On-Air On-Soaps is getting ready for the 39th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards which will be held for the first time at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California! And in another first, The Daytime Emmys will be televised live on cable network HLN on Saturday Night, June 23rd at 8PMEST/5PMPST! So to get you in the mood, we have looked into our soap opera crystal ball, watched all the nominated performances, series, and episodes, and have come up with some good old-fashioned odds in the major daytime drama categories, if you’re the betting kind.
The Daytime Emmys can be a tricky game to play, to predict, and to try to make sense out of who will take home the gold and why, especially when there are so many worthy nominees! So with deep thought, and a dash of good old-fashioned gut instinct, as we have done over the last several years, not only will On-Air On-Soaps Michael Fairman attempt to predict the winners, but also he will offer his picks for who he thinks should win in each of the categories! So you get the Will Win, Should Win and sometimes, the Don’t Count Out nominee, plus some analysis!
Now on to the awards! So here we go with On-Air On-Soaps fearless and fearful predictions for the 39th Annual Daytime Emmys. And to the nominees and our colleagues, we love you, and your work continues to inspire, so enjoy these last moments in the race to the finish line. You are all winners, no matter what! After reviewing our picks, let us know who you think Will Win and Should Win in the major categories!
OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS
- Erika Slezak 5 to 1
- Crystal Chappell 8 to 1
- Heather Tom 9 to 1
- Laura Wright 9 to 1
- Debbi Morgan 10 to 1
WILL WIN: Erika Slezak
SHOULD WIN: Erika Slezak
DON’T COUNT OUT: Crystal Chappell, Crystal Chappell, Laura Wright, Debbi Morgan
(It’s a race that is too close to call)
This year the Outstanding Lead Actress category looks like, from all the rumblings we have been hearing in the soap genre and from blue ribbon panel voters, to be a hotly contested race with such different and unique performances that the gold statuette could land in any one of the five nominees capable hands. With a victory on Saturday night, six-time Daytime Emmy winner, Erika Slezak could win her record seventh Emmy for Lead Actress, in what was one of the most bravura performances of her 40 year career on One Life to Live as the indomitable Viki Banks. And wouldn’t it be a bittersweet and emotional highpoint of the telecast, if Erika, in the year that saw One Life to Live canceled, takes home the gold in her final Emmy season as the leading character of the town of Llanview? In her Emmy reel, Erika plays three personalities, (two are Viki’s alters) in a battle for control of Viki’s mind. It is by far the longest reel in the competition, but Slezak is worth seeing in every second of footage flip-flopping from Niki to Jean to Viki and doing it in an amped up and tweaked version of her alters, since the entire episode goes on in Viki’s sub-conscious. The drawbacks to her submission: some industry voters feel that Erika’s reel in the pre-nominations, where Viki finds her husband Charlie in bed with her arch nemesis Echo, was by far the better choice. Slezak herself told us she couldn’t get all the material she wanted to make those scenes her Emmy reel for the final round of voting, because it was split over two shows and you are only allowed to submit one episode. So, she made the switch to her flashier 40th Anniversary episode. But hey, this is Erika Slezak who will go down in history as the quintessential soap actress with class, grace, and the ability to move us to tears time and time again. Many also seemed to be split on Debbi Morgan’s reel. In her final Emmy submission as Angie Hubbard on All My Children, Morgan submitted the scenes where Angie learns from her husband, Jesse, that her baby died and he switched their baby with another one to protect his wife from finding out the truth. Angie at the time was also blind. So you have Morgan, blind, screaming and crying in angst throughout her scenes. At times it felt like too much, but was it too much for Emmy voters, or did it have the perfect emotional wallop? Crystal Chappell was finally given material worthy of her talent during the last part of her run as Dr. Carly Manning on Days of our Lives. Chappell’s depiction of a woman so alone and abandoned, that she turns to injecting herself with painkillers and swallowing them, gave us a birds eye view of one’s battle and descent into addiction. For her Emmy selection, Chappell went for a harrowing depiction of an addict trying to detox. With barely any dialog and in the shortest reel of any leading performer in this years Emmy race, Carly writhes on the floor, thinks bugs are crawling all over her, screams to the hospital staff to let her out of isolation, is then tied to the bed in restraints, and later seems to hallucinate that her son Nicholas is there with her. Will the fact that there was not much dialog hurt Chappell’s chances? Or, did it wake up the voters to realizing so much can be said with so few words?
General Hospital’s Laura Wright gives what many feel is the most feel-it-from-your-gut performances on daytime television. Remember, she won for the first time in this category last year, and if there is one thing we have learned about the Emmys, once you’re in, you’re in! As Carly Corinthos Jacks, Wright had the incredible feat on her reel of having to look sympathetic as a mother desperately need trying to save her own child’s life, while her best friend, Jason just lost his son, Jake. Carly has to ask if Jason if he can help her get his son’s kidney to save her daughter! Wright also has one of the most poignant lines of dialogue of the Emmy submission season when Carly tells her son, Michael that she “wanted nothing more in this world than to keep him and his sister safe in this world.” Any voting member who is a mother may have checked the name Wright on their ballot after that heart-tugger! And finally, this brings us to real life mom-to-be Heather Tom of The Bold and the Beautiful. Many say she played the Emmy game perfectly with a solid reel that had beginning, middle, and end to her story arc and it was understandable too! As Katie, who just suffered a heart attack, she confronts the woman threatening her marriage. Later she asks her husband Bill to make a choice, either the younger enticing Steffy, or her. At the end, she tells Bill, “You will have to beg for my forgiveness in order for me to take you back.” Strong words, and there is no doubt that this is a very strong submission by Tom. Of note: if Heather Tom wins, she will have won in all three acting categories; Younger, Supporting Actress and Lead. Could this be a history making night?
OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR
- Antony Geary 3 to 1
- Darnell Williams 4 to 1
- Robert S. Woods 8 to 1
- Maurice Benard 10 to 1
- John McCook 13 to 1
WILL WIN: Anthony Geary
SHOULD WIN: Darnell Williams or Anthony Geary
DON’T COUNT OUT: Robert S. Woods
This looks to be a two-horse race, but we hope it will turn out to actually be a three! With that being said, General Hospital’s six-time Daytime Emmy winner, Anthony Geary submitted another one of his “killer” reels and no, it was not the episode Luke finds out or realizes he ran down and killed little Jake. Instead, Geary chose a reel of such depth, with a beginning, middle, and end, which highlights all of his acting strengths that he uses in Luke Spencer’s arsenal; the vulnerability, the inner-conflict, and the self-loathing. In scenes with Jonathan Jackson (Ex-Lucky), Geary’s Luke tells the young man he never wanted to be a father and that killing little Jake moved him from beyond redemption. And by the way, these scenes are being played out at the Bordello Luke grew up in to make this all the more riveting! Perhaps, one of the most poignant and telling lines of the reel was when Luke was talking about what love means to him stating, that growing up around johns and seeing his sister turn tricks had taught him that love was commerce. This was Geary at his best! It’s hard to argue that there is anyone more original than this magnificent performer in the daytime field. And a win by Geary would make it a record setting seventh Daytime Emmy for Lead Actor and at this stage in his soap career; it does seem that he has earned it. That would then put Geary past the also-brilliant Justin Deas in the Emmy count! Now, out in the soap community it is Darnell Williams Emmy nominated performance from All My Children that people have been buzzing about. And with good reason! This was the performance that had everyone grabbing for the hankies. As Jesse Hubbard, he helps deliver his wife Angie’s baby, only Angie who is blind passes out during the labor. Jesse delivers the baby, only it’s not breathing. It’s dead! He is grieving and heartsick. How can this happen? How can he tell his wife? This was just a terrific performance! And it just could bring Williams the gold. And we would be cheering and rooting him on!
The actor that many would love to see delivering an acceptance speech on Emmy night is one of the most understated and brilliant actors to ever grace the soaps, Robert S. Woods (Bo) of One Life to Live. In his Emmy reel, Bo is trying to make a decision of whether to take his son Matthew off life-support and give his heart to his dying brother, Clint, who needs heart transplant surgery urgently. It comes down to, how do you make this kind of life-altering decision between your son and your brother? Heavy material! Problem was, who ever cut this reel together, it played too choppy! And we think it will hurt Woods chances, and the reel felt to short. This is of the reasons we think there should be a mandatory amount of time reels need to be in length, so there not too long or too short. That being said; we would love Woods to win! His entire body of work in 2011 was superb, and a win for Woods would be a win for One Life, who deserved so much better at Emmy time. That brings us to General Hospital’s Maurice Benard and The Bold and the Beautiful’s John McCook. Benard chose scenes where Brenda and Sonny have their final break-up. Sonny later breakdowns and cries, and then realizes Brenda probably would have never accepted his life as a mobster, try as she might. He ultimately ends up alone, once again. Benard is a one of a kind performer of such raw emotion and power. This was just not his strongest reel. As for John McCook of The Bold and the Beautiful, it’s wonderful to see that after 25 years of playing Eric Forrester he is getting another shot at a Daytime Emmy. In his very adult scenes between him and Susan Flannery (Stephanie), the issue of intimacy is the subject of the day with each of the characters coming at it from different points of view. She doesn’t want sex anymore because of her battle with cancer, and he wants to be close to his wife again. We just don’t think it can resonate above the other gentlemen’s performances in this category.
OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR
- Jonathan Jackson 2 to 1
- Jason Thompson 7 to 1
- Sean Blakemore 10 to 1
- Matthew Ashford 11 to 1
- Bradford Anderson 15 to 1
WILL WIN: Jonathan Jackson
SHOULD WIN: Jonathan Jackson
DON’T COUNT OUT: Jason Thompson
Four men from General Hospital vie for the prize against Matt Ashford from Days of our Lives for the Supporting Actor Daytime Emmy. So who will it be? It’s hard to bet against GH’s Jonathan Jackson! His body of work of endless emotion and heartbreaking performances in the 2011 Emmy season truly make us want to hand him an Emmy as the Best Actor of the Emmy season! But Jonathan is once again in the supporting category and although there were other personal favorite episodes of Jackson’s that we would have submitted, this one was strong, emotional, and had peaks and valleys and nuances to the performance as Lucky confronts Luke at the Haunted Star for drinking and driving and running down his son, Jake. If anything was a distraction, which could open the door for another actor to take this from Jackson, it was that Geary was so remarkable in these scenes also when he realizes he killed the little boy. But in the end look for JJ to take home his fifth Emmy.
If there is a spoiler to end the Jackson Emmy run, it could come in the form of his GH cast mate Jason Thompson. And while we all await next Emmy season where Thompson could clearly put himself in the Lead Actor category for Robin’s “death” and the funeral episodes, he chose a simpler slice of life depiction of Robin and Patrick in happier days celebrating the birthday of their little girl, Emma. It was cute, it was poignant, it was human, and it felt genuine. Could Thompson’s choice make voters warm and fuzzy? Just might. Matthew Ashford is one of the more unique, quirky actors on the soaps. He can do comedy and he can flip on a dime and be dramatic. And he illustrated his dramatic side so well with his submission where Jack tries to talk to shrink Marlena about his being held captive in Afghanistan and suffering from PTSD. Another war vet storyline featured Sean Blakemore as Shawn Butler on General Hospital, and in simple scenes with Laura Wright, Shawn on this being Veteran’s Day, reveals that he watched his own father be murdered. Plus, he reflected on the friendly fire incident that resulted in him killing another marine and taking a father from his son. It was beautifully understated and performed. Finally, GH’s Bradford Anderson submitted scenes as Jackal P.I. beginning to snap back into Damian Spinelli over Maxie, then played by Kirsten Storms. It felt like we were watching scenes from a stage play tailor made to Anderson strength’s.
OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS
- Rebecca Herbst 6 to 1
- Genie Francis 7 to 1
- Elizabeth Hendrickson 10 to 1
- Nancy Lee Grahn 13 to 1
- Melissa Claire Egan 14 to 1
WILL WIN: Rebecca Herbst
SHOULD WIN: Rebecca Herbst
DON’T COUNT OUT: Genie Francis
The supporting actress race always features some amazing performances and this year is no different. However, there are two that stand out among the rest which pits General Hospital’s Rebecca Herbst against her former on-screen mother-in-law, Genie Francis for her work as Genevieve on The Young and the Restless. Two powerhouse performances! Herbst as a grieving young mother who can’t let go of her brain-dead son, and who blames herself for the accident which took his little life, cries, lashes out, and in the end is completely selfless and help’s another mother’s child live through her son’s organ donation. It’s time the academy honors one of the unsung heroines of daytime in Herbst. That being said, Genie Francis submitted a blockbuster reel where we get our first glimpse of why Genevieve is such a damaged woman, and so spiteful, when she opens up to Jack about the death of her daughter, Samantha and admits that her estranged hubby Colin, is the only man she has ever been with! Later she and Jack head up the bed room to make love. There were plenty of layers and twists and turns in Francis’s performance that made it riveting to watch. Genie’s cast mate, Y&R’s Elizabeth Hendrickson (Chloe) delivered a very fine performance as a mother who blames herself for her not being there when her daughter is taken to the hospital, and she later learns the little girl has Leukemia. Former Daytime Emmy winner, GH’s Nancy Lee Grahn chose a two-person reel between her Alexis Davis, and Laura Wright as Carly. It seems like almost everyone from GH chose a reel with scenes with Wright in it! What does that say about La Wright? In the scenes, an emotional Alexis blasts Carly for her treatment of Jax, and Carly fires back that perhaps Alexis still loves him. Grahn is always one of the best in no matter what scenes she is in or chooses. And finally, Melissa Claire Egan in her chosen submission does the impossible by making crazy Annie pathetic and sympathetic all at the same time. It’s nice work and would put a beautiful bow on her days in Pine Valley and All My Children.
OUTSTANDING YOUNGER ACTRESS
- Christel Khalil 5 to 1
- Molly Burnett 7 to 1
- Jacqueline MacInnes Wood 10 to 1
- Shelley Hennig 13 to 1
WILL WIN: Christel Khalil
SHOULD WIN: Christel Khalil
DON’T COUNT OUT: Molly Burnett and Jacqueline MacInnes Wood
This year’s Younger Actress competition should be a lock for The Young and the Restless’ Christel Khalil. As a distraught Lily Winters, she thinks she is going insane because she keeps feeling, touching, and seeing her dead husband, Cane! The thing of it is, she is being gas-lighted … only she and the audience didn’t know it yet. Khalil hits all the right notes, all the right screams, and at the end of her episode her Lily checks herself into a facility to be committed! This was Khalil’s best acting to date during her years on Y&R. However, Days of our Lives Molly Burnett submitted a reel which had a huge range from upset to vitriol. As a betrayed Melanie Layton, the young gal falls apart in her father’s arms, and then goes to seek payback from the woman who destroyed her marriage! Burnett was strong and the reel was interesting! If there is a spoiler here, it is Burnett. B&B’s Jacqueline MacInnes Wood delivered a solid performance as the other woman scorned in her reel. Problem was while it showed multi-layers of her acting and of the mind-set of Steffy Forrester, the reel seemed to go on for too long. B&B actors are allowed to submit two episodes because they are a half-hour show. And in some cases it helps, and in some cases it can hinder. As for DAYS Shelley Hennig as Stephanie, the bride to be whose duplicity is exposed, she handled the material well enough to get her a much deserved Emmy nod, but it was the writing and the staging that fell flat to us, like we have seen it all before, and that may have detracted voters from Hennig’s worthy efforts.
OUTSTANDING YOUNGER ACTOR
- Eddie Alderson 2 to 1
- Chandler Massey 2 to 1
- Chad Duell 3 to 1
- Nathan Parsons 6 to 1
WILL WIN: Chandler Massey
SHOULD WIN: Eddie Alderson
DON’T COUNT OUT: Chad Duell
This is by far the best category of the night. The nominees were all so brilliant in their work that it is such a close race and very hard to predict a winner. We were in awe as we watched these reels back to back and for once. What a strong category of contenders for the Younger Actor category. So here goes in the toughest race of the night. One Life to Live’s Eddie Alderson (Matthew) had a great reel. It has a beginning, middle, and end. And in it, Matthew admits to his parents, who both were for on the side of lady justice, that he killed Eddie Ford. Matthew recounts the entire scenario which led to the shooting, his cover-up, and finally his admission. Alderson was terrific. It was a case of a young actor playing age appropriate material and playing the reactions to the situation just perfectly. Now for the human rights statement of the night, a win for Days of our Lives Chandler Massey, and his beyond sensational performance as Will Horton who struggles to come out, would be the perfect icing-on-the-cake for his already lauded work. Chandler is so believable to watch, and has so inspired the gay community and people struggling to accept themselves, that he could very well receive this award. And fingers-crossed, a great acceptance speech that mentions the fight for equality would be the perfect button on this Emmy season. As for GH’s Chad Duell, was there anyone not reaching for the hankies when Michael Corinthos finally broke down to Jason and admitted he was raped in prison? It was truly one of the most memorable moments of the Emmy season, and Duell played it so honest, and understated, and heart-breaking, that if he wins the Emmy, we will be shouting, “Bravo!” GH’s Nathan Parsons chose an interesting monologue which he delivers to then Kristina, Lexi Ainsworth where his character of Ethan Lovett wonders if he has a genetic predisposition like the other Spencer’s for addiction. It’s less showy then the other nominees reels, but very strong none the less. Oh, how to chose? Can it be a three-way tie?
OUTSTANDING DRAMA SERIES
- General Hospital 2 to 1
- All My Children 3 to 1
- The Young and the Restless 8 to 1
- Days of our Lives 10 to 1
WILL WIN: General Hospital
SHOULD WIN: General Hospital
DON’T COUNT OUT: All My Children
In predicting this year’s Daytime Emmy race for Best Drama Series it really comes down to a two-horse race between emotional impact and emotional heart. General Hospital for all intent and purposes looks to be lock with two standout episodes of their 2011 Emmy calendar year. With little Jake’s death, which gave the GH performers material to seek their teeth into, and the already lauded Luke’s “Intervention” episode which has garnered its director, William Ludel with a DGA award for this work, it’s a perfect mix of episodes to submit for the award. With compelling storytelling, and an innovative way to stage, what we have all come to know as a soap opera drug or alcohol intervention, this one looks like it could have been produced on the Broadway stage. If voters decided to honor one of the two shows booted off the ABC canvas after 40 some years, then this award could fall into the hands of All My Children. AMC did a wise choice of submitting their final two episodes in the history of the series. The first one was the episode that had everyone and probably the judges, grabbing for the hankies! It features the extraordinary work of David Canary as twins Adam and Stuart Chandler. Stuart is brought back to life by Dr. David Hayward and willed back by his other half, Adam. That, plus the beautifully written dialog by Lorraine Broderick and Agnes Nixon, and the AMC writing team at that time, gave viewers one last memorable view of Pine Valley. And who could resist Michael E. Knight’s speech as Tad of what Pine Valley is all about, as friends and loved ones toast to each other in the final episode? Of course, there is the Erica Kane relationship drama with Jack and JR shooting someone, maybe himself, but perhaps honoring AMC on their final Emmy try for Drama Series is in store. Too bad that One Life to Live was unfairly left out of this race, when it was the show to beat for the 2011 season! Enough said. The Young and the Restless and Days of our Lives seem to be bringing up the rear. Y&R submitted flashy episodes of the Diane Jenkins’ murder, complete with “Desperate Housewives” voice over effect from the talented Maura West (Diane) and a standalone episode featuring the talents of Melody Thomas Scott as boozin’ Nikki finding her way with the help of a guardian angel. But something about these two episodes feels too familiar, like we have seen it all before, and they did not have the emotional wallop of GH and AMC. As for Days of our Lives, their problem lies within the first episode of their two episode submission. It is understandable why they submitted the first one to make sense of the explosive high-drama of the second one, where Will walks in on his mother Sami having grief-sex with EJ, when she believed their little boy Johnny was dead. But we think they may suffer because of the slow-plodding of the first episode. But, who knows? This is DAYS highest nomination count yet in the history of the show! Could grief-sex spell E-M-M-Y?
OUTSTANDING WRITING FOR A DRAMA SERIES
- General Hospital 4 to 1
- All My Children 6 to 1
- The Young and the Restless 8 to 1
- Days of our Lives 9 to 1
WILL WIN: General Hospital
SHOULD WIN: General Hospital
DON’T COUNT OUT: All My Children and The Young and the Restless
This one should go to General Hospital for the script of Luke’s intervention which had his loved ones reading letters of their thoughts about him and how alcohol addiction is destroying him and the relationships he has with his wife, children, and friends. We wanted to go with All My Children, but we thought the second to last episode was better written than the last episode of the series, which was submitted. But it does have Tad’s speech about Pine Valley and the opening montage where Angie talks about children, but the Erica/Jack ending and the JR gunshot firing into who knows what, was not our favorite written moments. As for The Young and the Restless, they submitted the kind of episode that wins Emmys complete with voice over from Maura West as Diane Jenkins, that takes a look at her murder suspects as Jeff Branson as Ronan Malloy interrogates murder suspects. It felt like a primetime police procedural drama only it did not draw us in. As for DAYS, they submitted an episode with multiple storylines from Jennifer trying to comfort Jack with his flashbacks of being held prisoner in Afghanistan to Daniel learning that Maggie is his biological mother. Good solid soap.
OUTSTANDING DIRECTING FOR A DRAMA SERIES
- General Hospital 2 to 1
- One Life to Live 4 to 1
- The Young and the Restless 6 to 1
- The Bold and the Beautiful 10 to 1
WILL WIN: General Hospital
SHOULD WIN: General Hospital
DON’T COUNT OUT: One Life to Live
Two of these four nominated directing teams vision and work really stood out this Emmy season. Starting with General Hospital and lead director William Ludel, who already won the DGA for his work in Luke’s intervention episode. He created a stark, bare, almost staged theatrical experience for the viewer, complete with utilizing past clips as the backdrop during the characters confrontations during the episode. Hard to beat this one! If anyone could do it, it would be One Life to Live’s Larry Carpenter for Erika Slezak’s 40th Anniversary episode where Viki battles for control against her alters. From creating the scenarios where Viki plays to her alters, and utilizing props from the 40 year history of Viki and Llanfair, and the symbolic staircase, and the secret room, and so much more, Carpenter actually made us feel we were in Viki’s sub-conscious! As for The Young and the Restless, they once again submitted the episode where Diane provides the haunting voiceover as to whom “oft” her, which is the question of the day. The look of the episode was beautiful, colorful, and intriguing, from a directorially perspective. The Bold and the Beautiful utilized their mix of reality and soap in an episode with real life people talking about their experiences in the Foster Care system.