On May 19, 2000 at Radio City Music Hall in the birthplace of daytime television, New York City, Emmy winner Susan Lucci hosted the 27th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards. It was ABC's turn to broadcast the awards presentation (the Academy rotates the networks), and in association with dick clark productions and executive producer Al Schwartz, produced a fine show -- except for the requisite "music swelling to end an acceptance speech, prior to the recipient's being finished accepting." But that's show biz, and even the biggest stars must adhere to time restraints.
The opening montage featured Linda Dano (ABC's Rae Cummings) along with All My Children's Cady McClain (Dixie), Cameron Mathison (Ryan) and Marj Dusay (Vanessa) signing autographs on the red carpet. Liza Huber (Gwen, Passions) and Kathie Lee were caught modeling their gowns. Lisa Vultaggio (Hannah, GH), Josh Ryan Evans (Timmy, Passions) and fan favorite couple Guiding Light's Bradley Cole (Richard) and Laura Wright (Cassie) strolled arm in arm as they walked the red carpet. "Anticipation is building," said the VO announcer, "as we are moments away from finding out who will take home the gold tonight!"
From the spoof on Susan Lucci and her overdue Emmy win -- introduced by longtime ABC Daytime soap fan, Rosie O'Donnell -- the show was off and running. Amazing that the White House permitted use of the President Clinton clip where he runs after a limo with a brown bag lunch. What great fun. What a wonderful sense of humor Clinton must possess. Wait! Is it possible that he is a soap fan? Imagine the conversation in the Oval Office at lunchtime. "Mr. President, Fidel Castro is on the phone from Cuba regarding the Elian Gonzales situation." "How many times have I told you," barks Clinton in reply. "Not now. I'm watching All My Children!" LOL
Lucci's entrance was spectacular. The rising of Emmy with Lucci astride! How apropos. Fan favorite, Sarah Brown (Carly, GH), received the first award, Outstanding Supporting Actress. She screeched in delight and took the stage to wild applause from fans. I especially enjoyed Shemar Moore (Malcolm, Y&R) calling his mom on the air to share the wonderful news of his win. And wouldn't you know it? He got her voice mail. Even Daytime Emmy winners leave their messages after the beep. "Mom! I won this damn thing," he screamed into the phone. Moore continued with a very uplifting acceptance speech saying believe in yourself.
Backstage Moore told reporters that he spent 20 seconds trying to get his mom to pick up the call. "I'm going to kill her for not answering the phone," he said with a laugh. "I know my mother was watching the show, she just couldn't find the phone." Although he did not expect to win, Moore, who joined the cast of Y&R in 1994, was thrilled. "You are witnessing a dream come true," he said. "Not so much that I won the trophy, but what the trophy represents. The best way to describe my life is in two words: 'Who knew?' (Winning) is just proof that I am doing something right and the hard work is paying off!"
There were many fun moments of the broadcast like Josh Ryan Evans (Timmy, Passions) doing his imitation of Carson's Carnack, Kathie Lee acknowledging Regis in the audience, and the wonderful montages of the past year in daytime. My favorite segments included Barbara Streisand's nod to Barbara Walters, seeing early clips of Barbara Walters, every second Linda Dano was on the air. I especially enjoyed the spoof of Rae Cummings coming on to Y&R's Jack Abbott (Peter Bergman) as somehow she ended up in Genoa City in addition to her travels to Llanview, Pine Valley and Port Charles. In fact, I think it would be so much fun to see Rae Cummings in Oakdale, Springfield, Los Angeles, Harmony and Salem! Long as she's traveling in search of her husband and daughter, she might as well hit everywhere in soapdom. That would be groundbreaking daytime!
Along with fond memories evoked by the montage clips and many giggles along the way, I was moved to tears on two occasions. First, when Camryn "Oh My God" Grimes (Cassie, Y&R) accepted her award, and again when Barbara Walters remembered her older sister. It's easy to see why I am soap person. I am such a sap. LOL I also learned some interesting trivia. Barbara Walters hosted the very first Daytime Emmy Awards 27 years ago, and All My Children has been nominated for Outstanding Daytime Drama every year for the past 25 years.
Lucci was the consummate host, and was more beautiful and poised with each costume change. When asked backstage if she would answer her cell phone if her daughter Liza Huber (Gwen, Passions) called her from the stage of the Daytime Emmys (a la Shemar Moore) she replied with her undeniable charm: "Liza is a wonderful young actress and I look forward to that day. If she wants to reach me on the cell phone, I'll be there. Absolutely!"
Presenters, nominees, winners and attendees all looked their glamorous best. Backstage there were the usual snafus and screw ups, as presenters and winners scurried around getting to the right place at the right time. To paraphrase one presenter, these shows are full of "cluster flucks." (Not quite the right spelling, but we are a G-rated eZine! LOL) To the audience and the viewers, however, all came off without a hitch.
Although I enjoyed the show overall, there were some aspects that could be improved next time. For instance, the camera work was incredible and showcased the various angles of a gloriously golden Emmy and the splendor of the newly restored theater. But there were not enough close up shots of stars in the audience to round out the show. Need more of that. With all of daytime glittering and gathered in one place at one time, let's see as many of them as we can! Also, the clips from the Creative Arts Emmy's left much to be desired. Why show them at all if they are going to be mere nano seconds? Next year, give the behind the scenes folks a tad more of the spotlight. If not for them, the shows could not go on.
One last comment. How fitting that the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences returned to the newly restored Radio City Music Hall to host the 27th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards. Radio City was always glamorous, but after it's painstaking restoration, it is now truly spectacular. What better place to herald the finest in Daytime Television than this amazing venue. It shined as bright as the daytime stars that adorned it on Friday, May 19, 2000, and a grand time was had by all.
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