Daytime Emmys Look For Alternatives As Soap Bubble Bursts

Daytime Emmys Rebranding
Jon Reinfurt for Variety

There are four network daytime dramas left. In a year, or two, or five, it’s conceivable there could be fewer; it’s unlikely there’ll be more.

The Daytime Emmy Awards depend heavily on the daytime dramas, both for the glamour of the actors on the red carpet and for the fervent loyalty of their fans. Without soaps, the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS) might still give out awards, but it would have a hard time attracting an audience to the kudocast itself, the 42nd edition of which takes place on April 26 (with the nominations announced March 26).

“To me it really depends on if there’s still going to be soap operas, because that’s the engine that drives it,” says Brad Adgate, senior vice president, research, at agency Horizon Media. “Otherwise, why bother? I don’t think they could lose another soap opera and keep the show going, based on the fact that that’s the glamour part of the show.

“You go back 10 years ago, and there were probably close to a dozen or 10 soap operas. There are four now. There’s one on each network, and two on CBS. The success of the show is either that the soap-opera format, at the very least, stays where it is — in other words, no more cancellations — or they find some other way to keep viewers engaged and create some excitement in other categories or program types.”

These issues haven’t escaped the notice of David Michaels, NATAS’ senior executive director, Daytime Entertainment Emmy Awards. Asked about the dearth of dramas, Michaels says: “I can tell you we have our mainstream soap category, which indeed only has four shows eligible this year, but then we also have a category for the Web soaps.

“We have also added a category for the talent in the Web soaps. Although some of them would be new faces to our audience, some of them are bona-fide soap stars who are now doing these Web series.”

Online sudsers in contention this year include Los Angeles-based “DeVanity” (a nominee last year), the Boston-set lesbian romance “Beacon Hill” starring Alicia Minshew and Sarah Brown, and season three of “The Bay,” which features numerous network soap alums.

“In that category, I would predict we would have to spread it out,” Michaels says of honoring thesps on emerging platforms. “We only have one category this year, but we’re going to at least (split the acting category into) male and female for next year, because the response was bigger than expected.”

While traditional daytime dramas are on the wane, telenovelas and other foreign-produced serials are on the rise. But don’t expect to see them joining the Daytime Emmy Awards unless changes are made.

“As we understand it, those are considered foreign productions, which means that we have to give them over to the Intl. Emmys,” Michaels says. “We have Spanish-language categories now, and there’s also a rule that a show can be in any language as long as it’s subtitled, but it has to be an American production or, at least, an American co-production.”

Meantime, the Primetime Emmy Awards has seen an influx of shows from streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon. Since they’re Web-based, they can be viewed anytime, which raises the question of why they’re part of the Primetime broadcast.

“When something is on the Internet and you can’t really say a time, the two academies usually make that decision by genre,” Michaels says. “So, if something is a soap opera on Netflix, then it would go to us for Daytime. If something is a sitcom on Netflix, it would go to Primetime.”

The streaming services are represented in the Daytime Emmy Awards in other categories, such as children’s programming, but asked if Netflix or Amazon would ever produce an original, traditional soap opera, Michaels says, “It’s the best idea I’ve heard this month.”

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  1. Turner U says:

    Add the British soaps that are on hulu

  2. IT 2 IT says:

    MIND CONTROL media is pretty much FINISHED.

    WORD —IS—- GETTING AROUND.

  3. Juli says:

    Why can’t they just add Best Actress/Actor, Supporting Actress/Actor, and Best Daytime Soap to the Primetime Emmy’s. Or, just call it the Emmys.

    They waste time on Best Chorography; but, can’t be bothered to help the Daytime Emmys?

  4. cat says:

    if they want the emmys to succeed just bring back MAC, OLTL, GL, & ATWT online or on the regular networks they were on or create new tv soaps i mean wth would u cancel soaps that were on since the 50s-70s if the writing wasnt good then the producers shoulda hired writers that were going to get the job done. I miss ALL MY CHILDREN, ONE LIFE TO LIVE, GUIDING LIGHT, AND AS THE WORLD TURNS dearly i wish there was some way that ABC and CBS could change their minds n bring these shows back. We could start online petitions or protest we need to let our voice be heard

  5. MissDivaGlamour says:

    Here we go again….much like the Oscars why are none of the minority web soaps listed as contenders? This needs to stop. Maybe Victoria Rowell has a point…the minority shows cant even get respect on the web. I will just start my hashtag #EmmysSoWhite now in preparation. ..its oke to mention the minority shows, the world wont end.

  6. Lulu says:

    Reality and talk shows are all garbage. They all talk about the same garbage. And NOBODY CARES.

  7. Jeanne says:

    I hate how so-called “reality ” shows have taken over the TV industry. It is so depressing. Everybody wants their 15 minutes of fame….some are so bad it is embarrassing. You know they are scripted nobody’s life is that interesting. How sad watching other people live their lives instead of actually living your own life. This is also eliminating jobs for actors, actresses, and the craft industry. I am amazed that there are 4 soap operas left….they are hanging for dear life to these dramas for as much long as the networks allows them to exist…I still find it appalling that people like the Kardashians are making millions on their scripted reality shows..famous for nothing terrible role models for younger people.
    I want us to go back to entertaining TV shows that make us feel good..dump all this reality crap.

  8. austinandjustin says:

    Soap operas are gone because the industry killed them. Stories became retreads. Different characters but the same stories, nothing really changing but the names. Writers were brought in who cared nothing for the show’s history and instead attempted to rewrite it, which was extremely disrespectful to the fans. I remember when soap stories were ahead of the curve, then they fell below the curve. Imagination was left behind for bed hopping. And don’t get me started about character’s deaths. No one should be brought back to life time and time again.

  9. mrsfoxxe says:

    Can’t give award to something that doesn’t exist!!! I wish soaps were back & talk shows gone!

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