It was pouring in NYC on April 22, but that didn't dampen the festive mood inside the Marriott Marquis in Times Square where the 33rd Annual Creative Craft Awards were being given out. The sixth floor was brimming with the people who work a daily grind of untold and mostly unsung hours to ensure that our daytime programming makes it to air. Tonight is their night to sparkle.
Before the night starts, there's a cocktail hour where you can nibble on hors d'oeuvres and mingle with the attendees, while people pose for photographers in the press area. My assistant and I mingled, quickly spotting Kassie and James DePaiva (Blair and ex-Max, OLTL) talking to Robin Strasser (Dorian, OLTL). On the other side of the room, Colin Egglesfield (Josh, AMC) arrived with his date for the evening, Connie Fletcher (Erin, AMC) and they posed for the paparazzi. Egglesfield even twirled Connie around to showoff her beautiful gown for the flash bulbs.
Attendees were then invited into the Grand Ballroom, which was filled with tables for their pre-Emmy dinner. That's when we made our way to the press room. What's that like? Pretty much what you would think. There were sectioned off areas for press and photographers along with some snack foods and beverages. Oddly enough, the television in the room had a problem with its sound so we had to strain to hear the speeches as well as the winners! This problem was finally corrected during the last 20 minutes of the night. Ah, the irony. Those who are to report the news were relying on others for their information. Most of the group was more than content to chat amongst themselves, making it even more difficult to hear the volume-challenged television.
The host of the NY portion of the evening was Meredith Vieira, who kept things lively and fun. She praised working on The View and was looking forward to her future on NBC's Today Show, where she will be replacing the exiting Katie Couric. Whenever someone in LA would win, Vieira would instantly jump to the next category, keeping the show moving, and tossed out a few 'Who cares about LA? We're New Yorkers and we know we're more important, right?' comments. After her portion of the evening was over (there were several 'hosts'), she came back to the press room to pose for photos and talk. The only one who never made it back to the press room was Martha Stewart! She bypassed the room and left.
The big winner in NY was Sesame Street, which walked away with seven awards, eight if you count the one for Caroll Spinney (the voice of 'Oscar the Grouch' and 'Big Bird'), who was given a Lifetime Achievement Award. He seemed a genuinely nice guy and even though I grew up watching Sesame Street (it started a year before I did), it instantly took me back to my pre-school days watching Caroll and Bob McGrath.
The first presenters from daytime dramas into the press area were John Driscoll and Michelle Ray Smith ( Coop and Ava, GL). They discussed their current storyline with the Friskar's TV camera people and then made it over to Soapdom. I must admit it was hard to concentrate on anything while looking into Mr. Driscoll's eyes, but I managed to ask him and Michelle about their wildest fan letters. 'I actually have a fan, believe it or not, who sends me pickles,' confessed Michelle. 'I love pickles and Doritos, anything that's salty. So, I have this fan that sends me letters every once in a while with a jar of pickles.' Driscoll's reply was more heartfelt than wild. 'You know, I'd love to say it was like undergarments or something like that, you know, but it hasn't been. Honestly, it wasn't wild it was more touching than anything else. It was the mother of a soldier overseas, who just wanted a 'pick me up' and was trying a little bit of everything, you know, well wishes not just from her and her family and her friends but from people who are thinking about them. Because my family is in the military and so she knew it was kind of close to me. And so, just a nice letter saying 'Hey, we're thinking about you' type of thing.'
Next into the room was Jennifer Landon and Terri Colombino (Gwen and Katie, ATWT). Jennifer had just picked up part of her outfit that very day, even managing to get her shoes buy one get one free! Colombino is really looking forward to Paul Leyden (Simon, ATWT) returning to the show. 'Oh I'm so excited. I can't even express how excited I am. And I heard that it's going to be a really great story. So, I'm really happy. He's very excited as well. He's coming back, I think, in a week! So, we're getting started.' Colombino made sure that she and Jennifer stuck around to congratulate the ATWT Lighting Designers who picked up an Emmy for Outstanding Achievement in Lighting Direction for a Drama Series. ATWT picked up three Emmys at the Creative Craft Awards.
Colin Egglesfield and Chrishell Stause (Josh and Amanda, AMC) were the next presenters back in the press room. Strause is an absolute doll in person, and is very happy with the direction her character is taking these days. 'It's exciting where they're taking Amanda. She's very vulnerable right now but she's in dangerous territory. I love the way that they've written her [Amanda] because nothing short of what they did would have half-way redeemed her. What can we do? She's so bad. Ok' put her dad in the freezer and make her mother completely crazy! She was so bad before, so now you get to see a little window into why she is the way she is.'
Although pleased with where the show is taking Amanda in the future, she does miss having scenes with Janet. 'I'm a little sad because I loved working with Kate Collins. I don't think I was all the way ready for that to end so quickly. That was my favorite thing I've done so far on the show.'
Egglesfield is also delving into uncharted territory on AMC. In fact, soaps in general were new to him when he was cast. 'I hadn't really watched soap operas up until I got the job. Basically, I had a week from when I was told I had the job to when I started. So that whole week I was trying to cram as much All My Children as possible. Ok, this is Kendall, this is Greg, this is'' Where are soap Spark Notes when you need them? Although not uncommon, when he auditioned he wasn't told who he'd be playing and only found out once he was cast, 'I didn't know I was going to be playing Josh when I was hired. The audition sides that they gave me were for a fictitious character that they made up.'
With the evening over most of the press left before the final presenters from OLTL made it in to see them. Kassie DePaiva (Blair, OLTL) knew exactly what she'd want Blair to do once she finds out that Todd was framed by Spencer 'I would like to see her kick a little butt!' she quipped. Robin Strasser (Dorian), who was wearing an original art piece jacket, was also nice enough to extend the evening long enough to comment that if given the choice between a storyline where Dorian makes life hell for Viki by canoodling with Clint or getting back together with the devilish David Vickers, her path is clear! 'Can I do both? Thank you. I'll take that!'
With all the gleaming statuettes handed out to their new owners, the night was over. Congratulations to all the winners!
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