The Outstanding Younger Actor category had the distinction of being the only soap-related category on this year's ballot in which none of the nominees had previously won a Daytime Emmy. However, the five nominees had racked up an impressive nine total nominations between them.
For some fans of The Young and the Restless, seeing actor Bryton McClure's (Devon Hamilton) name on the ballot came as quite a surprise. It was not that the young actor's work over the past year was not worthy of a nomination. The surprise revolved around something much more unusual - a name. In much of the publicity for the show, McClure is referred to simply as "Bryton." So seeing McClure attached to the actor's well-known first name came as a pleasant surprise to many of the show's viewers.
"The people I get to work with, in my opinion, are the strongest cast of actors in daytime," Pelphrey beamed. "Our writers, our producers -- you guys make every day, coming to work a real joy."
In praising his cast members, Pelphrey singled out the work of one particular co-star.
"Kim Zimmer is always giving 110 [percent]," Pelphrey praised. "When you get a partner like that, you can't ask for anything better."
Later in the press room, Zimmer returned the praise, calling the actor a "very special young man."
While Pelphrey is considered by many to be an actor poised for a career outside of daytime television, the actor denied reports that he plans to leave the show. In fact, Pelphrey recently signed a new contract with the show. However, the terms of that deal were not released -- and Pelphrey declined to comment on the contract.
"I don't feel a responsibility [to stay with the show]. I just want to stay," Pelphrey explained. "They've done a lot for me."
While television viewers might find it cliché, it really is an honor just to be nominated for a Daytime Emmy - or any award for that matter. For three of the talented actresses in this year's Outstanding Younger Actress field - Leven Rambin (Lily Montgomery, All My Children), Jennifer Landon (Gwen Norbeck, As the World Turns) and Mandy Bruno (Marina Cooper, Guiding Light) -- this year marked their first ever Daytime Emmy nomination. Another nominee, Christel Khalil (ex-Lily Winters, The Young and the Restless), was a two-time nominee, but had never be awarded an Emmy. Coming into the night, only Camryn Grimes (Cassie Newman, The Young and the Restless) was a previous winner in the category - and that win came back in 1990 when the actress was the "ripe old age" of ten.
Now 16-years-old, Grimes was seen by many as the frontrunner in this year's field. Indeed, much of Y&R's Emmy hopes this year's were, at least indirectly, riding on the young star's shoulders.
Landon, the daughter of the late Michael Landon, thanked the show's creative staff for helping her win her first trophy.
"From our writing team to our actors to our directors. Thank you all so much," Landon said. "To Jesse Soffer (Will Munson) for being in it with me every single day; I love you. And to [executive producer] Christopher Goutman."
In the press room, Landon paid tribute to her father, saying that she was sure that her father would approve of her decision to pursue acting.
"When I read the role [of Gwen for the first time], she was a waitress with a band called The Itty Bitty Kitty Crew. I would totally never name a band that," Landon laughed as she explained how she has molded the character since first trying out for the role in May 2005. "The character that I read is different than the character anyone will see."
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