This Year, Emmy Jurors Can Vote at Home
By Paige Albiniak -- Broadcasting & Cable, 2/1/2004 7:00:00 PM
In an attempt to get more members to vote on the Daytime Emmys, for the first time ever, the National Television Academy of Arts and Sciences is sending registered voters bundles of tapes to watch at home.
In the past, NATAS has held two days of screenings for Academy voters in New York and Los Angeles, but many potential jurors failed to show up because they couldn't fit the screenings into their schedule. With at-home screenings, says Harry Eggart, director of Daytime Emmys, NATAS is expecting more participation.
"Based on the experience of the people who run the prime time Emmys, you get better results this way than trying to get people to give up two days of their time. You get a lot more people to participate, better quality of judges, and you get celebrities involved who would otherwise not give up a day or two."
Sending tapes to voting Academy members to watch at home isn't as easy as it sounds. At the screenings, members had to sign affidavits certifying that they had watched every frame of all the shows on which they were voting, and NATAS had spotters watch to make sure that none of the voters fell asleep.
At-home voters still have to submit affidavits to the Academy that they indeed watched all the shows on which they are voting, but there will be no one to watch over them.
Eggart doesn't seem worried: "I think that most people are fundamentally honest."
Last year, the show's 30th anniversary, ABC carried the Daytime Emmys, and the nominations were announced on ABC's The View. The awards show was hosted by Wayne Brady, star of The Wayne Brady Show, which won two Daytime Emmys last year, including Best Talk Show Host (Oprah Winfrey has recused herself from the competition for several years).
Last year, King World's Jeopardy won as top game show; CBS's As the World Turns was the top soap. PBS's Reading Rainbow was the top kids show.
Registered voters—Academy members who submitted a registration form by Dec. 5 and were approved—vote within the category in which they work. For example, writers vote on writers, actors on actors, producers on producers. All voters vote on best shows, except those in daytime dramas, who vote only on daytime dramas. Ballots to determine the nominees must be mailed back to the Academy by Feb. 20; nominees will be announced on March 3.
Daytime dramas—the soap operas, basically—are handled differently from the rest of the categories: Each show submits its own entries. Those entries are tabulated by the Academy and then sent back to the cast and crew of each show, who vote to determine the top entries in each category. A panel of judges screens all the entries from writers, producers, actors and directors—each of which gets to submit one episode—and selects the final nominees.
Once the nominees are determined, all shows, including daytime dramas, will be voted on by at-home viewers.
"In the past, some 400 to 500 people showed up on each coast to vote," Eggart says. "We could double or triple that participation with the at-home screeners." He hopes better voter participation will mean a better awards show and more-meaningful awards.
"I don't think it brings more viewers to your show because you won an Emmy," he says. "But people in TV work very hard, and it's not just for money. I think it means a lot to have your peers acknowledge that you are the best actor or writer in your category."
After the Daytime Emmy nominations are announced, the Daytime Creative Craft Emmys will be awarded on May 15. The Daytime Emmys award show will be aired in prime time May 21 on NBC. No host has yet been selected for the show; nor has a morning show that will announce the nominations, although the nominations are typically released on a morning show that airs on the same network.
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