After A Terrible Start, The Online Daytime Emmy Presentation Wasn't Bad

The presentation of the 41st annual Daytime Emmy Awards on daytimeemmys.net -- this after the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences was unable to come to any kind of an agreement with any broadcast or basic cable network to carry the show -- was in many ways better than I imagined it would be. In fact, I had imagined the worst. But what I saw, while far from the glorious broadcast prime-time productions of old, was not at all difficult to sit through -- which places it above the often cringe-inducing Daytime Emmy telecasts in 2012 and 2013 on HLN.

During the first few minutes of the telecast, I was about to give up and ignore the show. I had not watched the red carpet arrivals -- and it looks like that was the smart thing to do, since I have yet to read anything anywhere on the Web that has not heaped harsh criticism on the overall direction of the carpet coverage and the amateurish interviewers who were featured. But I did catch a few moments of it in the transition from arrivals to the start of the ceremony in the International Ballroom of the Beverly Hilton Hotel.

There were two young women I had never seen before babbling on about all sorts of things, including the fear one of them had that one of her nipples was about to pop out. Or maybe she was afraid that it had previously popped and she had not noticed. It was difficult to tell.

Then the screen went to black and stayed that way for what seemed to be a several minutes. Had the audio not remained throughout, I might have figured that there had been a major technical snafu of some kind and turned my attention from my laptop to the TV, where the friends I was visiting, and friends of theirs -- not one of whom knew that the Daytime Emmys were online, or would have watched had they been on television -- were happily enjoying episodes of “House Hunters” on HGTV.

Just as I was about to give up Emmy host Kathy Griffin appeared, welcoming guests to the ballroom and humorously admonishing someone in the audience, “Get off your phone, sir! Get off your f---ing phone!” I assume she was being ironic, since this Daytime Emmy event was historic in its embrace of digital media (or in digital media’s embrace of it). But I couldn’t hear her continued comments, because all of a sudden the signal was buffering.

Yes, buffering! I had wondered how long it would be until that happened.

But then Griffin returned, and from then on (as far as I could tell) the Daytime Emmys proceeded problem-free. (My attention during the second half of the Awards ceremony was shared with the first half of ABC’s new live talent competition show “Rising Star,” so I might have missed something.)

Griffin merrily dropped a few “s” bombs throughout the rest of her opening remarks, which felt rather uncalled for under the circumstances, but later felt almost quaint and restrained after Sharon Osbourne “f” bombed the audience (in the ballroom and at home) and said something about a “blow job.” I’m all for less restricted content on the Internet, but I didn’t think it was necessary here, and it seemed to me that Osbourne was embarrassing herself.

Griffin was similarly inappropriate when she interrupted the acceptance speech of “Young and the Restless” executive Producer Jill Farren Phelps (whose show had just been honored as Outstanding Drama Series) with a crude, “If you thank your f---ing dog I’m going to draw the line!”

“No, but I’m going to thank my f---ing daughter,” Phelps replied.

The “f” virus was spreading! Fortunately, the show ended moments later.

All in all, it seemed to me that the entire affair moved along at a brisk pace, mainly because it had no commercials. (An occasional bathroom or snack break would have been welcome; I was afraid to hit the pause button and leave the room for any reason because I didn’t know if I would lose the transmission or would lose my place and have to start the awards over.) For the most part the acceptance speeches weren’t rushed (though I wondered why a couple of them were, since the Internet is supposed to know no bounds, and the show came in well under the two-hour mark).

Clips showcasing nominated series, actors and personalities were plentiful and for the most part effective.

The biggest botch of the night was the use of a clip of Guy Wilson as Will Horton in “Days of Our Lives” to highlight the nominated work of Chandler Massey, the actor who played Will before Wilson took over the role. Massey won the award (for Outstanding Younger Actor, his third such honor) and, when he reached the stage, said to the audience, “Did you see my reel? That was awesome!”

As awards show screw-ups go, it was epic. But unpredictable events are always welcome, and Massey handled it beautifully.

If anything, the overall direction of the show was a bit off, as in often sluggish. But I imagine the overall budget for this thing was quite a bit lower than it had been when produced for television, and as slow as it sometimes was it wasn’t unwatchable.

Some additional observations:

New giant Internet personality Katie Couric, now chief global anchor at Yahoo, wasn’t on hand to participate in the first-ever online Emmys. Also, she won as Outstanding Talk Show Host for her television talk program. (She tied with Dr. Oz, another no show.) We’ll have to give her a pass on this one, since this was her wedding weekend, but the timing of it all wasn’t great.

Indeed, many other top winners didn’t show up, including Steve Harvey, Ellen DeGeneres, Bobby Flay and the hosts of “Good Morning America.” That would never have happened a few years ago when the Daytime Emmys were big sweeps events on prime-time TV.

Kudos to the Academy for including a new category that reflected the Internet of it all: Outstanding Drama Series – New Approaches. The nominees were all Web series. The winner was the popular Web soap opera “Venice.”

How interesting was it that the failed Internet version of ABC’s late and much-missed soap “One Life to Live” received the Emmy for Outstanding Directing Team?

Tags: awards show, tv
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