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Article: Daytime Emmys, Primetime Nightmares

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Well I haven't put up copies I have of Tom Smith's columns for a while but here is this reviewing the 2002 Daytime Emmys which we all might recall had a fiasco or two. Love his description of Sheffer and criticizing Hunt Block's acting during the Bryant story:


by Tom Smith

May 31, 2002

Let’s get it out of the way: My picks for the big 9 prior to the telecast were:


OUTSTANDING YOUNGER ACTRESS: Jennifer Finnigan (Bridget, B&B)








4 out of 9 ain’t...great. For the record, the winners were Young, Finnigan, Josh Duhamel (Leo, AMC), Crystal Chappell (Olivia, GL), Peter Bergman (Jack, Y&R), Susan Luc--er, Flannery (Stephanie, B&B), Y&R, ATWT, and OLTL. Well, you know how I feel about the Emmys anyway. Not worth anything, but a great show. And what a show this year!

First, let me say that this year’s hosts were fab! I was a little skeptical at first, but I give credit where credit is due. The Olsen twins did a superb job! They were classy, and well-groomed, and---what? Bob Barker was the host? Come on, the Olsens were on stage way more than he was! LeVar Burton as an Olsen twin was funny, not. Maybe Dick Clark has spent too much time on Bloopers & Practical Jokes, because the Emmy telecast was simply a two-hour version of that show, minus any intentional laughs.

Next, I’m thrilled to have been the only one on my block to pick the younger categories. Young did good work in an otherwise laughable storyline, and there was something about Finnigan’s sheer naiveté as Bridget that screamed Emmy! And to all you Eden Riegel (Bianca, AMC) fans out there, if she couldn’t when last year when her storyline was hot, and she had halfway decent material, she didn’t have a chance this year.

Duhamel is okay as Leo, but I’d have rather it gone to--well, pretty much anybody else. I prefer Chappell winning--Beth Ehlers (Harley, GL) would have been alright too. Reports from the Emmy committees as posted on goldderby.com slammed Hunt Block’s “tears over Bryant” scenes. I thought he did his best work in years there, thought that may be damning him with faint praise, which I’m not trying to do. I still would have preferred him to win over Bergman. Neither Bergman nor tag-team nominee Eric Braden (Victor, Y&R) have done anything noteworthy in years, so why do they keep filling the slots? For the same reason Best Directing keeps going to Y&R--they just like them.

The first disaster of the evening came when ATWT took the gold for Outstanding Writing. Most of the time allotted for the speech evaporated as Head Writer Hogan Sheffer made his way to the podium. (Any Cheers fans here? Tell me I wasn’t the only who yelled “Norm!” when Sheffer stood up.) What time Sheffer had left he used talking about how fat he was, and thanking ABC. That’s right, he thanked ABC, not CBS. Worse, Sheffer didn’t even realize it--he continued with his speech until somebody pointed it out to him. Then, he talked about how much trouble he was going to be in--at which point his time was up.

I love Sheffer. Whether he’s hitting home runs or making a Chris Farley-sized fool out of himself, he makes filling this column’s pages so much easier.

Disaster Two: Susan Flannery, not Susan Lucci wins Outstanding Lead Actress. This is not a disaster in of itself. Flannery definitely deserved the award over Lucci, but, by now, you know the story. Adrienne Frantz and Justin Torkildsen (Rick & Amber, B&B) are called to present the winner for Outstanding Lead Actress. They say Susan, and everybody erupts, and the All My Children music starts playing. Lucci, being the only one left with a brain in her head, questioned whether it was her or Flannery. Unfortunately, pumpkinhead Rosie O’Donnell convinced La Lucci it was her. No sooner does Lucci come from backstage, than rightful winner Flannery takes the stage. Just because Lucci needed that extra jab, Flannery makes special mention in her speech of how she thought Finola Hughes (__________ Devane, AMC) was going to win. (Hughes was probably the only person less deserving than Lucci.)

Now, this little segment of time has been discussed and analyzed more than the film of the JFK assassination. I knew it was Flannery who won for two reasons: 1) It was clearly audible to us at home, but 2) look at the body language of Torkildsen and Frantz. I don’t care how loved or well-respected Lucci is, people are not going to go that nuts because someone from ANOTHER SHOW won, especially when someone from THEIR OWN show is nominated in the same category. That was a dead giveaway.

Disaster Three: OLTL Wins Best Drama. No, I’m not talking about the technical snafu where the video screen got stuck on As the World Turns. Truthfully, out of the nominees submitted, ATWT was the most deserving. Even though the show slacked off late in the year, it was still better than dependable but lethargic Y&R, pretentious bore AMC, and bi-polar winner OLTL. OLTL had fits and starts of brilliance, but has yet to become a steady must-see show. Merely being better than JFP’s OLTL just isn’t cutting it. My only consolation is telling myself that this win, OLTL’s first ever in the category, makes up for the one they should have gotten in 1994. (Back when I still cared about the Emmys).

Oh well. As I said, the Emmys are for entertainment value, and whatever else, they certainly were entertaining this year.

NEXT:ABC Daytime and the Todd doll, Disney’s continuing struggles with cable

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I had totally forgotten about the Susan drama. Wow that seems like a lifetime ago. "Pumpkinhead" ha ha...

If it is for health reasons then I'm sorry but otherwise I'm glad Sheffer has stayed out of the spotlight and hasn't had as many interviews in recent years. He is the epitome of the soap "writer" who hates soaps and who gets attention because he likes to say shocking things, not for any talent. I used to be disgusted by his comments and attitude at ATWT, even as many went on about how brilliant it was.

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