The 2010 Daytime Emmy telecast was one of the strangest on record. It was better than last year's, though that's not saying much. This year's show felt like a giant promo for Vegas that had little to do with daytime television.
From David Copperfield opening the show to Regis Philbin's unfunny shtick to performances by acts popular when Eisenhower was president, the entire show was a time warp.
The first eight minutes of the broadcast were devoted to Regis talking about Regis, with help from taped cameos by David Letterman and Don Rickles. Philbin also tried a "joke" about Susan Lucci's (Erica, AMC) weight, indicating she had gained weight since her show's move to LA. I was ready to flip the channel until the welcome sight of General Hospital's Jonathan Jackson (Lucky) and Kelly Monaco (Sam) arriving to present the first Emmy.
Julie Pinson (Janet, ATWT) was the surprise winner of the Supporting Actress Emmy and she appeared genuinely shocked and touched. Although Bree Williamson (Jessica, OLTL) was the overwhelming favorite in this category, Pinson's win was not undeserved.
After Pinson's win Ryan Seacrest came out to pay tribute to Dick Clark and his forty years hosting American Bandstand. Clark won a Daytime Emmy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1994, so this tribute felt redundant. It also went on forever (15 minutes of valuable airtime) with acts such as The Spinners, Jersey Boys, Marie Osmond, and Chubby Checker performing, in addition to taped tributes from the likes of Frankie Avalon, Cher, Simon Cowell, Donny Osmond, and Barry Manilow.
The most memorable part of this interlude was seeing Marie Osmond. She looked like wax had melted down her face, leaving her with puffy fish lips. With her distorted face, pale skin and dark hair, she bore an eerie resemblance to Michael Jackson.
A cute moment occurred when Chubby Checker pulled Lucci on stage, picked her up and spun her around at the end of his hit, "The Twist." The warm and bubbly Checker would have made better host than the self-absorbed Philbin.
There wasn't a dry eye anywhere when Clark thanked everyone in a voice still slurred from the after-effects of his 2004 stroke, and began crying. Clark is deserving of all the accolades that come his way, especially while he is still alive, but the tribute could have been tighter and shorter to make room for current daytime events.
For instance, where was a tribute to the legendary, late Helen Wagner (Nancy Hughes, ATWT) who is in the Guinness Book of World Records for playing the longest running single role on TV? She passed away this year, and was still making appearances on As the World Turns after 54 years. The daytime community also lost the feisty Frances Reid, who played matriarch Alice Horton on Days of Our Lives for 42 years, and the beloved James Mitchell, who played Palmer Cortlandt on All My Children for 30 years. I waited throughout the entire telecast for a moment of silence in honor of these greats, or for their pictures to flash across the screen, but they were given nothing.
Instead, The Lion King was given two minutes to perform (it felt much longer), and help an unfortunate attired Rachael Ray present the Emmy for Supporting Actor. Billy Miller (Billy, Y&R) won the Emmy in the most predictable category of the night. The charming Miller gave a touching speech (though I would have liked to see him thank his co-star Amelia Heinle) where he thanked "my friends at AMC and Y&R who have a piece of my heart. Their hands have been on my shoulders. You have made me your family and I want to make you proud to have me among you."
The Emmy for Game Show (Cash Cab) and Talk Show Informative (The Doctors) were broken up by a skit from The Blue Man Group, as they assisted Alex Trebek with his presenting duties.
In a sign of the poor production, chaos broke out as the group from The Doctors celebrated their win without leaving the stage. A stagehand rushed toward them and was caught on the mic saying, "Let's go," as the camera cut to a confused looking girl in the audience.
Rebecca Budig (Greenlee) and Cameron Mathison (Ryan) from All My Children presented together, even though their characters are no longer involved and her character is married to someone else. They presented the Emmy for Younger Actor, which in the biggest surprise of the night, went to The Bold and the Beautiful's Drew Tyler Bell (Thomas). Drew Garrett (ex-Michael, GH) was heavily favored and deservedly so in this category. Bell's win was odd to say the least, as he was a recurring cast member until May. He didn't have the caliber of material the other actors had, so his tape must have been phenomenal. Bell thanked everyone from his wife to Jesus.
Jon Hensley and Kelly Menighan Hensley (Holden and Emily, AWT) introduced a "tribute" to As the World Turns. The show, which wrapped taping this week, finishes its 54-year run in September. The clip package lasted 45 seconds and the majority of the clips were recent. A show with such a rich history deserved better. Even last year's embarrassing "tribute" to Guiding Light featured most of the cast on the stage. Where were the As the World Turns actors? A few of them were shown in the audience at various points, so they were present. Between last year's debacle and this one, CBS is really sending a message that it doesn't value its soaps. Sole CBS soap survivors The Young and the Restless and The Bold and the Beautiful are on notice this could be their future.
The pathetic excuse for an As the World Turns tribute was rendered further embarrassing when the next segment spent 40 seconds on soft core porn actress, Kira Reed, asking All My Children's Chrishell Stause (Amanda) what it's like to work on a soap! There aren't enough words to describe how embarrassing this was.
Joshua Morrow and Sharon Case (Nick and Sharon, Y&R) presented the Emmy for Talk Show Entertainment, which went to The Ellen Degeneres Show. Ellen herself was a no show. Although I love Ellen, this wasn't a good PR move on her part. Did she have something better to do on the night her show won its fifth Emmy? Or was she boycotting because she lost last year?
Stars such as the ladies from The View, who were absent when they won last year, and Regis and Kelly, who never come even when the show is in NYC, don't like to lose year after year so they stop attending. The only reason Regis deigned to grace the Daytime Emmys with his presence this year was because he was offered the hosting gig.
Christopher and Kyle Massey, who I've never heard of and who were not as funny as they seemed to think they were, presented the Emmy for Younger Actress. Julie Berman from General Hospital won for the second year in a row for her role as Lulu Spencer. She gave a short but sweet speech thanking the actors she works with, as well as her husband.
In the commercial bumper, Philbin and a red robe clad Lucci were engaging in some awful banter when they were cut off by music and the continuing commercial break. It was a funny moment and Philbin did not look pleased.
Wayne Brady, with assistance from members of the Cirque du Soleil show KA, presented the Emmy for Directing Team to General Hospital. They won for their work on the carnival episode.
An unnamed director (is it too much to ask that his name get a Chyron?) accepted for the General Hospital team in a classy speech where he said, "We pay our respects to As the World Turns and Guiding Light and thank P&G for your amazing work."
This led into one of the most puzzling segments of the evening. Laura McKenzie, evidently a host of a travel series, wasted two minutes of air time taking viewers on a tour of the penthouse and restaurants in the Las Vegas Hilton. For what purpose I don't know.
It was an odd transition from the glitz of the Hilton to the next segment on poverty. Montel Williams, Ronn Moss (Ridge, B&B) and Kelly Monaco (GH couldn't have sent another actress to present earlier since Monaco was already involved?) introduced a package on FeedtheChildren.org and what the daytime community is doing to help. It's always good to see the stars give back to those less fortunate, though I wish there was a better way to highlight it than during an awards ceremony. It has an incongruous effect on the proceedings.
Susan Lucci then introduced Agnes Nixon, who received the Daytime Emmy Lifetime Achievement Award. Nixon, the creator of All My Children and One Life to Live, gave a gracious speech and acknowledged Lucci's contribution to All My Children. The 82-year-old Nixon is a much beloved and highly regarded figure both inside and outside the industry, which is why it was frustrating that no one close to her advised her on her ill fitting dress. She deserved to look beautiful, not frumpy and ill-supported during her special moment.
At the other end of the spectrum, The Bold and the Beautiful's Zach Conroy and Kimberly Matula (Oliver and Hope) presented the Emmy for Game Show Host to Cash Cab's Ben Bailey, who was thrilled by his win.
Peter Reckell and Louise Sorel (Bo and Vivian, Days - why wasn't nominee Crystal Chappell (Carly) asked to join them to make this pairing make sense?) presented the Emmy for Writing Team. It was won by The Bold and the Beautiful for the episode in which Betty White's character, Ann, passes away with her daughters by her side.
Executive Producer and Head Writer Brad Bell accepted by saying, "There's one other writer who's with me every word I ever write and that's my father, Bill Bell, how 'bout it Dad?"
Jeff Foxworthy presented the Emmy for Talk Show Host which was won by Dr. Oz, another no show. Enough said.
Then it was back to soft core porn actress, Kira Reed, who was with the elegant Kate Linder (Esther, Y&R). Reed inanely asked Linder what she had to say to the fans at home. The ever poised Linder replied, "I want to thank each and every one of you because without you we wouldn't be here."
Back from commercial break, Philbin mangled newlywed Vanessa Marcil Giovinazzo's name. Marcil Giovinazzo looked confused about where to go on stage and questioned out loud whether it was her mic. When she finally got it together, she presented the Emmy for Lead Actor to Michael Park (Jack, ATWT), in the most long over due win of the evening. For the past six years the Lead Actor Emmy has been won by either Anthony Geary (Luke, GH) or Christian LeBlanc (Michael, Y&R). Park can act with the best of them, and the fact that As the World Turns taped its final episode this week made the win even more bittersweet.
An emotional Park said, "We've had to say goodbye to over 60 members of our family on Wednesday and it was heart breaking. I pray you never have to endure it, really, truly. I say that because Maura West (Carly) I'm really going to miss you. Thank you for being my friend."
Michael Easton and Trevor St. John (where was their co-star Kassie DePaiva?), John and Todd on One Life to Live, presented the Emmy for Lead Actress to Maura West (Carly, ATWT). West was delighted to win her second Emmy in three years, but she was more thrilled for her co-star, first time winner Park.
West said, "Michael Park winning is enough for me, but what a treat and in the presence of one of my children." She then called her adorable eight-year-old daughter Katherine, who was crying in the front row, on stage with her. Taking her daughter's hand, she continued, "To honor me this way in the presence of one of my children is more than I can bear. Benjamin, Joseph, Katherine, Basil, and Birdie, Kathryn and I will curtsey for them," she said to her other children, as she and Katherine indeed curtsied.
Philbin and Lucci (wearing a different gown) announced the final Emmy for Outstanding Drama. For the second year in a row, it went to The Bold and the Beautiful. This year, EP Bell was able to give a speech (last year he was cut off). He thanked "this family that I've been a part of for the last 23 years. We've had so many joyful times together. I feel so lucky to be a part of daytime and the daytime community and all we accomplish."
As the camera panned back and someone from the cast began squealing onstage, Philbin, not realizing his mic was still live, could be heard saying, "Oh God, don't let them come this way, they're supposed to go..." and then he was back on camera with a big smile to bid us good night. It was the perfect end to a muddled evening.
It's difficult to comment on the fashion because there was a lack of audience shots. Based on the few dresses we did see, Susan Lucci (Erica, AMC) was a stand out in a gorgeous, black, fitted, mermaid style one shoulder gown. I also liked Sharon Case's (Sharon, Y&R) nod to Vegas style in her short, ombre sequined Alice&Olivia dress. Lead Actress nominee Bobbie Eakes (Krystal, B&B) looked radiant in a sparkly, silver gown and Ashley Jones (Bridget, B&B) glowed in a fresh, fun, copper colored short number. Christel Khalil Hensley (Lily, Y&R) was gorgeous in a floor length, white, feathered Sue Wong dress. Kelly Menighan Hensley resembled a Barbie doll in her long, glittery, white gown and updo. I didn't care for Julie Pinson's (Janet, ATWT) pink mumu or Julie Berman's (Lulu, GH) GUiSHEM white mini with purple accents designed by Guillermo M. Jop. Rebecca Budig's silver mini and clunky black shoes was disco gone wrong and what was Jacqueline McInnes Woods (Steffy, B&B) thinking with that yellow wonder woman dress and severe hair?
Not only were audience shots missing, but the show missed the boat all together when it came to its treatment of the nominees. I'm all for doing away with the cheesy acting clips usually shown, since out of context they just look ridiculous. However, it's a travesty to not have the actor shown in the audience when their name is announced as a nominee. If you've been nominated, your family, friends and fans deserve to at least glimpse your face (and outfit) on TV.
The show moved at a much faster pace than last year. Everyone got to speak, and for the most part, it was entertaining. The production values were still poor, as evidenced by the many glitches with the microphones and staging. The tribute to ATWT could have been a lot more substantial; and there should have been an In Memoriam package for those who passed away this year. Less time should have been spent promoting Vegas, and more time celebrating the current great work on daytime.