By Paula Hendrickson
The past few years haven’t been good to daytime dramas. CBS canceled The Guiding Light in 2009 after something like 55 years on TV and as a radio serial for another 15 years before that. Last fall, ABC axed the 41-year-old All My Children in favor of the unfortunately-titled talk show, The Chew, which struggled to reach the soap opera’s ratings. Earlier this year, ABC also ended One Life to Live, which would have celebrated its 44th anniversary this summer. OLTL was replaced by The Revolution, which has already been canceled.
With so much upheaval in the daytime arena, it’s a little surprising that the Daytime Emmys are even being aired this year, but HLN — formerly Headline News — will broadcast the event live this Saturday, June 23, starting at 7 p.m. There will even be special tributes to AMC and OLTL — which still managed to garner 11 nominations apiece.
General Hospital led the way with 23 nominations, Sesame Street and The Young and the Restless tied with the second-highest number of nominations (16 each). Personally, I’m rooting for two young Days of our Lives cast members who are among the best actors on that, or any, daytime drama: Molly Burnett (Melanie), who’s departing Days when her contract expires this summer, and Chandler Massey (Will), who has been consistently riveting while juggling at least three key storylines at the same time (dealing with his mom Sami’s baggage, realizing he’s gay, and being charged with murder).
Don’t let the soapy aspect of the Daytime Emmys scare you off. The awards show acknowledges more than soap operas. There are categories for talk shows, morning shows, children’s animated programs, children’s live-action programs, game shows, commercials — even cooking shows and “courtroom” programs have their own niche categories. There are also “special class” categories for shows like PBS stalwart This Old House and CNN’s Sanjay Gupta, MD that don’t quite fit with lifestyle programs.
My point is, while the Daytime Emmys aren’t quite as glitzy as their Primetime counterparts, there’s still a bit of something for everyone — even kids. And remember, a lot of big-name film and television stars got their starts on soap operas, so you never know who might turn up for one of the tributes or which of this year’s winners might become tomorrow’s A-list actors.
Paula Hendrickson is a regular contributor to Emmy magazine and Variety, and has been published in numerous national publications, including American Bungalow, Television Week and TVGuide. Follow her on Twitter at P_Hendrickson and send your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
From the June 20-26, 2012, issue