Soap stars get chance to connect with fans

Given that Katie Couric’s upcoming ABC talkshow might further endanger the presence of soap operas on the airwaves next year, the sudsers could use a platform to connect with their viewers.

They’re getting one Sunday at the Daytime Emmy Awards, though the intended tone of the kudocast is to celebrate the serials — not mark their passing.

“We want to stay away from making it seem like the daytime world is dying,” says Al Schwartz, the program’s executive producer.

The broadcast will include a special tribute to Daytime Emmy winner Susan Lucci, who, along with her “All My Children” alter-ego Erica Kane, is synonymous with soap opera. “Children” is set to broadcast its finale on ABC in September.

Winners of the remaining soaps will have a chance to speak to their fans in acceptance speeches. In addition to thanking their agents, families and co-stars, they might also encourage viewers to keep watching or return to daily viewing if they’ve been away.

“It’s a glorious opportunity for (actress winners) to really point out how this business is written fantastically for women and always has been,” says TV Guide daytime columnist Michael Logan.

In the meantime, the soaps that are still on the air haven’t folded their tents. “Days of Our Lives” has announced a new head writing team. There’s also buzz that iconic actors Deidre Hall and Drake Hogestyn and other favorites will return to the NBC sudser this summer.

“We’re undergoing a huge re-organization,” says “Days of Our Lives” lead actor nominee James Scott.

“We don’t need new viewers in order to survive. We need to get back the ones that we’ve lost. It would be a great opportunity to give a message to the fans that changes are coming. I’m thinking of integrating that into my speech. … I just hope that I can remember my name if I get up there.”

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