NATAS Hopes to Make 40th Daytime Emmys a Winner

For awards show exec Michaels, it's about new categories and some old cachet
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The New York-based National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS) expects to announce by the end of January a network that will air this year's Daytime Emmy Awards-the 40th anniversary edition-as well as a producer.

That's an improvement over last year, when word that cable news network HLN would produce and air the show did not come until less than two months prior to the ceremony, which took place at the Beverly Hilton on June 23.

What may make things easier this year is that in August, NATAS announced that David Michaels had been named senior executive director for the Daytime Emmy Awards. Michaels came to NATAS after serving on the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (ATAS)' Board of Governors as co-chairman of the Daytime Emmys for 14 years.

"The relationship between us is really good right now," he says. "This could mean more of a melding between the two groups."

Already this year, NATAS put out a call for entries and judge registration, and entries have started rolling in, Michaels says.

To get all of that moving, NATAS has gotten more aggressive with its social-media campaign, tweeting constantly, posting on its Daytime Emmys Facebook page and creating a LinkedIn group so industry players can follow and contribute to the discussion.

While neither Michaels nor Brent Stanton, NATAS' executive director of the Daytime Emmys, will actually produce the show, they expect it to be a celebration of 40 years of daytime programming, including packages on the heyday of soap operas, which now have been whittled down to five: ABC's General Hospital, NBC's Days of Our Lives, and CBS' The Young and the Restless and The Bold and the Beautiful. ABC's One Life to Live also has final episodes that aired in this calendar year, so it will be up for consideration as well.

Although One Life to Live and ABC's other cancelled soap, All My Children, now are off the air, both shows may come back as online-only programs, according to news last week that both SAG-AFTRA and the Director's Guild of America had completed negotiations with production company Prospect Park, which acquired rights to both series after ABC decided to stop producing them.

To accommodate daytime shows that may only live online, NATAS this year divided its category "New Approaches" in two, allowing it to honor Web-only series separately from online video content that enhances existing programs, such as the "Ellen's Dance Dares" Web videos that grow out of Ellen.

"Part of our agreement with ATAS is that we are going to look at all of these programs together and decide where they best fit," Michaels says, noting that "time doesn't exist on the Internet."

NATAS also added a category that will single out one host of a culinary program, because the previous "lifestyle" show hosts category had too many potential nominees. Another new category is specifically devoted to travel and adventure programming, Michaels says.

"I think that's going to be an exciting category. There are so many good culinary hosts that they tended to dominate their previous catch-all lifestyle category."

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