Associated Television International’s, top executive, Jim Romanovich, chatted with On-Air On-Soaps to give us a preview and some exclusive news on what soap fans can expect come Emmy night this Sunday, June 19th from Las Vegas. ATI is again producing the telecast for the third year in a row, and a second time emanating from The Las Vegas Hilton.
Romanovich tells us exclusively that Grammy winner, Celine Dion is set for a spectacular performance! In addition, we learn that Y&R’s Genie Francis, who was previously announced as a presenter with her new on-screen son, Daniel Goddard, is now off the list due to some last minute conflict. Always a friend to the soap industry, Romanovich answers some questions as to the future of the Daytime Emmy Telecast, how and if AMC and OLTL will be saluted, and much more. Read what Jim had to say in our now annual Daytime Emmy Preview conversation below!
Is there any exclusive news on who may be presenting, performing, or any last-minute changes? There always seems to be some unforeseen changes when putting together a show of this magnitude.
JIM: We have got Celine Dion who is going to be performing! That is a great honor for us. We had Carol Burnett, and unfortunately she had to back out due to some family matters. We are planning to do something AMC-ish in the show, and not in tribute way, but a fun way. Carol Burnett was going to be a part of it, but we are going to do something and it will involve the character of Erica Kane, and of course, Susan Lucci. Susan will be there and is a good friend of the show. Gladys Knight will be performing and she is legend! Genie Francis was going to go to Vegas and be a presenter, but she had some other conflicts at the last second, so she cannot make it, unfortunately. So now Christel Khalil (Lily) will be presenting with Daniel Goddard (Cane) and representing Y&R.
When we last heard; there were no tributes planned for AMC and OLTL. Is that still holding true? I think that should not be till next year, anyway.
JIM: There will be no tribute to All My Children and One Life to Live this year. AMC is not off the air till September and OLTL not until January of 2012. So it would really be more apropos to come back next year and do something nice for both those shows. So that was really our plan for it and CBS felt the same. They do have a lot of decision making power. We don’t want this Emmys to be a wake, and all we want to do is celebrate daytime. For me especially with the soaps; I have been a guy behind the soaps and supporting them and being a good proponent for the soaps themselves. The actors, producers, and behind the scenes personnel of all the shows work really hard and it’s a tough, tough gig. When you are in a situation right now where you are not sure what is going to be happening with your life that you need to plan for, and after the hard work you put in, why not have a night where you just celebrate everything. That is really how the Vegas-theme came about last year, and even more so this year. It’s not, “Hey, it’s a Vegas show and some daytime.” This is Vegas paying tribute to daytime.
What do you think will be some entertaining high points on the telecast?
JIM: You are going to see Penn and Teller do something with how they reveal the winner in the category they are going to present, and they will probably do it in a very lethal manner! (Laughs) We are doing something with The Oprah Winfrey Show. At this particular moment, we don’t think Oprah will be there, but that question is still open. We are prepared if we find out at the very last second she will be attending, but she did tape something for us just in case she cannot make it. But it will still be a very moving segment for all Oprah fans, who will love it. I think with Wayne Brady as our host, we wanted to try something different. I know we did have planned a big singing and dancing number, but we ran out of time, and after all we do have some awards to present!
Do you think ATI will continue their partnership with the Daytime Emmy Telecast after this year, in light of the new revamped daytime line-up come 2012?
JIM: Our plan is to hopefully do another Emmy telecast next year and it is not entirely up to us, meaning CBS and NATAS have their say. Obviously, we would love to continue with the Emmys and we have some ideas for next year that may take it out of Vegas, or may take it elsewhere in Vegas. As long as NATAS has control of the Daytime Emmys, there will be a Daytime Emmys. Perhaps it might become just a dinner, if it is not televised. And honestly if we are not involved, I don’t see another entity like us willing to go out and produce it, especially with all the cancellations happening. So I feel if the Daytime Emmys don’t have a televised event for 2012, it will still be an event, probably in L.A. as a big dinner.
Any predictions in the Daytime Drama categories as a fellow soap aficionado?
JIM: I cannot say who my favorites are (laughs)…but B&B could very well take the three-peat this year! They did very well with the homeless storyline and it was beautifully shot, and I loved Susan Flannery (Stephanie) and Katherine Kelly Lang (Brook) in that story together.
What do you want to make sure the legions of soap fans who tune-in know or understand about the telecast?
JIM: 85% of the Daytime Emmys are about the soaps, even though they make up less than 5% of daytime and that is a very strong statement that I want to make clear. I don’t want the fans to feel they are being short-changed, because they are not. We just want to make an entertaining show that will maintain the ratings, or make improvements on them as we saw last year. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t. There is nothing we can do about it. We know we are doing a great show and we brought it in, and from our standpoint, that is what is really important to us.
Make sure to tune-in this Sunday for the 38th Annual Daytime Emmy ceremonies at 8PMEST/7PMCST, tape delayed on the west coast, only on CBS!