How far the mighty have fallen. The 41st Annual Daytime Emmy Awards this weekend were regulated to nothing more than a live stream on the Internet.
From its glory days of live major network broadcasts from Radio City Music Hall or Madison Square Garden; to the Dolby Theater, the home of the Oscars; to its short stint on the CW network; to broadcasts from Las Vegas that amounted to nothing more than infomercials; to its sad foray into cable at HLN; the Daytime Emmys have never sunk as low as they did for this year's installment.
Befitting its status as a show deemed unworthy of television, the red carpet preshow was an uncomfortable mess of racist comments ("What is it like to be a black man on a soap opera these days?") and rape jokes made by ill-informed teeny bopper correspondents selected for their social media prowess instead of their interviewing skills.
After the debacle of the pre-show, one hoped the show had nowhere to go but up. It was not to be.
The opening was a disaster with more than two minutes black screen while host Kathy Griffin's voice could barely be heard in the background.
When the show finally worked out the technical kinks -- though at times the feed was still scrambled and pixilated, and the volume went up and down -- it was hard to look away from the sheer train wreck spectacle of it all.
From multiple winners that were no-shows (an unfortunate trend of the Daytime Emmys as the quality of the show has declined) to winners seated in the bowels of the Beverly Hilton ballroom, the show had no clear direction.
The hang loose, anything goes vibe was set by Griffin who said, "We're not on TV. We're on Twitter or something."
Accepting the Emmy for Outstanding Entertainment News Show (a new category which doesn't even belong in the Daytime Emmys since all of the nominees were primetime shows), Entertainment Tonight's Linda Bell Blue brought to the stage four pages of notes, as well as an assistant to help manage them. She went on and on for several interminable minutes and thanked her dog before her mike was shut off, much to her dismay, as she kept talking.
At this point, the show had been on for over three hours, including the preshow. Anarchy broke out. General Hospital's Kelly Monaco quipped, "There was nothing on the teleprompter, but it did say wrap it up six times, which is probably more than I've ever seen in my life."
The category happened to be a tie between ET and Extra, but it took Mario Lopez, accepting for Extra, longer to get to the stage from his seat than it did to give his speech, thanks to Bell Blue hogging all of the time. Lopez's co-winner (not named because no one ever had a Chyron to identify them the entire night) simply muttered "Thank you," and left the stage.
The next presenters, The Talk's Sharon Osbourne and Sheryl Underwood, who took the stage while Bell Blue was still talking, summed up their frustration when Osbourne ranted, "Finally. My Lord, I feel like I've been here five f**king hours and I only just got here. This is not being televised so everyone can get pissed and go throw up in a toilet and f**k everyone they work with."
Once the F-bomb had been dropped there was no putting it away as when The Young and the Restless' Executive Producer, Jill Farren Phelps, started to drone on too long accepting Y&R's Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series, during the last award of the night. Griffin interrupted to say, "Oh, Jesus Christ, lady, with your pride of ownership. We get that you're young and restless and you won. If you name your f**king dog, that's where I draw the line."
As much as everyone loves an entertainment train wreck, myself included, the Daytime Emmys deserve better.
When any kind of crap passes for a reality show and gets on the air these days, it's a shame to see the hardworking people of daytime not get their due in prime time.
I was lucky enough to attend the Daytime Emmys in 1999, and there wasn't a dry eye in a packed Madison Square Garden that night. Susan Lucci, who became famous losing the Emmy 18 times, finally won it on her 19th try. It was an epic night in TV history. Back then, the Daytime Emmy Awards wielded gravitas and prestige.
Now they're just embarrassing.