With a glitzy, golden ceremony scheduled to air from the Warner Bros. lot, the Daytime Emmys seem to be on track to make a comeback.
On April 26, the ceremony will air live in primetime (5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET) on cable network Pop and be hosted by Tyra Banks, a two-time Daytime Emmy winner herself for Warner Bros.’ The Tyra Banks Show and star of Disney/ABC’s upcoming panel talk show, The F.A.B. Life.
Pop also will take advantage of the occasion to premiere its new series, Queens of Drama, immediately following the telecast.
“It’s our owners at CBS and Lionsgate and our mission in life to celebrate talent and fans, so this was an obvious move for us,” says Bradley Schwartz, president of Pop. “We thought we could save the Daytime Emmys and produce a really great show. It’s a great synergistic fit for us. We want to do more awards shows and this ticked every box, not to mention that we air same-day repeats of The Bold and the Beautiful and The Young and the Restless.”
Last year, the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS) failed to secure a broadcast partner amidst a leadership change, and the show ended up streaming live online from the Beverly Hilton last June. The red carpet was hosted by folks tabbed as “social media stars” whose inexperience showed, and the ceremony was emceed by comedian Kathy Griffin, who yelled at the accepters who managed to attend to get off the stage if they went on too long. Overall, the entire event was widely considered a debacle.
“It really is do-or-die time for the Daytime Emmy Awards,” says Brad Bessey, executive producer of CBS Television Distribution’s Entertainment Tonight and The Insider. “We, as a group of people who love daytime television, are really rallying to do our part to restore the Daytime Emmys to the prestige that it once had.”
This year, NATAS’ new president, Bob Mauro, had the idea to move the ceremony back into the TV season so that all the stars could be present, a miss that the fans clearly felt last summer. Perhaps more importantly, the show is going back on television. It’s something Pop tried to do last year.
“We looked into doing this a year ago and we came very close to a deal,” says Schwartz. “Right around that time NATAS went through a management change and the conversations we were having fell apart.”
Once Mauro was installed, it didn’t take long for the former CBS and Leo Burnett Worldwide executive to go knocking on doors.
“Bob came to us and introduced himself and said, ‘I understand you were very close to doing the show last year, would you be interested in doing it this year?’” says Schwartz.
After coming on board, Pop hired executive producer Michael Levitt, who has also produced the red carpet for E!, and the TV Land Awards. Levitt originally pitched Pop the idea of airing the Daytime Emmys, and has been a big proponent of the show all along.
“One of the things I really wanted to do was produce the show through the lens of the fans,” says Levitt. “The daytime audience is arguably the most passionate fan base out there.”
The show will start with a red carpet on the Warner Bros. lot’s New York Avenue, and then move to cocktails on Brownstone Street. The ceremony itself will be held in soundstage 16, the largest soundstage in North America, says David Michaels, NATAS senior executive director.
To honor those rabid fans, 150 of them will get to sit on stage in the back of the set, while another 250 will be on bleachers next to the red carpet. A few days prior to the event, fans will vote on a series of categories, and those favorites will be announced heading into and out of commercial breaks during the broadcast.
“All of the elements seem to be just right,” says Michaels.“It’s a whole different ballgame.”
“It’s so exciting to feel like we’re part of an energized moment in the Academy’s history,” says Bessey, who is nominated for two awards and whose ET team will be covering the Daytime Emmys red carpet (set to air April 27). “The stakes are really high. There’s a lot riding on this."
Contributing editor Paige Albiniak has been covering the business of television for nearly 25 years. She is a longtime contributor to Next TV, Broadcasting + Cable and Multichannel News. She concurrently serves as editorial director for entertainment marketing association Promax. She has written for such publications as TVNewsCheck, The New York Post, Variety, CBS Watch and more. Albiniak was B+C’s Los Angeles bureau chief from September 2002 to 2004, and an associate editor covering Congress and lobbying for the magazine in Washington, D.C., from January 1997-September 2002.
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