April 27th, 2010  |  Leave a comment

The Jim Romanovich Interview- 37th Annual Daytime Emmys

Associated Television International’s, Jim Romanovich, President, Worldwide Media and Entertainment spoke to On-Air On-Soaps to bring us up to date on the just announced plans for the telecast of the presentation of the 37th Annual Daytime Emmys.  Soap fans were somewhat in a state of shock this past Friday, when it was revealed that CBS has agreed to air the broadcast this June, and so the Emmys are back on network television!  However, one major difference; the show won’t be emanating from Los Angeles or New York, but “Sin City”…Las Vegas.  Jim shares his thoughts, and gives us a peek at what went down behind-the-scenes with NATAS and CBS to give daytime fans another year to see their favorites honored and recognized.   He also responds to issues concerning last year’s creative decisions and inherent problems, and how it may or may not be different this year.

MICHAEL:

What can you speak to, as far as special presentations and honors for the televised broadcast?

JIM:

I can’t give too many details, but one tribute we are planning is the Lifetime Achievement Award.  We did not choose the recipient, but NATAS did and that person has not been contacted yet.  If they agree, then they will be honored by it. I think a lot of people in the soaps would agree and will love it.

MICHAEL:

Why Vegas?

JIM:

The Vegas idea has been going and has been a done deal since November, because of the success we had in last August’s Emmy presentation. And, it’s the 40th Anniversary of the Las Vegas Hilton.  It’s a big milestone for them.  I think Vegas and Daytime have a synergy about fashion, glitz and glamour, and all that.  We did not want to repeat what we did last year.  We thought we brought something back, and we are taking it to the next step.  CBS took a while and NATAS took a while for all this to become a reality.

MICHAEL:

What were the stumbling blocks that dragged out the confirmation of a televised broadcast?

JIM:

The stumbling block with NATAS was the same thing it always has been, which is money, because their survival is always on ticket sales.  Did it make sense to do a TV show in Las Vegas?  Or, did it make sense just to have a dinner at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles, and keep their overhead low and get a bunch of people to come?  Our feeling is, and still is, that the Daytime Emmys deserve to be on television, and it’s important for NATAS’s survival be on TV.  It was a long process because you are dealing with board members, and trustees, and everything is by committee. 

MICHAEL:

Vegas seems a very odd choice.  Are you going to fly people there, when last year it was hard to get people to LA from the NY shows?

JIM:

Well, first of all, there are less people in the soaps now in New York. (Laughs) Listen; if we were living in a perfect world, everything should be in New York, in my opinion.   LA was never supposed to be the soap town; it was always supposed to be New York.  What we are trying to do is rebuild it for what today’s realities are, and that is the daytime community is really more west coast based now.

MICHAEL:

Was it somehow a cost effective move, deciding to mount the show in Vegas?

JIM:

No, not really.  It can be more expensive.  Last year we wanted to make a point with the Orpheum.  We wanted to give it a sense of grandeur.  The location was not ideal by any stretch of the imagination.  Would we have rather been in the Kodak Theatre? Absolutely, but the Kodak was not available.  So what we tried to do is improvise it and make it a mini-Radio City Music Hall feel.  And because of that, we are now taking it to the next level of showmanship and entertainment.  The CBS deal would have never happened had it not been for Las Vegas.  It gave them another angle to promote. They wanted a real show, and they wanted something that they felt would boost the ratings.

MICHAEL: 

© JPI Studios

People were shocked that CBS was going to air the show when they canceled two of their soaps, As the World Turns and Guiding Light within the last year and a half.  What would you say to those that are feeling that CBS is sending out a mixed message to the soap fans?

JIM:

CBS is a business.  They are not emotionally involved in anything, and that includes Let’s Make A Deal, or if 20,000 Pyramid or Password comes back.  What they are looking at is money. They want to be in the business of making good shows and making money.  Unfortunately, As the World Turns – as great as the strides have been the last year – they had been declining for the past several years.  TeleNext tells me they would have loved to continue it.  I know CBS is not looking to get out of the soap business, and that is not their mantra.  They have two of the top rated soaps.  B&B is the number one show internationally, and Y&R is the number one daytime show, and does better ratings then many primetime dramas.  Daytime is very important to them, and everything that goes along with it.  They want to boost their morning show, and all of that. 

MICHAEL:

So what will be the theme of the show?

JIM:

I can’t talk specifically because we don’t have any thing set in stone, but the feel is Vegas Salutes Daytime.  So, I know our hard-core Daytime Emmy viewers like award, award, award, and then credits.  I think that is why the ratings have been slipping because that had been the case.  We started to bring in some entertainment value last year and that pissed off some of the diehards, who would have rather have had another award category. But for the people watching in primetime that are flicking channels, they are going to stop and watch if there is some entertainment.  The Oscars, Grammys, and the Tonys do it.  I guarantee you, if we had not done the entertainment value like we did this last year; we were not going to be able to save the Daytime Emmys being televised.

MICHAEL:

What can you say to people who want to see their favorite soap stars glammed up and getting more time on primetime?  Last year you got pushback when viewers saw host Vanessa Williams and Gilles Marini in a dance number, instead.  Soap fans felt the show became more diluted then in the past.

JIM:

That is valid because it’s very personal to them, and soaps second to sports, I think have the most vehement fans in the world.  I am the same way.  You have to look at it from a perspective that there are seven, soon to be six, soaps. And even so, 85% of the viewing time of the Daytime Emmys is about the soaps, even though there is only six hours of daytime television devoted to the genre.  We don’t spend that much time on children’s shows or half the amount of time on court shows, and there are a ton of those.  The soaps are really the reason the Emmys exist, but we have to acknowledge the other types of shows.  I look at this as a celebration of daytime in which everyone is represented, but because ATI is involved, and me personally, we are going to make sure that the soaps are very well represented.

MICHAEL:

Good to reiterate you are a champion and friend to the soap genre.   Now, after last year’s broadcast and feedback, and memorable incidents that did not sit well with the viewing audience, what changes is ATI going to make?  Or, what have they learned from last year’s show?

JIM:

One thing we are going to try to do is to get CBS to agree not to cut us off at ten o’ clock! (Laugh) This time we are on from 9pm-11pm, which I think will improve the amount of viewers, and this time we are on Sunday instead of Friday.  Remember, CBS scheduled this on Sunday, as opposed to Friday as it had been.  And, Friday is next to the graveyard on television because no one is home on Friday night.  Sunday night is a great night for award night.  We did the last show as if it was the last one, and we are doing this show as if it is the last one. I believe we now have the option for one more year because of this.  It all depends if we can improve upon what we did, and if there is enough support, and I look at the soap fans for this.  I read a lot of stuff they say.  Some I don’t agree with, and some I do.  There are others who write, “If Crystal Chappell doesn’t win they will never watch this show again.”  She is a wonderful actress, but you have that fan base. They will crucify you if their person doesn’t win…because sometimes fans think politics is a factor… and they say, it’s a joke, and the show’s a joke.  And it is like you said, Michael, why show Vanessa and Gilles dancing when you could show soap stars?  Our point of view is because of the entertainment we brought last time out, CBS agreed to do it.

MICHAEL:

But you are looking to tailor the show to the broadest primetime audience, correct?

JIM:

I am a huge soap and daytime fan, but if you are running in primetime, you have to cater to a primetime audience.  That is just the way it is.  There was a time in the late 80’s and early 90’s, where the daytime audience was eclipsing the primetime audience, and when you had Liz Taylor on GH.  Back then daytime was the money mill.  It’s a shame it’s not anymore.

MICHAEL:

One of the things that was a big issue last year was viewers were hard pressed to find any on-air promos to properly promote tune-in.  Will there be more promos this time?

JIM:

We were very upset about that last year, because we took a lot of care to bring this thing back, and the network treated it like we were lucky to be there… when in fact they were lucky to have us!  CBS said they would help us with on-air promos, and it’s in their best interest.

MICHAEL:

Will you be having a Daytime Gives Back segment like you did last year?

JIM:

We do have a Daytime Gives Back again this year.  And this time it’s Americans Feeding America for a change.  We are going to do a food drop in South Central L.A.  We are putting another contingent together where we are going to be giving back to soldier’s families, and these are soldiers that are just back from Afghanistan and Iraq.  They come back and they find their homes and life is different.  It’s a frightening and sad thing that these men and women come back and have all these debts.  I think it’s a positive message for daytime to be involved in.

MICHAEL:

So, is there a game plan in place to move forward with a tribute, in some fashion, to As the World Turns? Previously, you had stated that it didn’t look like that was a reality, but instead you were thinking the show would do a tribute to All My Children celebrating their 40th anniversary?  Where does this all stand?

JIM:

I don’t have a game plan yet, because we are waiting on those who make those decisions to tell us.  I met with TeleNext in Cannes.  I said, “We are planning to do the Daytime Emmys on June 27th, and I wanted to talk about getting the ATWT cast there so the possibility of a tribute can be done.”  And they said, “It’s a bad week.  We are shooting our last episodes right around that time.  I don’t know if we can even make it.”  So, we are trying to figure out what to do there.

MICHAEL:

Why not have one star, Julianne Moore, come out and just introduce a clip package befitting the show?

JIM:

© JPI Studios

I mentioned Julianne Moore to the Academy and CBS.  I would love her to do this.  We are going to do everything we can to do something for As the World Turns.  I think there may be an acknowledgment with All My Children for their 40th anniversary, but I think the most important thing with AMC is to document their move west, which was the most important thing that happened to them, and what it meant, but that may be part of something else.  All of these things are on the plate.  I did not think there would be an ATWT tribute for these reasons: One, the cost value of getting everybody out there.  Two, P&G, TeleNext and NATAS wanting it to happen… and three, CBS wanting it to happen.

MICHAEL:

If CBS is involved and P&G is packing up boxes and closing shop in Oakdale, why can’t CBS supply ATWT clips to your Emmy production team?

JIM:

I do not think it was a clip issue.  You saw the interview with the P&G guy who said, “We are out of the soap business,” and that does not bode well for helping with the Daytime Emmys.  I think people that watch the Emmys are soap people.  I know that.  I am pushing for things involving the soaps really hard.

MICHAEL:

Is there going to be a Pre-Show this year?

JIM:

CBS is not going to do a Pre-Show.  I have talked to a variety of cable networks – and no, not SOAPnet - they are just not interested.  I am talking to the E’s and TV Guide Network’s, and telling them we are going to have a red carpet and in Las Vegas. I know the ET’s and Access Hollywood’s will be there, but we will not do gavel to gavel coverage like last year. We produced that third hour last year because we wanted to expand our show.  CBS is not going to do that.  They are not going to use a red carpet meet and greet when they can run Undercover Boss. Actually, I would rather have them run Undercover Boss because I want that lead in.  (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

What about host candidates?

JIM:

Courtesy/NATAS

There have been some bantered around.  However, I do think that the person chosen will have a “Vanessa Williams” quality… meaning they have to have an appeal and be an entertainer. 

MICHAEL:

Final question that many fans want to know:  Does NATAS dictate the awards that are presented, or do you, as the production entity, have a say in what makes it to air and what categories get cut?

JIM:

ATI does not decide. The two entities that decide what categories absolutely have to be on the air, are NATAS and the broadcaster.  Then we plot the show around that.  I don’t feel for a moment that it won’t be an entertaining show.  I think there will be moments of hilarity, song and dance, sadness and nostalgia.   I think all of those things will be there. We do this with the sense that if this is the last one, lets go out with something memorable… and if it’s not the last, then we gave them a great show.

  1. allison6071 says:

    I think it was very unfair for Mr. Romanovich to single out the fan base of one specific actress as an example, as I’m sure many fan bases are passionate about who they support. I’m also certain the letters and/or responses he receives from Ms. Chappell’s fans are nothing new to him or the industry. Therefore, in my opinion, If Crystal Chappell wins the Emmy for Best Leading Actress in a Daytime drama, which I believe her work from 2009 reflects she so rightfully deserves. There will always be a question behind it and that is very unfair. I’m very disappointed in Mr. Romanovich’s comments and feel they were unnecessary and unprofessional.

    Reply

  2. Jordy Lee says:

    I am confused. I have always thought of Jim and the Emmy’s to be professional. I am quite disturbed at the comment about Crystal Chappell. If fans have written those comments then, that is unfortunate, but does not take away from this awesome actress and her talent. I find it hard to believe that NO other actress has had fans write in about being upset regarding their favorites not winning. I mean in the 19 years it took Susan Lucci to take home the Emmy, there were no distraught fans Jim? Why single out one particular actress?

    So, should we watch this year or has Jim decided that Crystal should not win because she has passionate fans that are invested in this story line and still distraught over losing the Guiding Light period.

    Could this be why the Emmy’s are having a hard time with ratings and finding a network to host the show? Just saying,……Lets infuriate and insult fan bases and then expect them to support the show. With problems with the ratings last year, maybe you should be thankful for Chappell’s passionate fans, after all, they are still watching.

    Reply

    Justin replied

    You certainly are confused because you didn’t read what the man had said. He was obviously citing an example of how some fans will not support The Daytime Emmys if they feel their favorite star was snubbed. Last year, Ms. Chappell was constantly in the news as being snubbed for her excellent work in GL for the 2009 Emmys so his comment was relating to that. You criticize a person who has done everything he can to save your shows? He also offered to to fund a new GL. Anybody else coming to the rescue? You should be ashamed.

    Reply

    Jordy Lee replied

    Ashamed…. for speaking my mind and adding my opinion…sorry for you , but NO….For anyone that tried to save GL, we are all appreciative. It is my understanding that the funding of a new GL was an overseas venture that would have had a completely new cast, so that option would not have helped this cast have jobs. This year, we are loosing ASWT. I would be as upset if any other actress fan base was apparently called out. I am sure they deal with numerous fan bases that are upset. My ONLY problem was calling out one actress as it is her fault that she has fans that at times may go a little far. I am sure they all do. I have watched and supported CBS Soaps for more than 30 years and have never threatened not to support baed on one of my favorites winning.

    So, ashamed for having and speaking my opinion…again … NO….
    Last time I checked, this was still a democracy….

    Michael Fairman replied

    Hi Jordy:
    You know I am a HUGE supporter of everything Crystal Chappell. I interviewed Jim, and I can say he was only citing an example of a huge and terrific fan base that is passionate about their star. In no way during his tone in the interview that I conducted did I feel he was being degerratory toward Crystal, or her talent, or that she does not deserve to win a much deserved Emmy. I hope this helps clarify. I thank you though for your comments and am always very interested to hear yout thoughts and those that come to the website.

    Reply

    Jordy Lee replied

    Thank-You Michael…. I know you to be a supporter of Crystal. I am very glad to know your perspective on those comments. I do watch and support Crystal, but I also watch and support all of the CBS Soaps and now DOOL and have done so for more than 30 years. I was just a little surprised to hear one actress fan base called out for what appeared to be derragatory by threatening not to watch if their actress doesn’t win. I in no way support that behavior. I appreciate your fairness and supporting all of them equally.

  3. Katie says:

    I love that Jim has worked so hard to get the show on the air, that said I don’t think its fair to have a daytime emmy show and cater to primetime viewers look I wouldnt of minded Vanessa Williams dancing if it had been with Cameron Matheson (yikes I dislike Ryan) since he’s a daytime star and the primetime audience knows him from Dancing with the Stars. I also don’t like how he called out Crystals fans but I don’t think he has any say in who wins. I know that the emmy’s wont be perfect, nor were last years I just wish that they wouldnt cater so much to the non viewers but ehhh what do I know.

    Reply

  4. bottomchef says:

    http://goldderbyforums.latimes.com/eve/forums/

    Here’s a link to suggestions from goldderby members on how to improve the awards show.

    Reply

    Potassium replied

    Entertain me!!!

    Sorry I don’t agree with the bulk of the suggestions on goldderby. I watch one soap opera. I am not going to waste my time watching a show that simply hands out odd looking statues to a bunch of people I don’t know. Showing me an endless array of clips of tortured characters that I am unfamiliar with will make me scramble for the remote.

    I think Jim and the NATAS are on the right track. The show is in June, just like my kids’ end of year awards ceremonies. By the time the Emmy’s roll around I will have already sat through several hours where the crowd politely claps as someone I don’t know walks across the stage, smiles and shakes the hand of someone in a nice outfit. With technology being an important buzzword in schools we even get montages. I have no desire to sit through another award ceremony just to see if a handful of my soap favorites thank their spouses and the writers.

    If Jim and CBS want me to tune into the Emmys they are going to have to entertain me. There is a lot of talent in daytime, that is what I want to see! Bring on Las Vegas!

    Reply

  5. ben says:

    Nowhere does he say that Crystal Chappell doesnt deserve to win or to be nominated, nor does he bash her acting skills. IMO it was just an example. I will never not watch an Awards show just because one actor or actress isn’t nominated. Thats ridiculous.

    Reply

  6. Iheartmusic says:

    I’m looking forward to the Emmy’s!!!!!!!!!! So excited! <3 u jim

    Reply

  7. Frances Nonenmacher says:

    There indeed should be a Tribute to As The World Turns. They have kept me watching for 54 years. I have always considered them Daytime best and always will.

    No one does it better then As The World Turns. I will keep fighting for the show until the very end. I am praying they get a new home.

    Reply

  8. Torrey says:

    I don’t understand why NBC doesn’t pick up ATWT. They are down to DOOL and I think they could use a little more daytime soap drama in their lineup. I don’t watch ATWT, but I am a fan of daytime television, so I hate to see yet another show yanked off of television. There used to be a time when there were like 13 soap operas on TV, now we will be down to 6. Someone needs to step in and save our soaps.

    Reply

  9. rita says:

    Please do not cancell DOOL..Love that soap…for many years. What would they replace it with??…Another infomercial or talk show UGH!!! At least we are not getting reruns and how wouldl I know all the new products!!!!!! I wouldn’t be watching daytime TV anymore..because no soaps..Get with it sponsers!!!!!!!

    Reply

  10. Charles says:

    The advent of cable should be the tool to save AS The World…………….but it won’t because it has too many judge shows…………two of the could easily go…….and in its place AS The World……….but we’re dealing with actors and the salaries of actors……….reality television will never let go of these lucurative time slots and place a group of talented actors……..and a script…………..maybe their last hope is to ask Oprah to sell/but it for her network………………….

    Reply

  11. Janine says:

    I would like to know why there are no tickets available to the public who will happen to be in Vegas at that time and would love to see their favorite stars, and not in the sweltering 120 degree heat of the the red carpet event.

    Reply

    Michael Fairman replied

    Hey Janine:
    I have been in touch with Jim Romanovich, and this year, the actual ceremonies are for industry only and there are no fan tickets being sold or offered. However fans are allowed to watch the red carpet preceedings at the Hilton in Vegas. It’s a very different situation because the cermonies are not emanating out of Los Angeles or New York this year.

    Thanks for your comment!
    Best,
    Michael

    Reply

    JAY ROBERTS replied

    HI, THERE ARE TICKETS BEING SOLD FOR $525.00 THROUGH ANGELA@AUDIENCE UNLIMTED.COM

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