WE LOVE SOAPS TV traveled to Las Vegas for the 38th Annual Daytime Entertainment Emmy Awards which aired Sunday night on CBS produced by Associated Television International. Our team of Damon L. Jacobs, Roger Newcomb and Kevin Mulcahy Jr. weigh in on this year's telecast below. Look for our interviews in the coming days from both the Creative Emmys on Friday and Sunday's televised event.
Kevin Mulcahy Jr.
My first trip to the Daytime Emmys was a sizzling celebration of rich, soulful, comfort-food TV. It was a gala affair with soap opera temptresses, perky game showmen, and glad-handing talk show hosts. Everyone was dressed to the nines and brimming with enthusiasm for one of the only American institutions we all truly share. It was, in fact, an uplifting event that made me feel good about the future of daytime TV.
Believe it or not, my first trip to the Emmys was just the other day. It was fabulous. So if you saw the televised version, you're probably wondering if we're talking about the same thing. Trust me, what really happened in Vegas, for once, should have been shared with everyone! It was nothing like the sad variety-show themed infomercial CBS cobbled together.
Keep coming back to WE LOVE SOAPS TV for many, many video interviews that offer a far better sense of what the Emmys were about this year, and what the event was really like. We'll post them as fast as we can edit and upload! For now, please let me to vent my top three complaints about the confused, misguided telecast?
1. Oprah Winfrey is not dead (but she wasn't at the Emmys, either).
About a fifth of the show was about an award that wasn't an Emmy, for a show that didn't win anything real this year. No Emmys for the Oprah Winfrey Show this year. So why did they use the Big O to c—k block the actual winners? It was as if someone had changed the channel and we were watching one of those narcissistic final episodes of Oprah. We should have been watching more of the talented (and deserving) professionals who were actually being honored for their achievements that night. Many of them had the added appeal of actually being there.
2. Celine Dion has nothing to do with Daytime Television.
And, to her credit, I think she may have recognized that, since she also declined to appear in person--even though she was only about a mile away, down the Vegas Strip, performing. My goodness, she at least could have sung an original song that had something to do with the Emmys!
3. Wayne Brady did show up. But, in his case, that was the problem.
Where to start with Mr. Brady? His clumsy delivery of affable, scripted jibes, and his tacky, unscripted interjections throughout the telecast, embodied the opposite of the intended (and actual) spirit of a black tie awards ceremony. He did not rehearse enough. He did not understand all of the material written for him. And he did not respect (let alone celebrate) the work of the individuals the rest of us were there to honor.
So, we didn't interview him.
WE LOVE SOAPS TV promises that Wayne Brady will not be present for any of the video coverage we'll be sharing with you all, “live” from the 38th Annual Daytime Emmys. Instead, we have the people who deserve to be seen and heard on Emmy Night. CBS, let us show you how it's done...
Damon L. Jacobs
Note to aspiring hosts out there: when you insult Susan Lucci and get booed by your audience within the first five minutes, things are not going to go well. Wayne Brady's retort (and my favorite new catchphrase), "I didn't write this crap," was a sad omen for events to come. What deserved to be a respectful celebratory event was quickly turned into an train wreck of awkward musical numbers, overextended tributes, embarrassing infomercials, and a strange focus on children's illnesses.
What does any of this have to do with daytime television? Not a whole heck of a lot, and that was the main problem with this catastrophe of an awards ceremony. Soaps, as well as game show and talk shows, were treated as pesky distractions that interfered with promoting tourism, and sick kids. Not since Sid and Marty Kroft's THE BRADY BUNCH HOUR have I seen such a bizarre hijacking of a once loved and revered brand.
It's not like I expected soap operas to get the airtime and appreciation they deserved. I am well aware of the business necessity to make the Daytime Emmys appeal to viewers outside the soap community. What did surprise was the flagrant disrespect displayed toward the daytime industry as a whole. From beginning the show with tasteless jokes about ALL MY CHILDREN and ONE LIFE TO LIVE's "forced retirement," to Wayne Brady's mocking of celebratory winners while they were still on stage, to foregoing the display of clips from any of the nominated shows, it is clear there is outright contempt and disinterest on behalf of those involved with the planning and executing of this event. To add insult to injury, an attempt to honor Susan Lucci was marred by an awkward and unflattering interaction with Shemar Moore, as well as a mockery made of Erica Kane's weddings by superimposing Regis Philbin, Dr. Phil, and Ellen Degeneres on old clips. The latter three couldn't bother to show up to the ceremony in person, and in retrospect one can hardly fault their choice.
The few positive moments that stood out involved spontaneous and genuine displays of emotions from the talent themselves. CASH CAB'S Ben Bailey's tardy arrival to accept his win, due to the fact he was urinating as the award was announced, was the most human and joyful moment of the evening. Had the presenters and other winners had time to express themselves and thank others, then we would have witnessed a more enjoyable and meaningful event, instead of the "crap" Brady illuminated early on.
Watching the Daytime Emmy telecast backstage, the press could only see certain parts of the show. To be honest, it seemed like a rushed mess and not much of a tribute to Daytime from those look-ins. Having now watched a recording of the entire telecast, it actually played even worse than originally thought. It was not a tribute to daytime television which includes judge shows, talk shows, game shows, children's shows and, dear to our hearts, soap operas.
Judge Judy is the highest rated program on daytime television and courtroom programs were relegated to the Creative Emmys on Friday night. So were children's and lifestyle programming. The shows and stars that were selected to be honored on Sunday night's telecast hardly received any tribute at all. With no clips of their work, and rushed acceptance speeches, it seemed like the actual awards were an afterthought to Las Vegas, charity work, vacation giveaways and bad hosting by Wayne Brady. Brady kicked off the show with a bad "joke" about ALL MY CHILDREN and ONE LIFE TO LIVE being forced into retirement. He was deservedly booed and instantly came back with the response, "I didn't write this crap." What a disrespectful slap in the fact the Daytime TV. Who did write it?
With CBS having aired the brilliant Tony Awards only one week before, it was hard not to compare both the show and host. The Tony ceremony was a tribute to Broadway's best. They managed to work in talent that isn't thought of as traditional Broadway stars. Neil Patrick Harris, better known for his television work, hosted. But it all played well because it had heart and Harris truly cared. It paid tribute to Broadway and seemed proud to be doing so. It made you want to see a Broadway show.
What Daytime needed was an awards ceremony that had that same type of heart, that made you want to watch, and that doesn't come from multiple charity segments that were hard to distinguish from some of the telecast's commercials. Oprah Winfrey has been a huge daytime star since the '80s, but she has been honored over and over for the past year. She already has a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Emmys. The tribute she received on Sunday was complete overkill. And after all that time spent she wasn't even in attendance.
Speaking of attendees, many of daytime's biggest stars did not bother to show up. Perhaps this is why producers chose to go completely off the daytime map. Ellen, Regis, Barbara, etc were not there. In their place were Gladys Knight, Marie Osmond, Jabbawockeez, Viva Elvis, and Penn & Teller. Celine Dion performed--from a different location.
The Alex Trebek/Pat Sajak tribute was a bit more interesting and the popular hosts actually showed up.
Producing any show involves dealing with a number of factors--sponsors, the network, available talent, budget, and much more. Presenters Carol Burnett and Genie Francis bailed at the last minute. But at the core, you have to make your vision work with whatever budget and limitations you have. The vision for this telecast clearly missed the mark. The lack of a tribute in recent years to legendary soap operas leaving the air is shocking and disappointing. The opening AMC/OLTL joke drove this point home even more. The mini-"tribute" to Susan Lucci with Shemar Moore was awkward and uncomfortable. The best moment of the night happened only because CASH CAB winner Ben Bailey had to go to the bathroom minutes before his category was announced.
I left the Indie Soap Awards in February feeling so positive about the future of web series and the serialized programming on the web. The Daytime Emmys did their best to convince us that daytime is dead. The Creative Emmys on Friday had no pomp and circumstance but at least it felt like a community was being honored.
What else can be said? Daytime can be hard to represent because it involves so many different types of shows and personalities. But at least this year's telecast could have tried.
Even if you do not like what I have said here, I own it. I did write this crap.
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