Daytime Emmys: NATAS Responds to Potential Boycott by Broadcast Soaps

Will the Daytime Emmys go on?

The four remaining broadcast soaps – “The Bold and the Beautiful,” “Days of Our Lives,” “General Hospital,” and “The Young and the Restless” – have joined forces by sending a letter to the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, expressing their lack of confidence in NATAS’ current administration.

The four soaps are so serious about their concerns that they are threatening to not participate in future Daytime Emmy Awards unless these issues are addressed.

Multiple sources tell Variety that there’s been disillusionment for some time between the broadcast soaps and NATAS.

The catalyst for this joint letter — which was sent to NATAS chair Terry O’Reilly and interim president and CEO Adam Sharp— was the organization’s recent decision to revoke a Daytime Emmy awarded to actress Patrika Darbo (“The Bay”) in the outstanding guest performer in a digital daytime drama series category. Variety broke the story that Darbo was stripped of her award after it was discovered she had been submitted in the wrong category.

Further complicating matters, multiple sources confirmed to Variety that Jennifer Bassey (“Anacostia”), the actress with the next highest number of votes, was told she was being given the award – only to have that decision also be reversed. The winner of the outstanding supporting actor in a daytime digital series was allowed to keep his award, despite the potential violations in his submission. The rules called for up to four episodes being allowed on his reel, but five episodes were included.’

Given the current nationwide focus on gender and pay equality, the decision did not sit well within the soaps community.

The issues addressed in the two-page letter, which Variety has obtained a copy of, also include conflict of interest in voter pools, limiting voting to members of NATAS of the Television Academy, winners not being known in advance, and keeping the competition separate from the awards show. The letter was signed by Greg Meng, co-executive producer, “Days of Our Lives,” Frank Valentini, executive producer, “General Hospital,” John Fisher, supervising producer, “The Young and the Restless,” Eva Basler, VP Communications, “The Bold and the Beautiful,” and Steven Kent, SEVP Programming, “The Young and the Restless.”

In response to the letter, NATAS issued the following statement: “Today, I received correspondence raising concerns about some elements of the 2018 Daytime EMMY awards and concerns over its administration. We have great confidence in the integrity of our EMMY awards system, and believe it effectively honors the best work being done in Daytime Television today. That being said, we always take concerns about our systems seriously….and out of abundance of caution I have instructed that outside counsel be trained to evaluate these concerns and conduct an independent look at them.”

The joint move by the four soaps is certainly a rare one, but even more notable given that both “Bold” and “Days” did well at this year’s awards when the statuettes were handed out in late April.

“Bold” (tying “Sesame Street”) took home the most awards (seven) at the Creative Arts Ceremony. “Days,” which often had been shut out from major categories over the decades, earned Daytime Emmys for Outstanding Drama Series, Outstanding Drama Series Writing Team, and Outstanding Drama Series Directing team. Not since “Ryan’s Hope” in 1977 had a show won all three major awards in the same year.

“Days” also won Outstanding Lead Actor for James Reynolds, who plays Abe Carver, and Outstanding Supporting Actor for Greg Vaughan, who plays Eric Brady.

Read the full letter below.

Dear Mr. O’Reilly and Mr. Sharp:

We are disheartened by the recent events involving NATAS and the 45th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards competition and the decisions made by NATAS regarding the Digital categories of Supporting Actor and Guest Star.

We feel the time is appropriate to bring to your attention our serious concerns about the Daytime Emmy Awards competition.

The Bold and the Beautiful, Days of Our Lives, General Hospital and The Young and the Restless are united in their decision not to participate in the Daytime Emmy Awards moving forward until these important issues are resolved.

The shows want a competition free of bias, perceived collusion, and personal agendas.

Our concerns include, but are not limited to, the following:

1. Voting:
• Voting should be limited to members of NATAS or the Television Academy.
• All members should be eligible to vote for outstanding show. The current process in which NATAS selects who votes is unacceptable.
• All qualified members in a given category should be eligible to vote in that category.
• We are concerned about conflict of interest in the voter pools. We require complete transparency of the voting process.

2. Accountancy Firm:
• NATAS must stop instructing the accounting firm to disqualify certain ballots because of NATAS perception of block voting or other issues that NATAS arbitrarily deems a reason to disqualify.
• A written procedure must be put in place for questioning and if necessary disqualify a ballot.
• An independent body needs to deal with all process issues and or discrepancies.
• NATAS must have an arm’s length relationship with the accountants.
• An outside, neutral third party must be hired to audit the voting process across all categories for the 2017/2018 awards and those results must be made available to us and to the TV Academy.

3. Winners Known in Advance:
• We were promised by NATAS senior management that the winners would only be known to the accountants prior to being announced on stage. This has not been the practice.
• Despite their assurance, it was clear during the April 2018 ceremony that the winners were known by many in advance. This is unacceptable.

4. Competition vs. Awards Show:
• We feel that it is a conflict of interest for the executive(s) administering the competition in any way, shape or form to also produce the awards show. The executive in charge of the competition is responsible for the integrity of the competition and the awards. We feel that this conflict contributed to recent transgressions regarding the Digital Guest and Supporting performer categories.
• NATAS must hire a team, separate from the competition executive(s), to produce and executive produce the actual awards show.
• The rules need to be more detailed and include the procedure and process for all aspects of the competition.

The concerns listed above are very serious to us. Our goal is to bring integrity back to the Daytime Emmy competition and awards show. We have no confidence in the ability of the persons currently running the competition to accomplish this goal.

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • 'Spoonbenders' Adaptation Set at Showtime With

    'Spoonbenders' Adaptation From Stephen Falk Lands at Showtime With Production Commitment

    Berlanti Productions has set up the one-hour drama “Spoonbenders” at Showtime with a pilot production commitment, Variety has learned. The project is based on the 2017 novel of the same name by Daryl Gregory. It is about The Amazing Telemachus Family, a traveling family magic act that happened to be made up of people with actual magic [...]

  • Tony Hall, Director General of the

    BBC Could Move More Operations Outside London, Its Boss Suggests

    Amid longstanding complaints from many viewers that the BBC is too London-centric, the boss of the world’s most famous pubcaster hinted Thursday that it could move more of its operations and programming outside the British capital. Tony Hall, the BBC’s director general, said the organization had already made “enormous strides” in geographical diversity. “A decade [...]

  • Brad Simpson Nina Jacobson

    Nina Jacobson, Brad Simpson Renew FX Overall Deal

    Nina Jacobson and Brad Simpson are keeping their Color Force production banner at FX Productions, with the producers signing a new four-year overall deal with the company. “Our creative collaboration with Nina and Brad has been rewarding, not just in the rich and growing catalogue of event and signature series they’ve helped produce for FX, [...]

  • NBCUNIVERSAL LOGOS -- Pictured: "E!" Logo

    NBCUniversal Cable Hit With Significant Layoffs Amid Restructuring

    Amid a restructuring, another round of layoffs are set to impact NBCUniversal’s E!, Bravo, Oxygen, USA and Syfy networks Thursday, a source familiar with the situation tells Variety, not long after the E! network laid off around 20-25 staff in August. This round of layoffs is likely to impact fewer than 45 employees, more than [...]

  • Peaky Blinders Season 5

    Time-Jumping Season 5 of 'Peaky Blinders' Aims for a More Cinematic Look

    Cinematographer Si Bell was thrilled to learn he and director Anthony Byrne had been tapped to shoot the fifth season of BBC’s “Peaky Blinders,” but surprised to find out how free a hand executive producers Caryn Mandabach and Jamie Glazebrook were giving them to determine the scheme of their six-episode run. “I expected to meet the [...]

  • Daniel Levy Schitts Creek

    'Schitt's Creek' Co-Creator Dan Levy Signs ABC Studios Overall Deal

    “Schitt’s Creek” breakout Dan Levy has signed a multi-year overall deal at ABC Studios. Under the deal, Levy will develop and produce scripted projects for the studio. “Dan Levy has proven himself as one of the most creative people in the TV business,” said Jonnie Davis, president of ABC Studios. “His writing, acting and producing [...]

  • Barry Bill Hader

    Emmys 2019: Clear Favorites and Top Challengers for This Year's Winners (Column)

    If this felt like the longest, most expensive Emmy campaign in history, you might be right. For one thing, the 2019 Primetime Emmys will be held Sept. 22, which is the latest the ceremony has taken place since 2013. That also happened to be the last year of TV’s quaint, pre-streaming era, before outlets like [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content