Daytime Emmy Awards 2012: Stars Celebrate At Low-Key Ceremony

Deborah Gibson and Jack Hanna H-2012

"This is more of a family reunion than an award show,” said "General Hospital's" Kristen Alderson at the 39th annual event, held at the Beverly Hilton.

The fact that there was a murder-suicide in the hotel Friday night did little to dampen the festive atmosphere at the Beverly Hilton on Saturday afternoon when the 39th annual Daytime Entertainment Emmy Awards were presented.

Although the atmosphere was festive, there was no danger of comparing the event to the Oscars or the Primetime Emmys. If you weren’t a fan of daytime television, there were few recognizable faces. It might be comparable to attending an awards show for porn stars – if you’re not fluent with the genre, it just looks like a gathering of attractive people wearing black tie on a sunny afternoon. The overall impression was of wealthy folk who live in Santa Barbara and visit Los Angeles infrequently.

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“For us, this is more of a family reunion than an award show,” said General Hospital’s Kristen Alderson. “There’s not so much riding on a win, so it’s easier to celebrate.”

As an example of how relatively low-key the scene was (and this might be a first), there was no traffic backup at the BevHilton’s circular driveway. Guests just drove up, left the car and were greeted by a few dozen fans. Inside, there was a scene with people greeting one another in the lobby, but there was room for zookeeper Jack Hanna, who had a lemur on his shoulder and was trailed by two women, one with an oversize porcupine on a leash, the other carrying a 5-foot-long alligator. Not far from them was Gloria Allred handing out business cards. Somehow they both fit in.

“If the Primetime Emmys are Dad, then we’re Mom,” said Judge Joe Brown exec producer John Terenzio, whose show had a preparty in the lobby’s Le Chateau wine store. “In network TV, we do all the heavy lifting, and we do it every day. And the kids love us more.”

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There was the standard red carpet with a full complement of photographers, but the Daytime Emmys differed from other awards shows as there also was a publicist who would stand behind each arriving star with their name spelled out on a dry erase board. She was quite busy getting the names and spelling right.

One of those on the carpet was Kate Linder, who has been on The Young and the Restless for 30 years (“I’ve been kidnapped twice”). She strongly defended the work done on daytime dramas: “We do 80 pages of script a day, and we do the scenes in one take,” said the actress. “I’d like to see an Oscar winner do that.”