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Written by: Jason Block

The Daytime Emmys – How the Mighty Have Fallen

Did you know that Jeopardy won its 14th Emmy for Best Game Show and 31st overall adding to their impressive Guinness World Record total? Did you also know that Steve Harvey became the first person of color to win Best Game Show Host and that he also won Best Talk Show Host (Informational) in the same night?

You didn’t? Most people didn’t either. For the first time in the 41 year history of the Daytime Emmy Awards, the show was streamed online and not in partnership with any network either major, basic cable or otherwise. This is the first time that the show as not on television since 1985, and since its move to Primetime in 1991.

The Emmys are a long way from their peak ratings in 1993, where 22M people watched the show. When Susan Lucci broke her 19 year losing streak for Best Lead Actress in a Drama Series in 1999, 14.2M people watched her win and the ratings have steadily declined every year since.

This is a travesty for many reasons. The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences have treated this area of the Emmy Awards as the black sheep of the family for many years. The fact that there are only 4 daytime soaps left on Broadcast Television(Bold & Beautiful and Young & Restless on CBS, Days of Our Lives on NBC and General Hospital on ABC) doesn’t help matters either.

In their quest to make the awards show hipper and more social media friendly, Soap Opera Network reported that producers Paul Colichman and Stephen Jarchow of Here Media decided to go through a casting call looking for: “millennials between the ages of 18-35… who have a strong entertainment news background and/or very strong social media following (300,000 followers minimum).”

They decided on four people and they were Brittany Furlan, Lauren Elizabeth, Jessica Harlow and Meghan Rosette. Based on their performance last night as Red Carpet Reporters, I don’t think they are going to be hired back.

Here are some examples of some of their “stellar reporting” (from TVLine.com and Entertainment Weekly)

— Brittany Furlan said to nominated The Young and the Restless alum Daniel Polo — whom she didn’t know was no longer on the show playing Jamie “I don’t want to go to jail for this one.” When she found out he was of age, she said “So he’s Legal!”

— Jessica Harlow asked Lawrence Saint-Victor (Carter, The Bold and the Beautiful) — “a beautiful chocolate man,” as she introduced him — “What’s it like to be a black man on a soap opera these days?”

— Lauren Elizabeth asked veteran actor Joseph Mascolo (Stefano from Days of Our Lives), who had been introduced to them as a daytime legend: “What is so legendary about you, sir?”

And the most egregious:

— After Furlan and Elizabeth did a creepy interview with Ryan Paevey (Nathan, General Hospital), Furlan said as the actor left, “We’re going to get you away from us before we rape you.”

The social media reaction was swift and immediate. It got so bad that Nancy Lee Grahn, an actress on General Hospital since 1996, tweeted WHILE THE SHOW WAS GOING ON that her fellow nominees should “RUN AWAY FROM THE RED CARPET! I repeat. Avoid Red Carpet at all costs. Save yourselves!!!”

In response, Furlan tweeted a quote from Kenny Powers of Eastbound and Down: “Would Alexander the Great have conquered the world if he ‘dialed it back’? -Kenny Powers“

The actual show was rife with technical issues, missed cues, Kathy Griffin as host and a ton of empty seats as a lot of nominees didn’t want to be associated with this mess.

Who do you blame for this mess? NATAS shares some of the blame, as it looks like they did not vet the reporters’ credentials at all. The reporters made a name for themselves for all the wrong reasons, and seem to not give a rat’s rear end that they were ill prepared and “politically incorrect” in this insta-fame society we live in?

The bigger question is: How do we solve this? How we do give respect back to this once glorious award show where our genre of game shows is being dragged down in the muck?

In my opinion, you can do a few things: a) announce the winners in a simple press conference and end this disaster once and for all or take an idea that fellow WLTI member Gordon Pepper suggested and b) return to what brought you to the dance. Show the ceremony on daytime network television on a summer day full of repeats.

NATAS could also hire the entire staff of WLTI. We would be better prepared and more respectful to the genre than these four reporters were.

I hope NATAS can return this show, the awards and the genre to the respectability it once had, and not have it wallow in the muck it is in now.

Follow Jason Block on Twitter @BeatTheBlock. E-mail him at jason.block@clw83.com.

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