Things were cloudy and deliciously atmospheric in Hollywood this past Tuesday April 21st; a most perfectly dramatic backdrop for this year’s Daytime Emmy Pre-Party!
Held at the Hollywood Museum, formerly the Max Factor building, on the corner of Hollywood and Highland; everyone from the cast and creators of the newly extolled independent Soap Opera The Bay, to that of General Hospital, The Young and the Restless, The Bold and the Beautiful, and Days of our Lives, along with some contenders for news magazine shows, gathered together to party before the even bigger bash in the form of the Creative Emmy Awards on Friday at the Universal Hilton and the subsequent and most suspensefully awaited celebration of the Daytime Emmy Awards on Sunday at Warner Brothers’ Stage 16.
Nominees, fellow actors and supporters alike arrived on the red carpet to grant interviews, take in historic Hollywood displays within the auspices of the venue’s current, most select cinematic exhibits (up to and including those creepy 12 foot pink rabbits in the back whose entire bodies consist of a mere set of all-too-human-like legs), look at what everyone was wearing and ooh and aaah (or conversely Eww and Ah! incumbent on their fashion sense; though happily enough, only mutual love and admiration seemed to present itself at this particular soiree) and ultimately partake of what would be the utmost in food, drink, and merriment high atop the fourth floor of the timely old art deco building! (And honestly, for Hollywood, the fourth floor really is quite elevated in stature—New York be damned— particularly considering the fact that the fourth floor of this particular establishment towers high above an already angry and imposing T-Rex as her head bashes up and out of the Ripley’s Believe it or Not Museum roughly two floors below!)
As I navigate my way through the evening, a number of arresting things strike my attention, not the least of which will encompass the hype surrounding the new and acclaimed indie soap The Bay, bolder choices being made soap operatic storytelling (and YOU thought it couldn’t be done), along with the unmistakable convivial nature of the ‘daytime family’ as it has so ardently come to term itself.
Cast and producers of The Bay are some of the first to arrive in all their giddy excitement!—Well veiled giddy excitement to be sure. Because really, when you get right down to it, creator Gregori J. Martin, Kristos Andrews, and Ronn Moss are all considerably cool customers but beneath their slick veneers one can only sense they are virtually just as keyed up as 1970s middle schoolers on the brink of attending their very first Shaun Cassidy concert!!! (Yeah, I know. You think I’m joking…)
“The highlight [of this year’s Daytime Emmys]; my series The Bay getting nominated,” Ronn Moss will contentedly declare.
When asked about his character, Moss will affirm, “They’re starting to recognize [my] character which is cool. And…after all these years of playing [Ridge Forrester] on The Bold and the Beautiful it’s nice to change…” As to Moss’ new role on The Bay: “He’s a lot tougher. He’s a lot more kickass. He’s a lot more conscious. He’s not fashion oriented… John Blackwell doesn’t give a crap about fashion!”
(The irony of the sur-nomenclature of Moss’ character isn’t lost on me however as I muse upon fashion designer/worst-dressed-list-maker Richard Blackwell who always consistently gave a crap–and nothing but a crap–about fashion to sometimes ghastly and jaw dropping proportions… Hmmm…)
Even the nomination itself is meritorious as Bay star Kristos Andrews declares, “We’re in a really difficult category so I’m not expecting to win. I don’t know if we are…but I think the nomination itself is a win… The categories [have] become so competitive now. There’s about 200 or more submissions of really quality shows… They all got nominated and we are competing against HULU, against Amazon, against all these networks online… It’s the New NEW!”
Creator Gregori J. Martin will add, “I really appreciate the category and I know its growing and I think there’s going to be more New Approaches categories next year!”
One of the most exciting aspects of The Bay…? The fact that well loved soap actors the airwaves over were able to claim new and exciting roles after Daytime television’s extensive format change leaving only four tried and true Soaps standing in the form of General Hospital, The Bold and the Beautiful, The Young and the Restless and Days of our Lives!
“Honey [we’ve got] everybody on The Bay,” exclaims infectiously enthusiastic Bay co-star Patrika Darbo. “It’s the power of daytime! We’re all from different shows but the fans miss us from those shows so this was an opportunity! Gregori is our writer/producer/director. He’s the reason we’re all together and it’s so important that people realize, what he realized: The power of all the fans [and their desire to continue seeing their favorite soap actors]… The daytime fans; be it talk shows, cooking shows, daytime drama whatever, are the most loyal, wonderful fans… “
The Bay: Hm. Tame title notwithstanding, it is clear that this new indie series is clearly a beloved show. The Bay: Simple, open, wet–aptly named for success when one ruminates upon it further. When you consider that 71 % of the world is water and that water, when mixed with Soap yields suds, this translates to a certain brand of cleanliness which ultimately succumbs to a feeling of renewed freshness and therein lies the denouement of this metaphor in success!
The friendly neighborhood bay notwithstanding however, it is important to remember that there are so many other dramatically harrowing occurrences going on in so many other parts of the world, betwixt varying characters and personages, in time frames significantly ticking off their existence one 24 hour period at a time; in places like General Hospital, for instance, between the bold and the beautiful, the young and/or the restless all encompassing the days of our lives… (Yeah. See what I did there?)
“[My] dad died and then came back to life because he wasn’t dead and he was actually in Witness Protection. So that was pretty dramatic,” discloses Haley Pullos, Molly on General Hospital.
“I gave birth in the middle of a storm on the stairs of The Chancellor Mansion… and I’ve been kidnapped twice,” reveals Kate Linder aka Esther Valentine on The Young and the Restless.
“[My character’s] involved in a story line where the woman he was engaged to–he just found out that she was born a boy; she’s a transgender woman… They’re not in a relationship now but he still cares for her and he’s having a hard time dealing with the fact that she kept this secret from him… So yeah….his head’s kind of spinning right now,” admits Lawrence Saint Victor who portrays Carter on The Bold and the Beautiful.
“My character’s name is Kiki and…she grew up in New York so she has kind of a rough exterior but then over time she kind of softened up and she fell in love with two different brothers. So she went from one to the other [brother] and…back to the other one,” so explains Kristin Alderson of General Hospital fame.
“[I’m], sleeping with my wife’s mom.—Or my ex-wife’s mom.…and going from my ex-wife’s mom back to my ex-wife.” ~ Bryan Craig, General Hospital
But the winner for having the most happen to his character in the least amount of time would have to be The Young and the Restless’ Austin played by an all too altruistically forthcoming Matthew Atkinson, “What can I tell you? It’s a Soap so there’s a lot of drama… When I came on to the show, within like three months…I [started off]as a camera man for a web series that one of the other characters was doing, and I was there to…stalk her and eventually kidnap her. Then I held her at gunpoint—‘cause I held her responsible for the death of my mom which happened years before… The police broke in…and someone tackled me, and the gun went off and I accidentally shot the chief of police! So then I went on the run but the girl who was…the woman I kidnapped’s niece, who I fell in love with, I married. So that’s the first three months…”
And in grand tradition to lives lived simultaneously on a weekday by weekday basis with beloved characters the groove tube over, it is no surprise that audience members and non-soap opera characters alike will invariably level their commentary:
“You cannot imagine what happens to me in public,” divulges Catherine Bach (formerly Daisy Duke on Dukes of Hazzard)—now Anita Lawson on The Young and the Restless. “I belong to this country club that has a lot of elder people and I walked in one Sunday. All these people started staring at me and they said, ‘You know you really are an overbearing mother!’ Then I was having lunch with some girlfriends and I was trying to tell them about the part I was doing, and I said, ‘Well you know my daughter got pregnant in a one night stand.’ And the people in the restaurant were like (slack jawed). They didn’t know I was talking about the character and the story, ‘and then she gets pregnant and you know I investigated that guy and it turns out he’s a billionaire, so I didn’t think ten million dollars was too much to ask for. Do you?’ and then I said, ‘and by the way, the husband that I’ve been looking for?– Turns out that he married somebody else so I’m gonna really give it to him!’ So some lady pipes up from across the room. She’s like ‘Hey look I can understand you beating the hell out of your husband and giving it to him, but the guy with the pregnancy and your daughter…? 10 million dollars? That’s a little crazy!’”
But this evening is not all Soap Operas and mellow drama. In a more sentimental conversation on one of the quieter sides of the fourth floor party, I was able to catch up with Herbert Eaford of E! News; representing a nomination for Best Entertainment News Program and another for a special about Joan Rivers. “She was a part of the E! family,” he will proudly yet nostalgically declare. “The special we did right after she had passed away…compiled a lot of the archival footage we had of her. We had people on the show who knew her…were friends with her, talked about their experiences with her, what a great lady she was… She had a beautiful heart…and was such a sweet lady. I’ve never met anybody who’s had any kind of contact with her who didn’t like her… She was like the mother in the office so we were all really sad when she passed away… I’ve been at E! for nine years and I would see her in the office all the time…I wouldn’t say ‘hi’ to her. She would always say ‘hi’ to me. But the first time I actually got to sit and say ‘Hello, it’s so great to meet you. I’ve been a fan for years,’ it was the last interview she did at the network… just a few weeks before she passed away… So I was so fortunate to get to tell her how much I admired her. ‘Cause she was such a trailblazer in the industry. “
Before the nighttime celebration of Daytime is over both Brad Schwartz: President of the Pop Network, and Bob Mauro: National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS) President will make a couple of rousing, speeches.
Schwartz’ enthusiasm is palpable as he declares, “Doing the Daytime Emmys is something that we’re so proud of as a Network that celebrates fandom and anything that people are really excited about. The Daytime [audience] is certainly the most passionate on all of Television. So for us to be involved in this awards show celebrating this community, celebrating all this sort of content, not just the Soaps, but the talk shows, and the morning shows, and the cooking shows and everything…we’re really proud to be involved… The only reason we are all here and the only reason this Sunday’s show is going to be so spectacular is because of the President of NATAS Bob Mauro. The passion that he has put forth over the past 2-3 months is like [nothing I’ve] ever seen before in my entire life… So I want to toast [Producer] Michael Levitt’s team. I want to toast Bob, NATAS, POP, all of you…and I promise you this is going to be a show you’re going to proud of and we’re all going to have fun on Sunday night!”
NATAS President Bob Mauro will make us laugh whilst simultaneously waxing synchronistically poetic. “I see Daytime as a family and everyone in this room is really related somehow and in some way. So if you try to tie this all together, the last five years we were a little bit of a dysfunctional family for what we were trying to do (laughter all around) but the great thing about daytime: It’s about talk, it’s about news, it’s about cooking, it’s about kids, it’s about family, and mainly it’s really about great drama; which we are all about. So what we’re trying to do is certainly bring back Daytime to its rightful place at the table…”
Bur really, as the night winds down, the sentiment I am most left with is that of warmth and camaraderie evident not only in everyone’s treatment of one another but, as an all pervasive attitude evinced by actors, supporters and partygoers alike. When asked what everyone was most excited for pertaining to this past Sunday’s Daytime Emmy Awards, whether nominated or not, the all encompassing answer generally went something like this: “To hang out with all my friends,” and/or “to see everybody and spend time with the people I love”.
“I can’t wait,” proclaims Heather Tom, currently Katie Logan Spencer on The Bold and the Beautiful for the past 8 years, but a daytime veteran for the past 25. “I always look forward to seeing everyone and I’ve known most of these people for most of my life and I’ve worked with lots of them so it’s nice that we all get together and have a good time.”
“It’s the best job I’ve ever had,” proclaims Camila Banus after having completed 3 ½ years as Gabi Hernandez on Days of Our Lives. “You know, soaps are crazy because you’re there every day, you build this family, and then you leave and you’re like ‘WHAT’? This family I see every day is like- gone?’ and it’s tough and the people I miss the most are the crew. They’re fun. They’re all so positive, so encouraging, just so wonderful, have great things to say. I obviously miss some people from the cast as well… How do you not miss it?!”
“I’m the newest person at Y & R at the moment…3 months now,” volunteers a fresh-faced Lachlan Buchanan; Kyle Abbott on The Young and the Restless. “So I’m pretty fresh. I’m getting hazed by everyone now: My God like today for example, the director was just calling me Jimmy–just for fun. So-like-I was all concerned [and] didn’t know what was happening and they were just doing that to mess with me. They do that kind of stuff every day.” Yet, despite all this, “My favorite thing on the show…would have to be the people that I work with. It’s honestly the best bunch of people… So fun, so professional, hilarious, kind…all those things. It’s really an honor to work with them.”
And of course, since some families are dysfunctional and since college was just such a blast, one of my favorite social analogies would have to come from the matter-of-fact Bryan Craig aka Morgan Corinthos on General Hospital, “I have certain people that I’m close with and that I hang out with but it’s very much more like a dorm. Like everyone kind of does their job and goes back to their rooms…but yeah—I’m very close with a lot of the cast….”
The 42nd Annual Daytime Emmy Awards were presented this past Sunday at Warner Brothers Studios on the Pop network to very high ratings and enthusiastic response. For more information on the recipients and festivities, please visit: