clues/But until then/I’m going to keep winning this game/Going through the reels/frame by frame

    From the forth coming album Who Killed Frankie Frame
    Now as I have said time and time again, Camp is not a sustainable model. But in this case, it proves that even judges don’t want to see that type of mess coming before them. Yet, Ron and Frank summed up what GH has been under their tenure with such a campy reel.

    And I remember when Days could not get no love. Now they are appearing on the list year after year.

    Ye, how the mighty has fallen!

  2. Profile photo of nysam

    If GH wanted more noms they should have followed these 10 easy steps from Douglas Marland. Marland knew how to write successful shows.

    Team Cartoony broke too many rules…


    1) Watch the show.

    2) Learn the history of the show. You would be surprised at the ideas that you can get from the back story of your characters.

    3) Read the fan mail. The very characters that are not thrilling to you may be the audience’s favorites.

    4) Be objective. When I came in to ATWT, the first thing I said was, what is pleasing the audience? You have to put your own personal likes and dislikes aside and develop the characters that the audience wants to see.

    5) Talk to everyone; writers and actors especially. There may be something in a character’s history that will work beautifully for you, and who would know better than the actor who has been playing the role?

    6) Don’t change a core character. You can certainly give them edges they didn’t have before, or give them a logical reason to change their behavior. But when the audience says, “He would never do that,” then you have failed.

    7) Build new characters slowly. Everyone knows that it takes six months to a year for an audience to care about a new character. Tie them in to existing characters. Don’t shove them down the viewers’ throats.

    8. If you feel staff changes are in order, look within the organization first. P&G [Procter & Gamble] does a lot of promoting from within. Almost all of our producers worked their way up from staff positions, and that means they know the show.

    9) Don’t fire anyone for six months. I feel very deeply that you should look at the show’s canvas before you do anything.

    10) Good soap opera is good storytelling. It’s very simple.

    How many of these pointers has Cartoony broken in their 2 years at GH? A bunch.

    The rules on “How Not To Wreck A Show” were published in the April 27, 1993, issue of SOAP OPERA DIGEST and they were the rules of one of the greatest writers of daytime, Mr. Douglas Marland (GH, LOVING, GL, ATWT.

  3. Profile photo of FoxCrane

    [quote=Marland Fan]Cartini are the worst at picking Emmy submissions.[/quote]

    Yeah, I think they received the same criticism when they submitted the campy Fraternity Row episode (for OLTL) and didn’t garner a nom.

    Long-term fans might appreciate and love these type of episodes, but many judges will just roll their eyes and won’t ‘get’ it (nor should they be expected to – imho).

  4. Profile photo of kintex

    Are you kidding me? way to pass the buck here. This has nothing to do with Richard Simmons and everything to do with what Ron & Frank consider Emmy worthy. I posted yesterday if GH ever wants to win again it needs to keep these two away from choosing what they submit. These are the same guys who submitted the Fraternity Row show for OLTL out of all the good stuff they had written. Fraternity Row!!! They love and live for camp and don’t get that its not what Emmys are about. There were other shows they could have submitted for GH but they chose not to. It had nothing to do with Richard Simmons.

  5. Profile photo of Camp is not a sustainable model
    Camp is not a sustainable model

    MC Phelps: Love me or hate me/Jill Farren Phelps comes through/Soaps around the world/I came back for you

    From the forth coming album Who Killed Frankie Frame
    I like what Days and Y&R picked. I don’t know what AMC submitted. But damn. I think GH actors may fair better though.

  6. Profile photo of wilco617

    Which episode was “Give me Shelter?” I checked OLTL on Hulu and none of the episodes had that title. Was is one of the last episodes with Clint’s meltdown? Because that was when OLTL 2.0 was beginning to actually pick up (I was so excited for season 2).

    I can completely understand why the Nurse’s Ball episodes would not win GH a nomination. Fans may have been happy (I know I was) but I will admit they do not have a mainstream/award-bait appeal. Agreed, they should have gone for the Morgan/Kiki wedding reveal.

  7. Profile photo of Trish8148

    Days submitted 5/30/2013 (Nick confessing he was rape, Kristen vs. Marlena post first wedding blow up) and 11/8/2013 AKA sex tape playing at the wedding. I think they winning.

  8. Profile photo of GHFan777

    The Nurses Ball was just one of many “campy” shows last year. They serve up camp on a regular basis. I don’t care for it either. I want love, romance, mystery, intrigue, family, deceit and surprises. I want a reason to care about tuning in, because I am interested in the characters, not empty ploys. These ploys lack substance, and are used strictly for shock value. That gets old quickly.

  9. Profile photo of pferrando

    It seems the “camp” moments/scenes/stories are the ones that everyone raves about.

    You’d think that the panel would have some who also would appreciate it.

    I’m confused by the fan backlash currently about GH.

    Too much now? Over the top has gotten old?

  10. Profile photo of pumpkin

    oltl/amc were good online. That is all I can say. I liked them better than the tv versions. I like watching hulu plus at my leisure. It is the way I watch tv. I am so disappointed they are not still there.

    I would not blame Richard Simmons. The submission makes or breaks a show.

  11. Profile photo of liason4real

    Sadly, the only time that RC/FV turned in good Emmy material was when Asa died in 2007 and RC won for Best Writing. I used to blame Frons over the years for the crappy material submitted for OLTL, but it is now obvious that RC/FV don’t have an effing clue on what Emmy voters want to see on their reels.

  12. Profile photo of snizzle

    Camp is fine in small doses especially good to mix in when some of the storytelling gets a bit serious. The Labines were good at mixing in some campy Lucy stuff in the midst of all their serious s/l’s. But GH is just one big campy joke these days. RC needs to submit his material to the Soup because that’s where most of it fits..not the emmies.

  13. Profile photo of The_Moustache

    are we seriously blaming the fab/flaw-free Richard Simmons for GH going down the drain?? the only person who is responsible for GH tanking is Ron Cartooni.


  14. Profile photo of njtaurian

    I wouldn’t be surprised. Team Cartini is notorious for submitting subpar episodes for the big prize! Their years on OLTL were universally praised as the best soap on daytime but b/c of episode selection, OLTL was almost ALWAYS left out of the writing and drama categories!

  15. Profile photo of Cornfed

    [quote=pferrando]I’m confused by the fan backlash currently about GH. Too much now? Over the top has gotten old?[/quote]

    The entire Michelle and Emmy threads will give you enuf info as to WHY GH fans are severely disheartened and disgusted with its current direction…

    Loving the moustache’s posts today, ROFT! Feeling feisty aren’t we LOL

  16. Profile photo of jeremy in chicago
    jeremy in chicago

    Not Richard Simmons’ fault – but definitely Ron and Frank’s. The Nurses’ Ball is awful. They submitted the High School Musical CRAP on OLTL and got snubbed that year, too. You think they would learn.

    DAYS will win with those submissions. I could even see a Days sweep in the major categories because Nick’s rape is much more “legit” writing than Days usually submits. Days deserves it. Those episodes were mind-blowing.

    WAIT UP… did Blake Berris get snubbed? Goddamn he was BRILLIANT last year.

  17. Profile photo of logan_echolls

    I love that Richard Simmons gif!!!!

    Even though the Robin church scene was good, don’t they judge the WHOLE episode? So just because a couple of scenes of Robin/Emma/Patrick was good but what about the rest of the episode? The rest of that episode wasn’t that good.

    I can’t believe they submitted the Richard Simmons scene. That is stupid. It also proves that apparently there wasn’t much good stuff to submit.

  18. Profile photo of

    I think people are misreading the title of the post. It’s blaming Richard Simmons in a tongue-and-cheek way because his scenes were the campy pinnacle of the episode, but yes, technically, it was TPTB’s fault for submitting it.

  19. Profile photo of appleridge

    [quote=wilco617]Which episode was “Give me Shelter?” I checked OLTL on Hulu and none of the episodes had that title. Was is one of the last episodes with Clint’s meltdown? Because that was when OLTL 2.0 was beginning to actually pick up (I was so excited for season 2).

    I can completely understand why the Nurse’s Ball episodes would not win GH a nomination. Fans may have been happy (I know I was) but I will admit they do not have a mainstream/award-bait appeal. Agreed, they should have gone for the Morgan/Kiki wedding reveal.[/quote]

    Not sure what OLTL submitted for Best show but for Directing it was the premiere episode and Kelley Missal submitted episode 3

  20. Profile photo of salem1975

    Wow, with those two submissions DAYS could easily win the Emmy for the second year in a row. Those two episodes were spectacular and they chose precisely the best episodes of 2013. My only shock is that Blake Berris did not get a supporting actor nod for his performance on May 30 when Nick reveals to Maggie that he was raped.

  21. Profile photo of brettyboy

    I’m not taking the Daytime Emmys seriously this year, if they have to judge them on a couple of episodes and the judges don’t even like soaps what is the point?

    GH was a million times better than OLTL, the whole thing is a joke.

    I also disagree with you about B&B Jamey, it’s had its moments but there’s still way too much focus on Hope’s love life.

  22. Profile photo of stoney07

    I would say much less Richard Simmons, much more just because the show sux. HEHE.

    Let me stop. IDK what it was. Perhaps I’m just not the only one who doesn’t find the appeal of RC. I just can’t.

  23. Profile photo of nysam

    @brettyboy….you aren’t taking them seriously this year? You do know that the voting this year is the same style of voting they have been following for years?

    GH used to always get a bunch of noms in the past. I do believe that GH is the most awarded soap in daytime history. Obviously, this year something was off for most voters not to consider it worthy of nominations. DAYS and B&B were great this year so something must be working for them to get noms. DAYS for years has struggled to get recognition from the Emmy’s.

    I would suggest if Emmy Awards are important to the GH team then maybe they should look at what they need to do to get recognized. Valentini and Cartini have been in the business long enough to know the rules. They can choose to make shows and choose episodes that will appeal to Academy voters or not.

  24. Profile photo of SoapStud70

    Awards mean squat to me. Its usually just a popularity contest among the voters and doesn’t always match with what viewers like or what I personally think is good work. Emmy voters are not required to watch the shows beyond the two episodes of the 200+ that are produced each year to determine what the Best _________ fill-in-the-blank is. The fact that the Prospect Park version of OLTL was considered best show nomination-worthy against B&B, Y&R and DAYS is mind-boggling.

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