Tuesday, June 21, 2011

OPINION: The Good and Mostly Bad of the Daytime Emmy Telecast

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.

Roger Newcomb
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.

- PHOTOS: Daytime Emmy Awards Red Carpet
- PHOTOS: Daytime Emmy Awards Press Room
- WINNERS: 38th Annual Daytime Entertainment Emmy Awards
- PHOTOS: Daytime Emmy Creative Arts Awards
- WINNERS: 38th Annual Daytime Entertainment Creative Arts Emmy Awards
- WE LOVE SOAPS TV 2.73 Caroll Spinney & Oscar the Grouch
- WE LOVE SOAPS TV 2.74 Crystal Chappell & Kim Turrisi


  1. Kevin & Damon,

    Thank you! It's mind-boggling that after 2 other Emmy shows, Jim R. and ATI could so royally screw up the Daytime Emmys. All of the complaints that viewers had about the previous 2 Daytime Emmys show were twice as bad.

    Every time I saw another vacation infomercial, I kept thinking, what does this have to do with Daytime TV? Why am I not seeing soap stars singing and dancing instead of Marie Osmond and the Evil Elvises? Why did we need a 15 minute tribute to Saint Oprah? Nice woman but 15 minutes? We had no tributes to OLTL or AMC. We all know that with 4 soaps in 2012, there will be no Daytime Emmys network broadcast of the show.

    Based on this disastrous show, I pray that next year's Daytime Emmy's escape the grasp of ATI. Let it be like the Golden Globes, a bunch of industry types, actors, crew, producers, etc. telling jokes and celebrating without the infomercial infection.

    Finally, Jabot, Jabot, Jabot. WTF? How could any cosmetic company bungle its national television introduction so badly? Tracey Bregman and Christel Khalil are smart, savvy, and beautiful women. Why didn't Sony/Jabot actually spend a few dollars to craft a decent commercial for the products?

    Television viewers have been watching cosmetic commercials for decades. None of the key messaging was there. We were told Jabot does wonders but no visual example as given. It was just bad marketing. Watch a Loriel or Maybelline commercial!!!


    OLTL was robbed of a directing Emmy!

    Tricia Cast and Lexi Ainsworth deserved to win.

  2. There was so much wrong with this telecast I'm not sure where to begin...

    1. What's with all the musical numbers? If you needed filler why not show the nominees clips?

    2. We had long tributes to Oprah and two game show hosts? Where were the tributes to AMC & OLTL? What about the "in memory of" for the the people, actors/directors/writers, etc who passed away?

    3. What's with pushing the charities? Again, if you needed filler, why not let the winners have their time to give speeches that are longer that a rushed 30 seconds. These actors, hosts & production staff worked their butts off and they only get 30 seconds, if that, to thank people?

    4. Where was the scroll or heck, even a mention of the Emmys that were awarded on Friday night?

    I had more fun Friday night refresher twitter to see if Crystal Chappell & Co won for Venice than I did wasting two hours of my time on Sunday night. I should have stuck with my regular Sunday night programming, Ice Road Truckers.

  3. Sorry, but I would rather not see the Daytime Emmys on TV at all than have ATI produce them, before or again.

    Jim Romanovich heralded himself as some sort of daytime expert and the New Messiah of opinion, and yet he and the team at ATI have gotten every Emmys they've produced as wrong as can be.

    Listening to the supposed one-time actor talk the talk about the legacy of soaps and then watch the absolute guano his company produces....well, maybe he IS a soap expert after all, since that's what so many writers, producers and executives do these days....promise the moon and give us the finger instead.

    I've had pee breaks that lasted longer than the onscreen tributes to GL and ATWT. And yet we wasted 15 minutes on a woman (Oprah) who has already been fawned over to the point that she will not need toilet paper for years!

    If we didn't get the message from the networks, let it be loud and clear: They. Don't. Give. A. Damn.

  4. Finally a year where I like most of the winners and they barely even get to speak. I do not mind product placement but this was beyond anything I have ever witnessed. If NATAS cares about this show, they will work with new producers next year.

  5. The Awards Show was in a word DREADFUL. I've been watch the Daytime Emmys for years and never have I been so disappointed and embarassed. A total disgrace and disrespect for the actors and crew of DAYTIME!

  6. That was an awards show? I thought it was a travel ad for Vegas and an informercial for a crappy new cosmetics line with a Children's Miracle Network telethon thrown in.

  7. I did not mind the Oprah tribute because she is the most powerful woman in the entertainment industry in North America. And Oprah has been the driving force in daytime television and philanthropy for 25 years! The only problem was the length(it was way too long). The Oprah tribute along with the Sajak and Trebek tributes should have only been 4-5 minutes in length each. All 3 tributes should have totaled 12-15 minutes.

    I so could not agree more with how awfully boring and pointless this year's Daytime Emmy telecast was. I agree that the main problem was that the producers could not decide if they wanted to telecast a telethon, a travelogue, or an infomercial so instead decided to do ALL three. Forgetting to actually honor the soaps, soap actors, and entertain the fans(audience)! The show was so rushed, slopped together, and kept the soaps, the actors, and the fans in the shadows with no focus at all which killed the show.

    There should have been nominee clips, show montages, soap actors performing, and focus on the fans in the show. I think ATI and Jim Romanovich produced an extremely dull and insulting ceremony for the 3rd straight year in a row. I hope the Emmys will not be televised next year or at least done by more capable producers. If this was the last televised Emmy show for daytime then its an even bigger failure. I think next year the Daytime Emmys should just be streamed online with nothing but focus on honoring the soaps that are left, actors, etc. The Webby Awards and other award shows seem to do it very well online.

  8. I wasn't expecting much after last year's cr*pfest, but this year's show was even worse, for all of the reasons discussed above. Most disappointing of all was Colleen Zenk's loss in the Best Actress category. Her nomination was LONG overdue, and I had hoped against hope that the Academy would finally recognize this outstanding talent. I truly was hoping she would join the winner's club instead of the unfortunate group of wonderful actresses who deserved to win along the way but had also been overlooked: Beverlee McKinsey, Dierdre Hall, Susan Seaforth Hayes, Victoria Wyndham, Melody Thomas Scott, Mary Stuart, Rachel Ames, Leslie Charleson, Constance Ford, Anna Stuart, etc., etc.

  9. C- Mainly because of the winners. Tricia Cast was robbed but I am happy for Heather Tom!!!!

    What's with the performances and YES, Oprah's tribute was longgggg!!!!!!

    If the winners didn't interest me then it would have gotten a D- or an F!!!!!!!!!!1