Thoughts on the 42nd Annual Daytime Emmy Awards

Host, Tyra Banks, during The 42nd Annual Daytime Emmy Awards. Photo: Monty Brinton/CBS © 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved
The 42nd Annual Daytime Emmy Awards were handed out on Sunday night at Stage 16 of the historic Warner Bros. Studios Lot in Burbank. The ceremony was hosted by Tyra Banks, and executive produced by Michael Levitt of Michael Levitt Productions with Gary Tellalian and Mike Rothman also serving as executive producers. It was an uneven ceremony that, like in recent years, relied on a number of gimmicks throughout the evening instead of trusting the content of Daytime TV to be worthy enough on its own to draw and keep a viewing audience.

A cold open featured Ellen DeGeneres and Matt Lauer announcing an end to their prank war…or at least that's what viewers were led to believe. Soon after, the Today show host was donned in the familiar 50 Shades of Grey reminiscent pasties, underwear, whip and stockings. Then, Ellen announced that Matt Lauer had agreed to donate $1,000 to a charity every time a winner personally thanked him in their award acceptance speech. If I hadn't received a press release on Saturday night about this, I would have never known that a "prank war" was going on. Aside from not being particularly funny, it drove home the fact that, once again, Ms. DeGeneres was not going to show up in person to support the Daytime community that has embraced her and her work.

Kelly Ripa and Michael Stahan, who won in the Outstanding Entertainment Talk Show Host category, were among the other winners not in attendance. If the Daytime Emmys are going to thrive again, the biggest stars need to attend, and be put on stage. Imagine what a nice moment the ceremony might have had if the ladies of The Talk had won that award. Instead of a "they're not here" moment, we would have been treated to a great speech.

Host Tyra Banks brought her promised fierce energy and sported a new cropped haircut. She spoke of her love of the classic Sally Jesse Raphael show before she surprised the audience with a rap performance. Banks flubbed a line but she was earnest and sincere enough to make it work somewhat. Having recently produced my own awards show with Daytime star and musical theater veteran Eric Martsolf hosting, I couldn't help but wonder how good the Daytime Emmys opening might have been with a seasoned stage performer hosting versus Ms. Banks. The same feel returned throughout the night as she appeared at times in new outfits and performing various bits. The fact that Ms. Banks seemed truly appreciative of the opportunity and gave it her all made me root for her to succeed, unlike some hosts of this ceremony in recent memory.

Television icon Betty White was bestowed a Lifetime Achievement Award during which Regis Philbin, Tom Bergeron, Fred Willard, Marie Osmond and Charo played a game of Password which celebrated her love of the game show and many appearances during its run. The 93 year old's best television moments were featured in a career showcase spanning more than 60 years and seven Emmy Awards. Mr. Levitt produced the TV Land Awards earlier this month which also honored Ms. White. That tribute was tighter and more poignant but you can't go wrong with Betty White, other than Charo doing a few too many "cuchi-cuchis" on stage.

Days of our Lives was celebrated for its 50th anniversary on television. A beautiful montage was played, and the show was honored on-stage with a cast reunion led by fan favorite Deidre Hall. The Days clip was everything I love about Daytime TV, a real masterpiece. There was nothing gimmicky about it, just a beloved daytime series being celebrated.

Next, the late comedian and television legend Joan Rivers was remembered and her emotional Daytime Emmy Awards speech from her 1990 win moved the audience. Joan’s daughter Melissa Rivers gave tribute to her mother and introduced the In Memoriam tribute. Singer Babyface performed "Gone to Soon" as talent from the daytime community was remembered.

The Days and In Memoriam segments were, by far, the best part of this year's Daytime Emmys. The segments proved how wonderful classy moments that truly celebrate the work and artists in Daytime can be. It's too bad more of the ceremony didn't keep that in mind.

Tessanne Chin, winner of season five of the The Voice (had to look this up later), seemed to wow the audience by performing “What I Did For Love” alongside a montage of some of the most romantic scenes from all the soap series. The audience at home saw way too much of the singer though and not nearly enough of the montage.

The presenters throughout the evening were mostly good and, in many cases, it felt like many of the stars were chosen for the job, whereas in recent years many of the choices have been mind-boggling. The Daytime Emmys are this communities night to shine and it always works best when the brightest stars are featured.

The Bold and the Beautiful's Linsey Godfrey began crying while on stage, three months after being hit by a car while walking down the street in Los Angeles. It was a warm moment that made me teary, though I'm not sure how many people in the audience knew her backstory.

Maura West was her third Emmy, presented by Shemar Moore,
who lovingly paid tribute to The Young and the Restless creators
William J. and Lee Phillip Bell in his intro.
Maura West, who won for Outstanding Lead Actress for her work as Ava Jerome on General Hospital, gave the best speech of the night. She was truly surprised, emotional, and spoke about having found a second "once in a lifetime" role, following her iconic portrayal of Carly Tenney Snyder on As the World Turns, for which she won two previous Emmys. She had presenter Shemar Moore hold her for a second while she composed herself. "I got my unbelievable twice in a lifetime, how magical is that," she said. She also thanked her husband and five children, whose names she was determined to say before being cut off. She ended with her trademark curtsy.

Imagine how much more powerful it might have been for the live audience and viewers if clips of the nominees work had actually been shown. Ms. West's reel was incredibly powerful and most of the vast Daytime audience had likely not seen it. The Daytime Emmys are a chance to show off the best work of the year for the world. That's one thing last year's ceremony got right. (It was live-streamed without commercials so there was more time.)

The iconic General Hospital duo known as Luke and Laura was reunited when actors Anthony Geary and Genie Francis presented the Best Drama Series award to not one, but two of the four remaining soap operas. Wasn't it enough to nominate everyone? Did 50% have to be named "best" of the year?

Once again, the Daytime Emmys doesn't know what it wants to be. The Days tribute and In Memoriam felt like old school class and charm that was worthy of the Oscars or the Tonys. Gimmicks like closing the show with a Family Feud bit, having fans on stage (and one presenting), or silly only awards like "Best Bitch Slap" felt less classy and more like a combo of the MTV Movie Awards and People's Choice Awards. There's nothing wrong with that kind of thing in general, but as a whole it didn't feel like one cohesive event with a real identity.

As for the prognostications, I predicted 50% correct, which isn't too bad considering Daytime Emmy winners are the most unpredictable out of all the long-running awards shows. For me, the winners don't really matter as much as having a true celebration of Daytime TV. Everyone's a winner when that happens.

Despite a few missed opportunities, this year's Daytime Emmys ceremony was a step in the right direction. The enthusiasm by the Pop network was reinvigorating, and there were flashes that showed what this event can--and should--be. The Days tribute and seeing the cheers for a iconic television series was perhaps the best Daytime Emmys moment in years. Kudos to Michael Levitt and his team for bringing this celebration back to life.

Below is a complete list of winners from Sunday night:

Outstanding Drama Series (tie)
Days of our Lives (NBC)
The Young and the Restless (CBS)

Outstanding Drama Series Writing Team
The Bold and the Beautiful (CBS)

Outstanding Drama Series Directing Team
The Bold and the Beautiful (CBS)

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
Maura West, as Ava Jerome
General Hospital (ABC)

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
Anthony Geary, as Luke Spencer
General Hospital (ABC)

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Amelia Heinle, as Victoria Newman
The Young and the Restless (CBS)

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Chad Duell, as Michael Corinthos
General Hospital (ABC)

Outstanding Younger Actress in a Drama Series
Hunter King, as Summer Newman
The Young and the Restless (CBS)

Outstanding Younger Actor in a Drama Series
Freddie Smith, as Sonny Kiriakis
Days of our Lives (NBC)

Outstanding Entertainment News Program
Entertainment Tonight (CBS)

Outstanding Informative Talk Show Host
Mario Batali, Carla Hall, Clinton Kelly, Daphne Oz, Michael Symon, Hosts
The Chew (ABC)

Outstanding Entertainment Talk Show Host
Kelly Ripa, Michael Strahan, Hosts
Live! with Kelly and Michael (SYNDICATED)

Outstanding Morning Program in Spanish/Programa Matutino Sobresaliente en Español
Un Nuevo Día (Telemundo)

Outstanding Game Show Host
Craig Ferguson, Host
Celebrity Name Game (SYNDICATED)

Outstanding Game Show
Jeopardy! (SYNDICATED)

Outstanding Morning Program
CBS Sunday Morning (CBS)

Outstanding Talk Show / Informative
Steve Harvey (SYNDICATED)

Outstanding Talk Show / Entertainment
The Ellen DeGeneres Show (SYNDICATED)

* 42nd Annual Daytime Creative Emmy Awards Winners


john truisi said...

The show was great roger! It would have been nice to see clips of performances.However, daytime is not soaps anymore and they are not coming back because they are to expensive to produce and are not making profits for the networks.The leaked e-mails from sony show how it is all about money.Days of our lives is finished in 2017.Also, why hasn't abc announced the renewal of general hospital for 2015-2016.Every year since 2011 , ABC has given a one year renewal to the show.What are they waiting for?Incidently, I want you to find out now if "the view"is being cancelled to put tyra banks new show on.The local abc affialiates have bought the show.There are only two places for it to go in ny 11am or 2pm.The millionaire show is not being cancelled.They just hired a new host.

Jennifer Brooks said...

I enjoyed the show very much. Tyra was not the best host, but at least she was not boring. The fact that it was back on television was a step in the right direction after last year. I'd love for someone to report on what the ratings for the show were?

David Miller said...

The 42nd Annual Daytime Emmy Awards were back with an exclusive live television broadcast on Pop that was seen by nearly 900,000 viewers last night. The live premiere was the most-watched live event on Pop/TVGN in eight years.

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