Daytime Emmys employ more wide-open process

Actors who take home Daytime Emmys later this year will truly mean it when they thank their peers for their votes.

The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, in response to the wishes of the daytime community, altered the nomination method that had been used for the past several years. The previous procedure included a pre-nomination process in which each soap opera selected two (occasionally three) actors for each performing category. Then, those performers would submit a reel of their work to determine who the final nominees (and winners) would be.

But for the 37th annual Daytime Emmys, any actor who wanted to throw his or her hat in the ring could do so — leading to a first round of 89 “pre-nominees” in 2010. This has made the process more equitable — in theory.

“We know very few people in this business (who) look at the other work being done in it,” says TV Guide soap columnist Michael Logan. “When casting their votes, (actors) are just as likely to vote for someone that they hung out with on a soap cruise as they are to vote for someone whose work they’re really impressed with.”

Peter Bergman, a three-time lead actor Daytime Emmy winner for his role on “The Young and the Restless,” approves of this year’s change in the voting process, contending that the previous one prevented many deserving actors from even getting in the race.

“I think (NATAS and the community) are trying to inch away from (the previous) system, and this year is the first step towards that end,” Bergman says.

Axed sudser “Guiding Light” (which ended in September) was eligible to receive nominations, but is not represented in key categories because actors did not propose themselves. Crystal Chappell, who played Olivia on “Light,” had to fill out her own paperwork to score a lead actress pre-nomination, since the show’s production company no longer exists.

“I am surprised we don’t have more pre-noms,” says Chappell. “Last summer was a hard time closing the show, and maybe the Emmys were not on people’s minds, but they are obviously a talented group.”

Four-time Emmy-winner Susan Flannery (“The Bold and the Beautiful”) has a solution to make voters become more informed.

“Why couldn’t each show put on its website a one-minute clip of actors’ work throughout the year?” she asks. “It would make people more familiar with who’s out there.”

The absence of such a time-saving system today has Flannery, and perhaps other actors, erring on the side of casting no vote rather than an uninformed one.

“I couldn’t vote this year for any of the younger leading actor or actress (candidates),” Flannery says. “I didn’t know enough of them and I didn’t think it would be fair to vote for anyone.”

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