Considering that sudsers air about 250 episodes a year and several shows overlap creatively with one another, it’s difficult to pinpoint what exactly makes one show a Daytime Emmy winner and others not.
“The reality of the Daytime Emmys is that it’s a judging system based on a slice of a show,” says Barbara Bloom, senior VP of daytime at CBS. “While it’s nice for the people who work on a shows to get nods, (Emmys) don’t hold a lot of weight in terms of a show’s longevity nor do they depict the health of a show.”
Jonathan Reiner, a Daytime Emmy winner for “Starting Over” and currently working on Style Network’s revamp of “The Look for Less,” concurs: “Emmys don’t offer guarantees. Look at (canceled soaps) ‘Santa Barbara’ and ‘Ryan’s Hope.'”
Choosing the right scene is critical in scoring a nod. Peter Reckell, a “Days of Our Lives” player on and off since 1983, landed on the ballot by selecting the episode in which his character Bo Brady told his mother, played by Emmy winner Peggy McCay, that her husband had died. “(Peggy’s) been in a fraction of the scenes I’ve been in over the years, but she’s been on four or five of the reels I’ve submitted,” Reckell says.
Exec producer Bradley Bell, who’s nominated for writing for a drama series for “The Bold and the Beautiful,” agrees. “We submitted Storm taking his life to donate his heart to his sister,” Bell says. “The drama was there. It hit on all counts and went back to what daytime drama is all about. It took place in a few sets and was very tight, very old school.”
While some soaps have won over the years for staging big events (fires, hostage crises) or writing fantasy episodes, Brian Frons, president of daytime at Disney-ABC, says that at the end of the day it’s the relationship between the characters that can score an actor — and a show — a nomination.”
“Too often physical jeopardy can be emphasized,” he says. “But the truth is: Emotional jeopardy, when written and performed well, will garner the nominations.
“The Young and the Restless” has missed out on a drama nomination this year. But Greg Rikaart, a 2005 supporting actor winner for the soap, doesn’t believe this is indicative of the show’s content.
“Our ratings attest to our popularity and quality,” says Rikaart, a nominee this year for his performance on the Web series “Imaginary Bitches.”
“We do as much as we can to get the word out about our show,” says Andrew Miller, exec producer of “Imaginary Bitches,” which is nominated in the New Approaches: Daytime Entertainment category. “(This nomination) is monumental for us.”
A win for “Days of Our Lives” for drama series could expose that show on awards night to the younger viewers of the CW.
“This is daytime’s big chance to make a great impression,” Reiner says, “and, hopefully, attract some new fans.”
The ballot includes many first-time nominees, such as freshman talkshow “The Doctors.”
“We hit the ground running because (prior to our first season) we were able to spend time on ‘Dr. Phil’ with our producers and doctors,” theorizes executive producer Jay McGraw. “We worked out a lot of the kinks.”
“Live With Regis and Kelly” won’t compete against “The Doctors” since talkshows have been divided into two categories — informative and entertainment.
“We give some information, but we feel that after two hours of the morning shows that have depressing news, we can give people a laugh,” says “Live’s” executive producer Michael Gellman.
One difference over last year’s ballot is the diversity found in the younger leading actress category. In 2008, ingenues from one soap opera landed three out of five slots. This year, the five slots are filled by actresses from three different networks and four different shows.
Why is there more diversity this year? “Honestly, if I knew the key to getting on the ballot, I’d be nominated every year,” says nominee Julie Berman of “General Hospital.”
As for the health of the daytime industry, Bruce Evans, senior VP of NBC drama programming, says, “Everyone’s being asked to do more with less, and ‘Days of Our Lives’ is no exception. We’ve asked them to do that, and they’ve stepped up to the challenge. It says that it’s possible to do it and not sacrifice quality.”
What: 2009 Daytime Emmys
When: Aug. 30
Where: Orpheum Theater, downtown Los Angeles
DAYTIME EMMY FAST FACTS
TOP NETWORKS BY NOMS
Disney Channel 10
Food Network 10
Style Network 5
Discovery Kids 5
Cartoon Network 4
TOP PROGRAMS BY NOMS
All My Children 19
Sesame Street 15
Days of Our Lives 13
The Ellen DeGeneres Show 12
One Life to Live 11
The Young and the Restless 10
General Hospital 7
The View 7
As the World Turns 6
The Bold and the Beautiful 6
The Oprah Winfrey Show 6
From the Top at Carnegie Hall 5
The Tyra Banks Show 5
TOP DRAMA SERIES
Days of Our Lives
All My Children
The Bold and the Beautiful
Who Wants to Be a Millionaire
Regis Philbin and Kelly Ripa (“Live With Regis and Kelly”)
Rachael Ray (“Rachael Ray”)
Ellen DeGeneres (“The Ellen DeGeneres Show”)
Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, Sherri Shepherd, Barbara Walters (“The View”)