2015 EMMY WRAP-UP: TELECAST REBOUNDS WITH UPBEAT AND EMOTIONAL MOMENTS CELEBRATING THE DAYTIME GENRE
By Michael Fairman
The 42nd Annual Daytime Emmys did what it needed to do at this critical time in its history. That was: to restore the glamour, properly acknowledge the accomplishments of the men and women who work so hard in the daily grind of performing and producing hours and hours of daytime programming, and celebrate the soap opera genre in a respectful way by paying attention to the important milestones, and package it with emotional and fun highlights.
The Daytime Emmy telecast, which aired on Pop for the first time, featured Tyra Banks as host for the kudofest. With her own “unique” and often over-the-top flair and style, Banks kept the show moving, and yes, there were multiple outfit changes along the way, too! Presenters from the daytime drama field included: DAYS Christopher Sean, Freddie Smith, Guy Wilson, B&B’s Jacob Young, Karla Mosley, Linsey Godfrey, GH’s Kirsten Storms and Ryan Paevey, Y&R’s Justin Hartley, Melissa Claire Egan, and Queens of Drama cast members: Donna Mills, Crystal Hunt, Chrystee Pharris, and Lindsay Hartley.
But there were also two very special sets of presenters: General Hospital’s iconic Luke and Laura (Anthony Geary and Genie Francis) were reunited on-stage to present the final award of the evening for Outstanding Drama Series, which turned out to be a precursor for the announcement of the return of Francis, who is now set to tape new episodes on the long running ABC daytime drama series. Geary and Francis also shared a memorable Emmy moment when they announced the night’s tie! Outstanding Drama Series went to both Days of our Lives and The Young and the Restless. A jubilant DAYS cast first took the stage with an acceptance speech from executive producer Ken Corday, and they were shortly followed by Y&R’s EP Jill Farren Phelps, and her celebratory moment with the cast from Genoa City. The second extra special presenters of the night were Y&R’s Daniel Goddard (Cane) and super-fan Sharon Hofreiter. In a taped segment shown on the broadcast, Goddard surprised Hofreiter, a school teacher at Barton Hill Elementary School in San Pedro. California. A mother of two young boys, who teaches the fifth grade, and a long time fan of Goddard’s, Sharon was in for the surprise of her life when Daniel walked-in the middle of a staff meeting, and the Emmy cameras caught the moment on tape. Daniel then asked Sharon if she would present with him at the Emmys. And in a “Cinderella” moment, Sharon joined Daniel on-stage during the live telecast to present the Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series Award, which ultimately went to General Hospital’s Chad Duell (Michael).
The best acceptance speech of the night belonged to Days of our Lives’ Freddie Smith, who finally won the gold for his performance as Sonny Kiriakis in the Outstanding Younger Actor category. Freddie, who has since left the series, began his speech thanking everyone at DAYS including the cast, crew, producers, etc. And then he added: “My parents are here today. Thank you for letting your only child move out to L.A, to pursue his dream. My manager, Dino May, thank you for always being here with me. My beautiful girlfriend Alyssa, I love you with all my heart. You are my rock, you are my soul. And, I want to thank the fans for being awesome! And this award is for the LGBT community for showing strength and courage, and being an inspiration to all of us. To my family at home …. and my new family watching all over … I love you guys.”
The night was filled with much-deserved victories for now eight-time Daytime Emmy record holder, Anthony Geary, who won Outstanding Lead Actor for the Luke/Fluke storyline on GH. Tony thanked the series executive producer, Frank Valentini, for asking him what Tony wanted to play after 37 years (on and off) of playing Luke, and giving him the opportunity to explore Luke’s dark side. Maura West took home the Outstanding Lead Actress prize for her role as Ava Jerome on GH. West once again, as she has done with her other two previous Emmy wins for ATWT – curtsied on stage for her children – who were watching at home. The Lead Actress award was presented by former Y&R star, Shemar Moore (now star of Criminal Minds) who reminded us all that he was the presenter when Susan Lucci won her first and only Daytime Emmy after 19 nominations! Amelia Heinle was speechless, and shocked when she took home her second consecutive Daytime Emmy in the Supporting category for her role as Victoria on Y&R, as was castmate Hunter King, who won two years in a row in the Younger Actress category.
The Daytime Emmy telecast also featured some very emotional moments: Melissa Rivers came out to the stage and spoke of her mother Joan, as she introduced the In-Memoriam clip package. The touching 1990 clip was played of Joan winning her first Daytime Emmy when she talked about her husband’s suicide, and how she had fallen on hard times, until the daytime community embraced her. Singer “Babyface” performed Stevie Wonder’s “Gone Too Soon”, as we remembered those we lost in the daytime TV community over the past year.
Deidre Hall (Marlena) anchored the Days of our Lives 50th anniversary segment, which led into a heart-stopping, and emotionally filled retrospective package with some of the greatest stories, favorite couples, and characters in the series history. Tessanne Chin, the winner of season five of The Voice, sang “What I Did For Love” to a clip package of memorable love stories from the soaps – complete with heartache, kisses, weddings, and more. And, icon Betty White received the Lifetime Achievement Award with a cute set-up of the classic TV game show Password, hosted by Tom Bergeron with contestants: Marie Osmond, Charo, Regis Philben, and Fred Willard. White received a huge and thunderous standing ovation when she took the stage to accept her honor.
As many of you know by now, I was consulting producer on this year’s Daytime Emmys telecast, and worked closely with executive producer Michael Levitt and his production team. I was very glad to have the opportunity to contribute to, and create the Days of Our Lives 50th anniversary package, the Love Stories Package, and Sharon Hofreiter’s Fan Surprise, and more. Working with the team to craft a two-hour show with the hopes of getting the Emmy telecast back on track to where it used to be, has been a professional goal of mine.
So, after producing on the telecast, and conducting the red carpet and winners walk video interviews, and barely able to stand on my feet anymore, I stole a few moments to go to a few of the after-parties. Both General Hospital’s and Days of our Lives were on the Warner Brothers lot, so I had some time to catch-up with many of your favorite stars. Finally, I joined a few members of the production team and headed over to the CBS Daytime After-Party, which was held in Hollywood at the Hollywood Athletic Club, only by the time we got there the party had seriously thinned out! Yup, we missed it. However, I did get a few moments to exchange thoughts on the night with CBS Daytime Chief Angelica McDaniel, and Emmy nominee Jacob Young.
That’s a wrap for Daytime Emmys 2015! It’s always nice to see the daytime community out in full force, supporting one another, and celebrating jobs well done. I left this year’s Emmy experience on a positive note, thinking that we are on an upswing, and now have things to a place that we can build on for next year.
Check out the final photo gallery of our Emmy hub, featuring some of the memorable moments and sights from the 42nd Annual Daytime Emmys Telecast.
*To view the Emmy Wrap-up Photo Gallery click on the NEXT GROUP button located next to the + symbol to see all the images, or you can just let it play as a slideshow.