Daytime television deserves better than the Daytime Emmys
The purpose of awards shows is to honor and showcase performers and producers, give back to the fans, and show support for the industry.
That goes out the window when it comes to the Daytime Emmy Awards. The show, which aired Sunday night on CBS, was little more than an infomercial for Las Vegas, which played host to the event for the second year in a row.
From the opening act featuring host Wayne Brady dancing with JabbaWockeez, to in-show advertisements and plugs for Vegas hotels, travel show host Laura McKenzie doing a bit that would have been more appropriate for 4 a.m. on a My Network TV affiliate and having Penn & Teller present an award, it was clear that actually recognizing the stars of daytime television was going to play second fiddle to squeezing a few tourism and travel ad dollars out of Sin City.
At a time when many daytime soaps are struggling, one would think that the folks behind its biggest award show would be interested in highlighting the hard work that goes into making soap operas. Perhaps give the fans of this fading genre a look at some stars.
While many soap stars were on hand, their work wasn't. Apparently, unlike the Oscars and Prime Time Emmys, which actually show clips of the shows up for awards, that's not how the folks behind the Daytime Emmys roll. It's a slap to the producers and actors to deny them a platform to show the very work that this show purports to be saluting.
At least the soap folks still show up. Many of the daytime talk show hosts couldn't be bothered. Oprah Winfrey, who made hundreds of millions of dollars in daytime television and was honored with the first-ever "Chairman’s Crystal Pillar Award," accepted via taped piece. Even the creation of an award wasn't enough to get Winfrey to pop in and give a shout out. Heck, she could have used the platform to plug OWN, her struggling new cable network. The real question is why the Daytime Emmy people decided to go through with honoring her if she wasn't going to show or even accept it live via satellite.
Also not there were Ellen DeGeneres, Regis Philbin and Dr. Phil McGraw.
There were people on hand to accept the awards for those too busy to attend, but for the most part the producers of the telecast didn't think it was necessary to tell the viewing audience at home who was accepting these trophies. Viewers at home had no idea who accepted trophies for "Dr. Oz" and "Wheel of Fortune" and "Jeopardy."
Some of the biggest executives in daytime television, including ABC's Brian Frons, also skipped the show. That too sends a message to the folks working on these shows that their efforts are not a priority.
On the one hand, given how pathetic the show has become these last two years, it is hard to get too upset at some of the big names for steering clear. On the other hand, maybe if they were a little more engaged and willing, the show might not have become a joke.
From a production standpoint, the Daytime Emmy Awards was a mess. Everything was rushed except the plugs for Las Vegas. Some winners were brought to the side of the stage in advance so they could get on and off the stage faster. There were several ties, which also seemed absurd. Did Bud Selig take over as chairman of the event?
Audiences were misled by the promotions for the show. There were teasers promising appearances by DeGeneres and John Travolta among others. In reality, clips that they happened to be in were shown. The Federal Communications Commission should investigate the show for making misleading claims and promises as well as to look at whether all the product placement was properly disclosed.
Early on in the show, when he was met with boos when he mentioned that two soap operas -- ABC's "All My Children" and "One Life to Live" were going into "forced retirement," host Wayne Brady said, "don't boo me, I didn't write this crap."
Whoever did does deserve to be booed for this crap.
-- Joe Flint
Photo: Daytime Emmys host Wayne Brady with the dance crew JabbaWockeez. Credit: Ethan Miller/Getty Images.