Apparently, we had nothing to worry about. There was a collective sigh of relief in the daytime TV community last month when it was announced that the 39th Annual Daytime Entertainment Emmy Awards would air Saturday, June 23 on cable channel HLN (8/7c). Up until then, it was widely believed the awards — which no network wanted — would go untelevised or end up on the Internet. But Malachy Wienges, chairman of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, tells TV Guide Magazine that he "always had two backup plans in place — including one with Reelz — if the HLN [deal] didn't happen. We would never have let these awards leave television."
What's more, Wienges says this will be the first Daytime Emmys solely under the creative control of NATAS. After last year's infomercial-packed debacle on CBS, something had to give! "In the weeks after [the 2011 ceremony] I sat down with probably a hundred members of the daytime world — producers, actors, network executives — and listened to their concerns and complaints," says Wienges. "We were determined to get this thing back on track."
To help with that, NATAS has hired the New York-based production company LocoDistro to put on the show. "We're bringing back several categories that were bumped in recent years," says LocoDistro's chief creative officer Gabriel Gornell, noting that there will be 23 awards this time (nine more than last year), including a Lifetime Achievement Emmy for The View's Bill Geddie.
Saturday's show airs from the Beverly Hilton Hotel, home of the loosey-goosey Golden Globes. "It'll be a much more intimate atmosphere with people sitting at tables enjoying each other," Gornell promises. "The last few Daytime Emmys offered more sizzle than content. This will be a real tribute to the amazing work."
So who's going to take home the gold? After reviewing each of the episodes submitted by the nominees in the daytime drama categories, here is our fearless forecast!
Outstanding Daytime Drama Series: General Hospital
This is one wackadoo horse race. The best and most exciting soap of 2011, One Life to Live, didn't get nominated. And The Bold and the Beautiful, which won the last three years, also got the cold shoulder. (One top suds producer told us she "wasn't voting for B&B one more time no matter how good it is!"). Meanwhile, The Young and the Restless — having its worst year in memory — did get a nod and so did Days of Our Lives despite its failed attempt to bring back that old-time magic. General Hospital and All My Children round out the category and they are the only true contenders. AMC smartly submitted its final two episodes, a glorious valentine to its 41-year history that ended with a bang — literally. GH picked the soul-stirring show where Carly asked Jason for little Jake's organs, plus the ingeniously theatrical Luke Spencer intervention. Some voters may go with AMC for sentiment's sake but the winner will be GH — by a Port Chuck mile. GH also submitted Luke's intervention for the writing and directing awards. Look for this landmark, nearly cancelled soap to triumph there, as well.
Outstanding Lead Actor: General Hospital's Tony Geary
No offense to the other nominees, but there's simply no contest here. Geary gave a devastating and incomparable performance as his character Luke — who accidentally killed his own grandson — fled to the bordello where he was raised to bury his sorrow in liquor and sex. Acting doesn't get more epic. Likeliest upset: I just can't imagine one. But kudos to B&B's John McCook, who was genuinely stunning — and stunningly genuine — in scenes where Eric begged his wife for more intimacy in their relationship. No fuss. No fireworks. Just pure, bone-deep honesty.
Outstanding Lead Actress: The Bold and the Beautiful's Heather Tom
She kicked major ass as her character Katie — still recovering from a stress-induced heart attack — read the riot act to her schmuck husband, Bill, for his philandering ways. No actress was handed more beautifully crafted material (credit the great writer Patrick Mulcahey!) and Tom rose to the opportunity with a blistering performance we will remember for years. BTW, if B&B had submitted this stuff for the best soap award, instead of that preposterously dippy Aspen remote, it might not have been snubbed. Likeliest upset: GH's Laura Wright. She won last year and we wouldn't be surprised if she claimed it again, this time for the episode where Carly fought like a tigress to save her daughter's life. Sheer brilliance.
Outstanding Supporting Actor: General Hospital's Jonathan Jackson.
Make it Emmy No. 5 for the greatest young actor of his generation! For some reason, this is traditionally a weak category and this year is no exception. But Jackson, who submitted scenes where Lucky confronted Luke over the death of Jake, will not be winning because he's tops in a mediocre field. Like Geary recently told us, Jackson is "one of the five best actors on the planet. He just unzips his heart and bleeds for ya." No argument from us! Likeliest upset: None, but I can certainly see why judges would respond well to Days' Matthew Ashford, whose madcap character, Jack, did a 180 and battled PTSD.
Outstanding Supporting Actress: General Hospital's Rebecca Herbst
She wisely chose those harrowing scenes where Elizabeth must face the reality that her child is clinically brain dead. (Are you sick of these dead and dying kids? The Emmy voters sure ain't!) A win for the beloved Herbst — a three-time nominee — would be particularly sweet. In an insane exec decision last year, she was fired from her soap, then hired back because the fans got frickin' furious. Likeliest upset: We can easily see GH's Nancy Lee Grahn (Alexis) or Y&R's Genie Francis (Genevieve) scoring here. If so, one of them will have bookends. Grahn, now on her eighth nom, won in 1989 for Santa Barbara. Francis got it in 2007 for GH.
Outstanding Younger Actor: Days of Our Lives' Chandler Massey
This is a tricky one. If the judges understood that Massey's character, Will, was a closeted gay then the episode the actor submitted — Will struggling desperately to come out to his grandma, then chickening out — would pack a real gut punch. But if the judges were clueless, then Massey's work may seem scattered and confusing. What ev. This fantastically gifted kid is sure to be back in the running this time next year and will very likely win. Likeliest upset: One Life to Live's Eddie Alderson (Matthew). It's hard to resist a teenaged killer.
Outstanding Younger Actress: The Bold and the Beautiful's Jacqueline MacInnes Wood
There's so much sturming und dranging in this mascara-stained filly race that it could end any which way. (Two gals get dumped, one freaks when she thinks she sees a ghost, and the fourth, well, I don't know what the hell her problem is.) But it should be Wood heading to the podium thanks to the dynamic episodes where her semi-psychotic Steffy pleads with Bill to dump his loyal wife (yep, the one above with the heart attack). Likeliest upset: Probably the ghost lady — that would be Y&R's Christel Khalil (Lily) —not that she deserves it but because there are often batcrap crazy winners in these younger actor/actress categories. Case in point: Last year's champ from AMC, Brittany Allen. Nobody predicted that one, and if someone claims they did they're lying!