Fewer Grumbles About Daytime Emmy Voting
Changes fix some flaws in the system
By Karre Jacobs -- Broadcasting & Cable, 2/13/2005 7:00:00 PM
Until recently, one of daytime's biggest headaches was the Emmy nomination process itself: Soap stars and producers didn't think the process worked.
Until 2003, the cast and crew of each soap determined who received an Emmy nomination. But critics of the system believed that cast-heavy shows garnered the most nominations simply based on their numbers of voters, effectively creating a form of bloc voting. Actors then voted for nominated peers, and those with the most votes were part of the final Emmy ballot.
“The large shows had the advantage,” says a West Coast publicist. “It seemed to be a popularity contest about which actor got the most votes to be in a position to win an Emmy.”
The grumbling grew loud enough to force the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS) to change the nomination process. Now each soap initiates its own voting, with the top two vote-getters in each acting category becoming that show's entry for an Emmy nod. Those actors then send 30-minute reels of their work to a judge's panel of NATAS members, as well as cast members from each of the 10 soaps. Votes are cast for the best five performances, and those actors become the Daytime Emmy nominees.
“It's always been controversial how nominees, and ultimately winners, were chosen,” the publicist adds. “I don't think you can find a system that pleases everyone.”
While no show can now dominate the Emmy ballot, that doesn't mean that, once the envelope is open, there isn't a groan of outrage or gasp of disbelief.
“There have been some odd choices,” another well-placed publicist points out. “Sometimes, you're left shaking your head.”
Soap fans till talk about All My Children diva Susan Lucci's 1999 win, after 19 futile attempts to secure the golden prize. She may be soap's most recognizable face, but other soap stars have been underwhelmed by her acting chops.
Good reels and good gaffes
Some explain her win as the result of a great tape. “She had a good reel that year. She deserved the award,” says publicist Thom De Lorenzo, whose client Heather Tom (One Life To Live and The Young and the Restless) has two statues. “Susan should have won, if only because she was a lady-in-waiting.”
Technical gaffes in Emmy history have also provided their fair share of jaw-dropping moments. Five years ago, when The Bold & the Beautiful stars Justin Torkildsen and Adrienne Frantz presented the lead-actress award, they called out fellow castmate Susan Flannery's name. But daytime talk diva (and Emmy winner) Rosie O'Donnell, who stood backstage with co-host Lucci, was certain she had heard Lucci's name. She urged the All My Children star to sprint on stage to accept her award. The orchestra didn't help matters when it began playing the AMC theme song. Even a stage manager was directing Lucci to the pulpit. Fortunately, Flannery got to the Emmy first, but Lucci's awkward moment was caught on camera and seen during the broadcast.
The award Y&R didn't win
Some gaffes occur offstage. When Y&R's writing team heard its name called in 1986, the thrill spilled over into the streets of Manhattan following the show, recalls head writer Jack Smith. “We partied all night. We walked the streets of New York, holding our Emmys high.”
The next morning, after a night without sleep, Smith got a phone call from then-head writer and multiple Emmy winner Bill Bell. “He told me it was all a mistake, that the writing award really belonged to the team at Guiding Light,” Smith recalls. “I thought Bill was joking.” He wasn't, and GL was presented its award privately, away from the glare of the lights, cameras and applause the writers deserved.
But Smith kept the statue anyway. “It's not inscribed, but it hangs—upside down—in my home.”
No related content found.
No Top Articles