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This story first appeared in the April 5 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
The landscape of daytime television has been transformed by morning-show wars and disappearing soaps, and so too has water-cooler buzz surrounding the Daytime Emmy Awards, for which a telecast is slated for June.
Soap operas and their colorful stars once ruled the annual ceremony (this year’s nominees are set to be announced May 1), but in a post-Susan Lucci world, it’s unclear exactly which genres of programming have the most to gain from having “Emmy winning” attached to their titles.
What is a Daytime Emmy actually worth in 2013? That depends largely on what type of show you have in the race.
If you’re a producer of youth programming on public television, for example, winning an Emmy still can mean a lot. Executive producer Richard Hudson is convinced his educational series SciGirls never would have gotten a second season if it hadn’t won a Daytime Emmy for outstanding new approach in children’s programming in 2011.
“It makes a really big difference in public television when you’re trying to get funding,” he says.
Although PBS’ Sesame Street has won more Emmys than any other children’s series (it has been a nominee or winner for 37 straight years and won eight statuettes in 2012, including one for beleaguered Elmo voice talent Kevin Clash), executive producer Carol-Lynn Parente admits winning isn’t very impactful. However, as kids TV grows more competitive, the accolades are nice at least to refer to, especially when it comes to funding.
“It continues to show your relevance and is a reminder you’re still around and still at the top of your game,” says Parente.
Harry Friedman, who appears in the book Guinness World Records as the game-show producer with the most Daytime Emmy nominations (35) and wins (12) in history, says all those trophies don’t really bring in more — or fewer — viewers, but they do have a bottom-line value. “Stations that buy the shows love to be able to say they’re carrying Emmy Award-winning shows,” he says. “That means a lot in terms of renewals.”
For Anthony Geary, winner of seven Emmys during a 35-year stint as Luke Spencer on General Hospital, the honors have meant surprisingly little. “Does it mean more money in the bank? I haven’t found that to be true. Does it mean being offered more work? No,” he muses. “Though it is nice to put on a résumé.”
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