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In one of the most unbearable heat waves to ever hit Southern California, the 35th Annual Daytime Emmys were handed out at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood. After the second year in a row of a meltdown by the press (yours truly) and stars alike during the red carpet arrivals, I think NATAS should reconsider its position and possibly move the broadcast back to April when we could all enjoy the festivities a hell of a lot more.

In a shocking victory, “GH” took home the top honor for Outstanding Drama Series. The show’s executive producer, Jill Farren Phelps, upon hitting the podium, echoed this sentiment in jest, “Well, this was expected! “ “GH’s” win gave the series a record ten Emmys in the category. Speaking of ten, that was the number of nominations and times it took before the beloved Jeanne Cooper (Katherine Chancellor) of “Y&R” finally took home her much deserved gold! The standing ovation of the night, both inside the theatre and backstage, belonged to Jeanne. Her son, actor Corbin Bernsen, was on hand to celebrate with mom.

Earlier in the broadcast, it felt like “OLTL” was finally going to get the elusive hat trick, writing, directing and series honors, but it failed to do so. My thought is that the “High School Musical” submission tanked its chances for the big prize. If the series had submitted both 10,0000 anniversary episodes surrounding the death of Asa Buchanan, I think it could have topped “GH’s” Metro Court Hostage story. Kudos however, to Ron Carlivati, the inspiring and brilliant head writer of “OLTL”, who was rightfully rewarded for his original stories and his homage to Llanview history.

“GH’s” Anthony Geary (Luke Spencer), probably the all-time best actor on soaps, now ties “OLTL’s Erika Slezak (Viki) and “GL’s Justin Deas (Buzz) as the only three daytime actors to have won 6 Daytime Emmys! Geary seemed genuinely affected on the stage receiving his award. The winning episodes featured both drama and over-the-top comedy as Luke visits Hell.

Other than “OLTL’s” victories in Directing and Writing, the only other two categories I correctly predicted were Supporting Actress and Younger Actor. And those wins came by way of two of the genres most stellar performers. “GL’s” Gina Tognoni (Dinah Marler) gave a riveting performance this year and she was rewarded. This is Gina’s second win in this category. “GL’s” former star, Tom Pelphrey (Ex-Jonathan Randall) who gave the Emmy performance of last year was duly rewarded. Very emotional during his acceptance speech, he alluded to missing his pals at “GL” and his father who died this past year. In the press room, Tom and I chatted, and we recalled the last time he was in the winner’s circle, when I was in a neck brace recovering from my surgery. As I sat in the front row of the pressroom, he looked at me and yelped from the stage, “Are you alright?” We had a laugh about that moment. Pelphrey now resides in LA, and is looking to make a name for himself in features and primetime. We, who cover the soaps, will miss his exceptional and mesmerizing talents.

My pal, “Y&R’s” Kristoff St. John, took the Supporting Actor prize in another stunner!
In a category where there was no clear-cut front runner, Kristoff’s performance of a man grieving the loss of his wife and his subsequent battle with booze, KOd’ the other gents who also got schknockered on their reels… except for “Y&R’s” brilliant Greg Rikaart (Kevin) who just got bloody in his submissions! But, in all seriousness, I felt that Emmy voters might give Kristoff the prize, based on his very smart submission choices. This is Kristoff’s second Emmy. The last time he took a trip to the podium was back in 1991-1992, as a Younger Actor winner for “Generations”.

“ATWT’s” just exited, Jennifer Landon (Ex-Gwen and Cleo) tied the record for most consecutive wins in her category: Outstanding Younger Actress. Landon’s win is her third in a row. Former “B&B” star, Jennifer Finnegan (Ex-Bridget) took home the gold three times from 2001-2003. Landon paid homage to her dad, the late actor Michael Landon, from the stage in French. You can see her explanation in the Press Room Clips Media Gallery of the Emmy section.

The Talk show awards were staggered and handed out to: Ellen DeGeneres, Talk Show Host; Tyra Banks, Talk Show/Informative; and Rachael Ray, Talk Show/Entertainment.

And there you have it…The 35th Annual Daytime Emmys are now in the record books. Now, all of us critics, experts, viewers and fans, can start tracking the performances this year for 2009. Keep checking out my blog for any post-Emmy fallout, scoops and updates.

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Outstanding Drama Series

GENERAL HOSPITAL”

Outstanding Drama Series Writing Team

“ONE LIFE TO LIVE”

Outstanding Drama Series Directing Team

“ONE LIFE TO LIVE”

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series

JEANNE COOPER, “THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS”

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series

ANTHONY GEARY, “GENERAL HOSPITAL”

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

GINA TOGNONI, “GUIDING LIGHT”

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

KRISTOFF ST. JOHN, “THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS”

Outstanding Younger Actress in a Drama Series

JENNIFER LANDON, “AS THE WORLD TURNS”

Outstanding Younger Actor in a Drama Series

TOM PELPHREY, “GUIDING LIGHT”

Outstanding Achievement in Art Direction/Set Decoration/Scenic Design For A Drama Series

“AS THE WORLD TURNS” and “THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS” (TIE)

Outstanding Achievement for a Casting Director For A Drama Series

“GENERAL HOSPITAL”

Outstanding Achievement for Costume Design For A Drama Series

“ONE LIFE TO LIVE”

Outstanding Achievement in Hairstyling For A Drama Series

“DAYS OF OUR LIVES”

Outstanding Achievement in Multiple Cameras Editing For A Drama Series

“THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL”

Outstanding Achievement in Lighting Direction For A Drama Series

“ONE LIFE TO LIVE”

Outstanding Achievement in Makeup For A Drama Series

“AS THE WORLD TURNS”

Outstanding Achievement in Music Direction and Composition For A Drama Series

“GUIDING LIGHT”

Outstanding Original Song

“ONE LIFE TO LIVE” (TIE) “LITTLE STARR” and “YOU’RE THE FREAK”

Outstanding Achievement in Live & Direct To Tape Sound Mixing For A Drama Series

“GUIDING LIGHT”

Outstanding Achievement in Technical Direction/Electronic Camera/Video Control For A Drama Series

“ALL MY CHILDREN”

*NATAS photo images by Marc Byran-Brown