Late last week, the Television Academy presented the Daytime Programming Peer Group Celebration, at an exclusive cocktail reception honoring the Daytime Community at the Montage Hotel in Beverly Hills, California. Many stars and executives from your favorite daytime dramas were in attendance.
CBS Entertainment Executive Vice President, Daytime Programs and Syndicated Program Development, and new mom, Angelica McDaniel, who is a Governor from ATAS who represents the Daytime Peer Group, took to the red carpet and spoke with On-Air On-Soaps!
Angelica discussed with us the daytime soaps under her jurisdiction: The Young and the Restless and the Bold and the Beautiful including: her thoughts on the rise in ratings under executive producer and Genoa City head writer, Chuck Pratt Jr., B&B’s efforts in telling the groundbreaking transgender storyline, some changes the Daytime Emmys are hoping to implement with the voting process to make it a more honorable race, and a tease for what’s to come on the CBS Daytime programming block come November Sweeps. Here’s what Angelica shared.
Tell us about the cocktail reception tonight. Usually this soiree happens a few days before the Daytime Emmys. How come it is happening in August?
ANGELICA: In the last few years, this event actually happened leading up to the Daytime Emmys. NATAS had changed the date of the Daytime Emmys this year, and they had some other celebrations around that time, and so they thought this would a great year to honor the daytime nominees close to the Primetime Emmys, which are in September. A lot of people in daytime work in primetime, and a lot of people from prime work in daytime, so it’s nice to all celebrate closer together.
Recently, you held some meetings where actors and producers got together to take a look at rule changes that they may want to see implement in the Daytime Emmy voting process, and to review how this year’s telecast was received. What was the takeaway from that?
ANGELICA: Every year post-Daytime Emmy celebration, there is a gathering where many in the industry do come together, and they address a lot of their concerns, and a lot of things they would like to see worked on. I have to say, this year was one of the most positive meetings we have had in quite some time, and that was really great to see. I think we can all agree that the award show itself was produced much better. The show was about adding the integrity back into daytime and what we do, and celebrating it and bringing a return to glamour to it. Now it’s about: how do we maintain that integrity next year? It’s also talking about some of the things we should address. One of the big hot topics, and this maybe controversial for me to say, is about the soaps. There are only four left on the air and we want to celebrate them, but getting a Daytime Emmy nomination is an honor. So, it’s not a situation where everyone should get a trophy. This isn’t first grade soccer. It’s really about how NATAS looked at their rules and maybe makes some adjustments, so it’s not that everyone gets a nomination in every category, every time.
The Young and the Restless has been close to 5 million total viewers weekly, and is has increased it’s viewership under Chuck Pratt Jr.’s head writing of the series. While Chuck has been a polarizing figure in daytime with the fans, there is no denying that people are tuning-in. What can you say about Pratt’s performance with the series thus far?
ANGELICA: So, over 20 million people watch CBS Daytime every day. All of our shows are up 8% from last year, and that includes Y&R. Last year when Chuck did come onboard, there were a lot of people who got their feathers ruffled, and a lot of people were very outspoken about it. At the end of the day, I maintain what I said then which was: if you are watching something on the screen today you have to remember that this one story isn’t the end all, be all of the show. It’s really a journey – it’s a marathon, not a race. Keep watching the story, because little things are going to continue to unfold. One of the great things about Chuck is that he is obsessed with this show. He thinks about it 24/7. Chuck is not just telling a story that will be for just the next four weeks. He is really working for the long term and sharing his vision. Chuck has a long term plan and you are starting to see things play out on-air. Listen, there is always going to be stories that people don’t like, but for every person that doesn’t like that story, there is another person who loves it. You can’t please everyone all of the time. We just have to tell great story, and if you tell great story, people will tune-in. That is what we are seeing with The Young and the Restless.
Chuck is infamous for his use of disasters and catastrophes as ratings grabbers for the soaps he has the writing reins of, which has also been given some pushback from fans. However, his February Sweeps “Flirt with Disaster” stories and others have not hurt the ratings one bit.
ANGELICA: Right! And it’s also about taking that big shocking moment in story to get people who only watch Y&R once a week to suddenly watching twice a week, because that is what matters. That is what keeps these shows on the air, and people did tune-in as you see by the ratings and their numbers. We have more around the corner and more reasons for you to tune-in, and to keep tuning-in.
Your other daytime drama, The Bold and the Beautiful has made some significant strides for daytime television, with the telling of the transgender storyline featuring Karla Mosley as Maya Avant. This show has been really thinking out-of-the-box of late and forward thinking, while remaining a classic soap as well. What are your thoughts on the efforts they have put forth to tell this important story in our culture at this time?
ANGELICA: The great thing about the executive producer and head writer of the show, Brad Bell, is that this was definitely his vision for story, and it was before we knew about Caitlyn Jenner. It wasn’t about just trying to be a trend. It really was a pioneering move. The Bold and the Beautiful is the only television linear show, whether that’s network or cable, to feature a trans character under contract. We are also the only show to feature a trans wedding with a character who is not transgender. B&B is breaking barriers. We are not telling the story for shock factors, and we are not trying to preach to people. We are telling a love story that is a contemporary tale. I applaud The Bold and the Beautiful for being so responsible for their storytelling. We worked really closely with GLAAD, because it’s really important to us that we do tell a responsible story, but also one that is really intriguing, and that has twists and turns.
What have you thought of veteran television, motion picture, and stage actors: Obba Babatunde’ and Anna Maria Horsford’s performances as Maya’s parents, Julius and Vivienne? Truly inspired casting!
ANGELICA: Hopefully, these two will receive some nominations at the Daytime Emmys next year! They have been so great.
November Sweeps will be here before you know it. What can you say in a broad stoke for CBS Daytime fans?
ANGELICA: We have just started putting all of that in motion, so I don’t want to tip anything. Definitely watch The Young and the Restless and The Bold and the Beautiful. It will be very interesting! And while you are doing that … don’t forget to check out: The Price is Right, Let’s Make a Deal, and The Talk! (Laughs)
So, what did you think of Angelica’s thoughts on the ratings performance of Y&R under the writing regime from Chuck Pratt Jr.? The performance of the transgender storyline under Brad Bell? Do you tune-in for the disaster stories no matter whether you agree with the story device, or not? What do you hope happens for November Sweeps on the CBS Daytime soaps? And, do you think with only four soaps left on the air, that not every show should get nominated in the the drama series categories such as: Outstanding Drama, Writing, and Directing? Share your thoughts below!