Through television and film, Hollywood has provided countless hours of entertainment. In the industry's continuing effort to find the next big hit, there are two easily quoted sayings that come to mind -- neither of which come from a silver screen gem. "You don't have to reinvent the wheel" and "Everything old is new again." Both phrases aptly applied to this year's Daytime Emmy ceremony, which was comfortable in its familiarity, yet jarring in the attempts made to inject new life into the 40-year-old awards ceremony.
For the second year, the Daytime Emmys were held in the International Ballroom at the Beverly Hilton hotel. The venue also plays host to the Golden Globes each year. Unlike the Globes, which air on a major television network, the Daytime Emmys were once again broadcast by HLN, the former Headline News Network.
Of the acting winners, two were first-time winners with a combined 50 years of soap opera history between them. Two additional winners were first-time winners in their categories.
In a major format change, after Emmy winners gave their acceptance speeches, they were then interviewed live, on-stage, in what was dubbed as an attempt to become "the greatest talk show ever." Various daytime personalities took turns playing the host, asking an assortment of questions to the recently crowned winners. The much-hyped change became the brunt of a profanity-laden roast when, during the In Memoriam tribute, actor/director Corbin Bernsen summoned the spirit of his late mother, Jeanne Cooper, to offer her thoughts on the new format.
In another format tweak, General Hospital's Nancy Lee Grahn hosted 30-to-60-second comedy bits leading in and out of commercials. Though the sketches were something more likely to be seen on a late-night talk show, they were warmly received, and Grahn earned praise for a comedic side that many viewers were unfamiliar with.
There was also a major blunder unseen in any recent awards show telecast. During the presentation for Outstanding Talk Show (Informative), the wrong envelope had been given to presenter Aisha Tyler of CBS's The Talk. Tyler, who was also repeatedly introduced as "Aisha Taylor," caught the mistake as soon as she opened the envelope and amazingly was able to ad lib until the correct envelope was given to her.
But whether the attempts at entertainment were hits or misses, there was one thing that viewers could count on: this was a night to honor daytime's finest performances. And by the end of the night, seven performers took home trophies in six acting categories, and a long-running soap took home the night's top honor for the first time in more than three decades.
» PART TWO: SUPPORTING ACTOR AND ACTRESS