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35TH ANNUAL DAYTIME EMMY NOMINEE ROUND-UP

By Michael Fairman

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Listen to the audio:

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TV SOAP:
What was your initial thought when you heard you were nominated?

YOUNGER ACTRESS NOMINEE
EMILY O’BRIEN (Jana, “Y&R”):
I had so many thoughts, but I remember saying audibly, “No way, no way no way.”  I was stunned and so excited!

SUPPORTING ACTRESS NOMINEE
TRACEY E. BREGMAN (Lauren, “Y&R”):
I was watching the east coast feed of “The View” and they announced four people in my category and stopped.  When they stopped at four, I went, “Oh my God!  Are there only four nominees this year?”  And then Ali Sweeney (Sami,”DAYS”) announced there was another one, and then Bryan Dattilo (Lucas, “DAYS”) misread my name.  So, what I did when I called Peter Bergman to congratulate him, I said, “I am now so excited to be part of the Bergman family!”  He was so hysterical, and when he called me back he went, “Tracey Bergman, this is Peter Bregman calling!”  So, we had this whole thing going all day long on Emmy day.

YOUNGER ACTRESS NOMINEE
RACHEL MELVIN (Chelsea, “DAYS”):
My reaction to it was when my mom called me.  We had relatives on the east coast who had seen the east coast feed of “The View”.   It was my grandmother’s birthday and they had called to wish her happy birthday.  And they said, “Tell Rachel congratulations.”  Then they called to tell me while I was on my way to work, and I was shocked.  I reacted in a very unpredictable manner, which was that I was very shocked and in awe of it all.  Now it’s sitting with me and it’s weird, in a great way.

YOUNGER ACTRESS NOMINEE
VAIL BLOOM (Heather, “Y&R”):
I went, “Holy Moly!”  I was surprised and thankful, and it’s really lovely to be recognized by your peers.

SUPPORTING ACTRESS NOMINEE:
JUDI EVANS (EX-Bonnie and Adrienne, “DAYS”):
I thought someone was mistaken.  I thought it must be somebody else’s name that was called.  I was in denial and shocked!  I never thought I would hear my name again!
(She laughs)

YOUNGER ACTOR NOMINEE:
DARIN BROOKS (Max, “DAYS”):
It was actually interesting when I first found out I was nominated.  I was totally out of it because it was so early in the morning in LA when they were announced.  I was like, “What time is it?”  My initial reaction was confused and still being half asleep.  It was really cool because I was hanging out all day with Tracey Bregman from “Y&R”.  She and I are in the same acting class.  That day we were going to rehearse in the midst of my having to be at “DAYS”, so we were hanging out and text each other all morning.  We spent the day together hearing, “Congratulations!” from people.  I called Rachel Melvin when I found out.  I called her and all we wanted was a nomination.  For us to be recognized for our work is just fantastic for us.

LEAD ACTRESS NOMINEE:
MICHELLE STAFFORD (Phyllis, “Y&R):
I was on my computer and Stephanie Sloane, from Soap Opera Digest, sent me an email, “Congrats.”  Then I went downstairs to my phone and got a message from Carolyn Hinsey of Soap Opera Weekly that said, “Michelle Stafford, congratulations, you got nominated!”   I am just honored.   It’s really great.  That’s really the win, because you have been chosen out of this huge group of people.

LEAD ACTOR NOMINEE:
THAAO PENGHLIS (Tony, “DAYS”):
I was thrilled, pleasantly surprised, honored, and excited to be among the other actors in the category.  I am the Emmy rookie nominee in my group!  They have all won Emmys before.  I guess I am the dark horse.  The fact that I got in means, people are being objective about the work, which gives me some hope.  I certainly don’t feel I am out of my league.

TV SOAP:
What episodes/scenes did you choose to submit in your acting category, and why?

EMILY O’BRIEN:
I submitted two very different episodes.  The first was the episode with Colleen and Kevin held at gunpoint by my character in the freezer.  And, the second episode was a very vulnerable, yet endearing, side of Jana in the hospital with Kevin.

TRACEY E. BREGMAN:
Where Lauren sees Sheila for the first time, played by Michelle Stafford, in the exact replica of Fen’s nursery.  She basically says to Sheila, “You deserve to die.”  And, there is a very heartfelt scene where she thanks Paul for being the most unbelievable friend, ever.  Then, she goes home and sees the baby, and starts to melt down.  As she starts to melt down, she tears down the entire nursery and then flips out.  The second show I submitted was, when I find out Gloria contaminated the crème.  I confront her and find out that Michael has known all along and lied to me.  Then, I confront him about what kind of marriage and relationship we have.  There were a lot of scenes where I go from strong to vulnerable and crazy, and I thought it would show range.  I am the worst judge of my own work.  So, either Christian, Michelle, Greg or Kristoff, have picked almost everything I have ever submitted.  Michelle Stafford’s vote was the one I went with, because there was a little discrepancy of which tape was going first and which was going second.  That was a whole psychology, as well.  But, Michelle yelled the loudest.

RACHEL MELVIN:
I chose the one where I found out that Nick and Billie slept together.  There was one scene in there where I felt it was the best scene I had done all year.  It was good to me because I felt I was really in it, in the moment.  I poured my heart and soul into it.  I knew if I submitted that and I didn’t get nominated, I had submitted my best work.  On the second tape I was not crying at all.  It was when the sorority girls set up Ford.  I chose that one, which showed a different side of Chelsea.

VAIL BLOOM:
The two shows I submitted complemented each other, because they both involved the storyline with my father, Paul.  The first one was the episode where Paul confesses he is my father and I think he is going to confess a crime.  I picked that because it had a range of emotions and had a dramatic circumstance.  I thought that it was unusual for a younger actress to have that meaty material.   When I first started working, I don’t think anyone realized I was only 24.  I did not tell them when I auditioned, because I knew I was playing a young lawyer and I sort of tried to deepen my voice a little.  It did make me a bit nervous playing a bit older, but it worked out well.

JUDI EVANS:
I submitted a show with Bonnie and a show of Adrienne.  The show with Bonnie was when she and Conner snuck into the morgue to steal Bonnie’s husband’s bones.  They were well-written scenes and really funny.  As Adrienne, I picked the episode where Adrienne goes under cover in the mental institution to help Steve get his memory back and rescue him.   I am hoping that shows a range.

DARIN BROOKS:
I submitted the episode in “The Cheatin’ Heart” for the Save the World Campaign.  That’s when Ford Decker comes in, and I pick a fight with him, and it’s intense.  The other episode I submitted is when Stephanie and Max are cleaning up, “The Cheatin’ Heart” and we have the slow dance.  It showed some fun comedy stuff.

MICHELLE STAFFORD:
I chose the scenes when Sheila escapes, and it’s kind of a creepy, yet humorous show. The second one is when Nick had amnesia, and Phyllis had to go sell herself.  I loved that one.  It was so heartbreaking.  I loved it because it was painful to watch.  I liked evoking that emotion in others.  The reason I chose the Sheila tape was because Christian LeBlanc and Kristoff St. John were like, “Michelle, why aren’t you picking that Sheila scene?”  I go, “I think it’s a little too… watch me, because I am playing a dual role.”  But they said, “Yeah, but it’s really good.”  The other tape options were more of a bum out.  The Nick in the hospital episode I knew there was no question.   I listen to actor’s opinions, no one else.  Actors know, and those who have done this game were hands-down and overwhelming positive about the tape combination.  So basically, if I lose, it’s their fault!
(She laughs)

THAAO PENGHLIS:
I submitted the show when Andre was dressed up as the clown with Sami in the hospital.  It just was so interesting because clowns can be really sad people inside, which is why I had them put a tear on the clown make-up.  But, Andre was a bit of a menacing clown, as well.  And the other episode had scenes with Andre and Kate, and also scenes with Tony at his father’s grave.

TV SOAP:
Who was the first person YOU called to tell them you were nominated?

EMILY O’BRIEN:
I honestly don’t remember.  I know I called my mom, my sister, and a few of my theater professors from school.

TRACEY E. BREGMAN:
I will tell you that Christian called me as they were reading my name, because I had text he and Michelle.  I go, “Hey guys, People magazine said you guys would be nominated.” Christian was on the phone talking to me and I go, “Stop talking, I think they just said my name and if you stay on the phone with me, I will tell you if you were nominated.”  So, he stayed on the phone with me.  He was calling me from his car somewhere and, of course, I text everything to Michelle.  Then Michelle, Christian, my husband and I, all went out for dinner that night to celebrate.

RACHEL MELVIN:
I did not call one person, because they all called me.  That was really ‘rad’.  I was at work all day, and it felt like my birthday because so many people were calling me.  Darin Brooks did call me, and we said congratulations to each other.  We both are still in shock and disbelief.  I like to think we are humble about it, because we can’t believe it ourselves.

VAIL BLOOM:
I think I called a few friends, more like five of my friends.  All my family called me first, because a lot of them are on the east coast and heard about it on “The View”.

JUDI EVANS:
I called my husband Michael.  He was over the moon with joy.  He is my biggest cheerleader, along with my friend Debby O’Conner.  My son happened to be home from school that day, so he was screaming and running through the house when he heard about it.

DARIN BROOKS:
First person I called was my Dad in Hawaii.  I don’t think my mom even knows.  She went to China last Monday with my Aunt, to see the sites there.

MICHELLE STAFFORD:
I called my parents…. always.  My mom is always so excited and wonderful.

THAAO PENGHLIS:
My brother was actually visiting me from Australia, so I got to share it with him, and then we called my sister and my other relatives back in Sydney

TVSOAPS:
What is the best and worst part of being an Emmy nominee for the next two months?

EMILY O’BRIEN:
There is no worst part!  I just wish I could get a ticket for all of my friends and family. From now on, I will just enjoy the ride until the big night!

TRACEY E. BREGMAN
It’s interesting that normally at this juncture we are scrambling; going through and looking at more episodes for the second round of voting.  But, since they have changed the voting process, there is calmness in me, because it’s decided already and they know the winner. The fun part is congratulating everybody, and picking the dress.

RACHEL MELVIN:
The worst part is the anticipation of it all.  I don’t think there is a bad part, because the right people already know who the winners are.  There is only one judging panel, and what’s done is done.  To be nominated is what I wanted anyway.  I have been fortunate enough to attend and watch the Daytime Emmy show for the last two years and to have fun.

VAIL BLOOM:
The best part is that everyone here at “Y&R” is supportive, and there is such camaraderie.  Tammin Sursok is one of my closest friends, and I was really excited to see her on the ballot.  She is away from “Y&R” right now doing a film in Vancouver.  We texted each other when we both found out.  It was exciting!  And I just love Emily O’Brien’s work.   I have been enamored with her work.  She is really unassuming and a hard worker.  It’s great being one of the three girls from “Y&R” getting nominated in the younger category.

JUDI EVANS:
I can’t think of a worst part, just the anticipation.  I know it’s going to sound really corny but to be honored by your peers and that other people in this industry took notice, is really humbling and wonderful, actually.

DARIN BROOKS:
The best thing is that I hope it will open up another door for other things, as well as the recognition.  The worst part about it is just waiting and waiting till June 20th to find out who won.  But I am really excited, and I can’t wait!

MICHELLE STAFFORD:
The best is being a nominee, and most people in daytime did not get a nomination and a minority did.  It’s a complete honor! It’s a game. It’s not like in sports, where truly the best teams win.  I mean we don’t’ have an act-off! (She laughs)  Its not really the best actor wins, it’s the people who are fortunate enough to have two good shows, and what did they do in them and with them.

TV SOAP:
Michelle, what do you think about your competition for the Outstanding Lead Actress prize?

Audio

MICHELLE STAFFORD:
I talked to Nicole Forrester and was familiar with her work, and I think she is great. I am familiar with her from before too. Crystal Chappell is always great, and I think she had a great year this year. Didn’t her character get raped? She may take the Chachki.  Those are big Chachki moments exactly.

TV SOAP:
And Maura West got it last year, so that may be that?

MICHELLE STAFFORD:
Didn’t Maura have cancer this year? Well there you go, she may get the Chachki.  She may take it.

TV SOAP:
Jeanne was in the “Y&R” Out-of-the-Ashes storyline…

MICHELLE STAFFORD:
Oh, I thought she was really good in those, Oh she may take it!

TV SOAP:
Then it could be you?

MICHELLE STAFFORD:
Who knows? There it is.

THAAO PENGHLIS:
I don’t think there is anything bad.  The trouble is, the only time you get what it is all about, is at the end of it.  You forget, you haven’t taken the time to enjoy the process.  For me its like, I have taken this long journey and then finally seeing what I went through.  Certainly being nominated by my peers, and acknowledgement from my producers and the fans, helps the ride along.  I am quite sure the night of the Emmys will be nerve-wracking, even if you go up on stage and win.

TVSOAPS:
Now you have to find something to wear for the big night.  Have you thought about that yet?

VAIL BLOOM:
Everyone was telling me I have to get a dress.  I hadn’t gotten so far as to know when the Emmys were, and everyone kept asking me what day.  The dress thing boggles my mind.  I don’t have designer, designer dresses.  I don’t know what vibe to go for.  It will be fun, but a bit overwhelming!

TRACEY E. BREGMAN:
I have already picked mine.  This is the same designer that dressed me, Mark Zunino.  He has worked for Nolan Miller.  He designed my dress a couple of years ago.  Personally, I had never seen a better dress in my life, and this year it’s really cool and classic.

JUDI EVANS:
I have actually thought more about my son’s tuxedo than my dress. (She laughs) I met up with somebody yesterday at a photo shoot who is going to help me with my dress.  If it were up to me I would pick up something from Target.  I have about that much fashion sense!

DARIN BROOKS:
Of course not!  I don’t know what to do about that yet.  I might go out and buy a suit.  I kind of like pin-stripped suits, and last year I went black shirt and black tie.

MICHELLE STAFFORD:
It’s early to think about a dress.  Sometimes, I don’t decide till a week before.  I am kind of ‘last minute girl’ in my life.  I kind of like the game of putting it all together.  I try not to get too serious.  Then, the whole thing becomes too heavy and then it’s not very fun.  I think I work best under pressure

TV SOAP:
Thaao, what do you think the best and worst part is of being a Daytime Emmy nominee for the next two months?

Interviews

Y&R’s Executive Producer Anthony Morina Talks On Daytime Emmy Drama Series Win For Neil’s Memorial & Honoring Kristoff St. John

Last Friday night, The Young and the Restless was named the Outstanding Drama Series at the 47th annual Daytime Emmy Awards broadcast on CBS. The show won on the strength of their submissions, which centered on the death of Neil Winters; including when the residents of Genoa City find out of his passing, and the subsequent heartbreaking memorial service in his honor.

However, what made those hours of television unlike anything seldom seen; were not only was Genoa City saying goodbye to Neil, but the cast was saying their goodbyes to their beloved friend and colleague, Kristoff St. John (Neil) who had passed away suddenly back in February of 2019.

Y&R’s executive producer, Anthony (Tony) Morina accepted the award for the top-rated CBS Daytime drama during the Emmy telecast, which now makes Morina a five-time Daytime Emmy winner himself!

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Tony on the series emotional Emmy win, and what it meant for him to win the gold for these incredibly moving and special episodes that were at its epicenter paying tribute to Kristoff in the best way the soap opera could. Here’s what Tony shared on the Y&R Drama Series victory and more.

Photo: JPI

Congratulations on your Outstanding Drama Series win. The episodes that you submitted were at every level, so gut-wrenching, sincere, and beautiful.  What did you think about the process that you went through to make these right for Kristoff and the character of Neil?

TONY:  Occasionally, when you are in this business, as you know, you work so hard to achieve certain things, sometimes you think you’re achieving something, and you’re not, and sometimes something shows up that surprises the heck out of you, and this was kind of it for me.  But what didn’t surprise me, of course, were the actors’ ability, the director’s ability, and the crews’ ability, and for these episodes it was at such a high level.  Sometimes there is an emotional element, or an otherworldliness thing that takes over.

Photo: CBS

Yes, because it was all so real and raw; in that we were watching the characters who loved Neil Winters mourn him, but we were also watching all the actors who loved their co-star.

TONY: When everybody was in that church set and were giving their eulogies, it felt like everybody was so behind each other, and everybody just cared for each other so much because they cared so much for Kristoff.  All the eulogies that people were doing were a page and a half to two pages.  They were really long, but you could feel the emotional tension, and you could feel how people just felt.  Kristoff was a very unique special person, who ended up going through some rough times, but he really was beloved.  Sometimes you love people, and sometimes you say somebody is beloved.  Whenever you saw him, he put a smile on your face.  He made you feel like he really cared about you.  Those shows came together really out of this feeling of love.  We did two whole shows that day.  We did that whole show and the show that came after it.  I don’t know how many hours of a day it was, but people had so much emotion attached to it that those shows really kind of took over themselves with everybody just trusting and letting go and supporting each other.  I got a text from Peter Bergman (Jack, Y&R) saying how it was one of the greatest experiences he’d ever had in terms of how it all came together.  Those shows just meant a lot to us, and I really felt that if we didn’t win, I’d be perfectly fine with that, because I was just so glad that we were able to do these episodes, and people got to see it.

Photo: JPI

At what point did you decide, “We are going with this to submit for the Emmy!”

TONY:  I actually knew that day.  I think, I actually said to Josh Griffith (head writer and Co-EP Y&R), “This is going to be our Emmy show … or one of our Emmy shows.”  The other show when everybody finds out Neil died was an incredibly powerful show to me too, but I knew that day when we shot the funeral that you rarely see that kind of rawness.  When you get into this business, and you want to become an actor, it’s tough, but you know that in the end what you want is to get into a position where you can share who you are as a person in an artistic way.  I think the Neil memorial gave people a way to say, “This is why I do this because I get to really share myself, and I get to express how passionate I am and how much I care about other people.”

Photo: JPI

Shemar Moore (Ex-Malcolm) came back to honor his dear friend and on-screen Y&R brother.  How was it having him on set with you to share this experience?

TONY:  Shemar was amazing.  He was there until the bitter end of our tape day.  He could not have been kinder and more supportive of everybody, and really laid out his emotions, and it was like that with everybody.  I would say this was the the most amazing experience I have ever had.

What do you think Kristoff would say?  I think he would be very proud that you gave Neil a real proper sendoff.

TONY:  Absolutely.  I also think Kristoff, would have thought that Neil deserved it, and would have loved it, a, it’s an interesting question because you have got to say to yourself, “Does Kristoff feel he deserves it?” As a character, he’d definitely feel he deserved it.  He was a part of that community.  He was a part of Genoa City.  Those were his friends and his family.  Would Kristoff feel he deserves that?  I don’t know if he would have felt he deserved it, but I know he would have loved knowing how much people cared for him.  I think that would have meant the world to him.  I really do.

Photo: CBS

I loved your acceptance speech.  I thought it was one of the better ones of Emmy night. 

TONY:  Thanks so much.  Matt Kane (publicist, Y&R) has been amazing.   He gave me a lot of guidance on where to go, and my wife, Sally (Sussman Morina) really helped write the speech because the rules were you’ve got 30 seconds.  I really believe in the notion that when you have an opportunity to speak in front of people about something, it has some meaning to you and to other people.  I think you have to put thought into it because how many opportunities do you get in life to share about yourself and how you feel about people?  So, I really appreciate you saying that.

Photo: CBS

What did you think of your Y&R actors: Bryton James’ (Devon) and Jason Thompson’s (Billy) major Emmy victories?

TONY:  Well, personally, I am enormous fans of both people.  I like when nice, good people have nice things happen to them, and you know them.  First off, I was so happy for Bryton because I know he and Kristoff were close, and I know he was deeply affected, as Christel Khalil (Lily, Y&R) was, as everybody was, but they were like family.  I love Bryton personally, and he laid his heart out there.  As for Jason Thompson, people think the world of him, and I think he is an unbelievable actor.  I taught for years, and I have worked with a lot of actors, and I think Jason has such control of his work.  I’m impressed by him.  I’m just as impressed by who Jason is.  I think he’s deserved it other times too, and this was his first win; which must be very special for him.

Photo: deCazotteFacebookPage

During the In-Memoriam tribute on the Emmy broadcast, former producer, Lisa de Cazotte was also featured.  What can you say about your time working with her at Y&R and over your career?

TONY: I’ve known Lisa De Cazotte since Santa Barbara when Paul Rauch (former executive producer) brought her there, and that’s where we first met. Lisa was probably my favorite producer to ever be in the booth with because she let you be yourself, and she let you do your job, and yet, she still had control over the room and the studio.  She was a great touchstone for me, because when you are in this position, you need someone to bounce stuff off of or just say, “Am I really being an idiot here?” because we were old friends, she could say, “Tony, you’re being an idiot.”  (Laughs)  We miss her terribly.  She was really a loved person, and she was just fantastic at what she did.  I just miss her as a friend.

Photo: JPI

And of course, the In-Memoriam featured the late Y&R co-creator, Lee Philip Bell who also passed recently. 

TONY:  Yes, and that’s what was interesting about that speech I gave, because you had to mention those three people: Lee, of course, Kristoff, and Lisa – three truly linchpin important people in daytime drama for many years. Losing all three made it a particularly rough year for The Young and the Restless family.

I also wanted to talk about Eve LaRue (Ex-Celeste Rosales), who had never won a Daytime Emmy but she did for her work on Y&R! She was very emotional and moved by her win as Outstanding Guest Performer in a Drama Series.  What can you say about Eva?

TONY:  She is such a lovely person and she did a great job for us.  I’m just glad for her because I know she had ever won before.

Photo: JPI

One of the clips shown on the Emmy broadcast that Y&R chose for air from Neil’s memorial was Victor’s emotional eulogy; which Eric Braeden delivered so beautifully.   I know how found he was of Kristoff; so it made that on-screen moment all the more heartbreaking. What can you say about Eric?

TONY:  Eric feels as deeply as anybody who I have ever known.  Really, he can come across sometimes as a certain kind of image for people on-screen, but he cares deeply, and is the most supportive actor of every other actor.  Eric has a depth and is a fantastic actor, and he knows how to use his talent.  He actually called me last night and left a message.  He just said, “Hey, I saw you on TV,” and then he just laughed for 5 minutes.  It was really very funny.  He’s not used to seeing me on TV, and so he just laughed.  It was hilarious.

What did you think of Y&R’s win for Outstanding Drama Series knowing they submitted the episodes of Genoa City finding out Neil had passed, and his funeral? Share your thoughts on Tony’s remarks via the comment section below.

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Interviews

Daytime Emmy Winners: Jacqueline MacInnes Wood, Scott Clifton & Heather Tom Talk Winning the Gold & Returning to Work at B&B

This week, The Bold and the Beautiful has been airing encore presentation of Daytime Emmy-winning performances from some of the cast over the years as a prelude to tomorrow night’s 47th annual Daytime Emmy Awards on CBS.

The weeklong Emmy celebration concludes tomorrow with Jacqueline MacInnes Wood’s (Steffy) Emmy-winning performance from last year which won the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series prize for the first-time in her daytime career.

Michael Fairman chatted with Jacqui, along with five-time Daytime Emmy-winner and a nominee for Lead Actress again this year, Heather Tom (Katie) and three-time Daytime Emmy winner, Scott Clifton (Liam).  As daytime soap fans know, Heather and Scott hold the distinction of being the only actors to win in all three acting categories: Younger, Supporting and Lead.

In this candid and fun conversation on the Michael Fairman Channel on You Tube, Jacqui, Scott and Heather remember the nights the won Emmy gold, their acceptance speeches, things they wish they would have said, and what it was like waiting for their names to be called, plus taking a stroll down memory lane and remembering when they taped their Emmy-winning performances.

Scott reveals why he chose not to submit himself in Lead Actor this year, even though he has some of the finest performances throughout the Baby Beth baby switch storyline,.

Later the trio talk about The Bold and the Beautiful being the first U.S. soap opera and first U.S. broadcast show back in production following the shutdown during the coronavirus pandemic and how B&B is looking to shoot episodes during the times we live.

Watch the full video interview below.

Then let us know, what was your favorite part of the moments shared by Jacqui, Scott, and Heather in the Emmy conversation?  Do you think Heather might tie Erika Slezak (Ex-Viki, OLTL) tomorrow night with her sixth win in the Lead Actress category?  What do you think of B&B’s return to production following the sentiments shared.

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Days Of Our Lives

DAYS Thaao Penghlis Chats on His Daytime Emmy Nomination & How He Makes Tony DiMera One of a Kind

He has been one of the longstanding cast members of Days of our Lives and certainly of Salem’s notorious DiMera Clan; and while Thaao Penghlis may be off our screens for a time and then comes back again; though the years one thing has been true, he delivers top-notch performances in a way that is uniquely ‘Thaao’.

This year at the 47th annual Daytime Emmy Awards to be broadcast on Friday night, June 26th at 8 p. m. EST, Thaao is vying for the Outstanding Lead Actor prize amongst a formidable group of other daytime favorites.  And this makes it two years in a row that Penghlis has received an Emmy nomination although this time in a different category.

As fans know, Penghlis takes the art of acting seriously, and expects other he works with to bring their A-game, just as he does time and time again; whether it be playing DAYS dashing Tony or the evil Andre or when he portrayed Victor Cassadine on General Hospital.

Michael Fairman TV spoke to Thaao to get his thoughts on: receiving the Emmy recognition and what it means to him what he thought about his nominated scenes, plus what he might be doing at home during the ceremony, and where he hopes Tony DiMera’s future is headed.   Here’s what Thaao shared.

Photo: JPI

Tell me about what scenes you submitted that landed you a Lead Actor Emmy nod!

THAAO:  Well, the week I came back to DAYS, I had 11 shows, and this material was from one show of three I did one day!  When you think of other actors doing 150 shows, and I did less than 50 this past year, my choice is kind of limited.  So, when I came across these particular scenes, which were with Eric Martsolf (Brady) and with Arianne Zucker (Nicole), what I liked about it is that usually when you see other peoples’ work, its histrionic, it’s great tears, it’s drama – and what I was able to put together had a through line and an arc from beginning to end.  It makes it very logical when somebody is following your story, and you can show a whole ebb that makes sense.  I had some lines that were really difficult to say, like, “Coming back from the dead is not easy.”  When I get lines like that, I throw it away, and because of that, it becomes humorous.  I have to say I work well with Arianne.  She was great.  I found in the past, when I have worked with some actors, they step on your lines.  I found the best way to stop that is I put my hand up, and I say, “Hey!” and everything goes silent.  They go into shock mode, and I say, “I haven’t finished,” and then I go on.  (Laughs)  So, when Kristen as Nicole starts to talk to Tony the way she does, and she says, “You’d better behave…” I thought, “This is a DiMera you are talking to,” so, I just snapped back at her.  I gave her a, “Hey!”  So, she shut up, froze, and I went on.

Photo: JPI

Would you say your reel was more comedic … or both funny and serious?

THAAO:  It is both.  There are subtleties to it.  There is a teacher I know in Australia, and she is very critical.  She said, “I want to see your work.”  I showed it to her, and she wrote back, “Oh my, God.  How did you make those transitions so readily?”  I went, “Oh.  How did I do it?”  I didn’t think of that.  I think it’s an old technique.  It’s called having to do 3 shows in one day, and you had better get your stuff right, and it’s about how do you make a scene work?  There is one director who I did a miniseries with who said to me, “Where did you get your training from?”  I said, “Daytime.”  He said, “My God.  You certainly know how to have a camera follow you,”   Well, the camera has to follow your movement.  So, when I finished a transition, I’d move to another spot, and the camera had to follow me.  So, what happened in the arc of this Emmy-nominated piece is that I took charge and controlled the scene so that it became a scene of lots of transitions. And of course, charm, I did all of what I thought Tony would be.  He is a DiMera.  I have one of those looks. I don’t know where it comes from, maybe it’s as I get older, but I’ve learned how to work the camera where I may slam something first to get your attention, and then the camera comes onto your face, and you’re going, “Oh, what the hell is he thinking?”  So, I can play the dark side quite readily, and yet in my real life, I’m not so bad. (Laughs)

Courtesy/ABC

You have Thorsten Kaye (Ridge, B&B) and Steve Burton (Jason, GH) also in your category, and these guys who are obviously been soap veterans like yourself.  What do you think about the group you have been nominated with? 

THAAO:  I never worked with Steve Burton, but hear good things.  I know Jon Lindstrom (Kevin/Ryan, GH).  He’s a lovely actor.  I have worked with Jason Thompson (Billy, Y&R).  He’s a lovely actor.  He is well-trained.  So, it is nice to see that the nominees are all vets.

Right, they are all vets.  It seems like a good group to be with. 

THAAO:  I agree, and I love that the Daytime Emmys are coming back to television.  I think it is an upswing when they think of daytime dying.  I think whoever made this happen is taking on the responsibility of taking daytime back.  It is why people love novellas.  People love the story, they love to follow the characters, and we’ve got fantastic fans.  I mean, what would we do without them?  You can’t sustain the show without them, and you pay a price, you have to know how to entertain them because once they know who you are and what you’re about, they get bored.  So, you have to be ahead of your audience all of the time.  That’s what I have always tried to do with both characters that I’ve played on DAYS

Photo: JPI

They’re doing a virtual ceremony this year.  How do you think you would dress while watching the ceremony?

THAAO:  You don’t wear a tux in your house, do you? So, I’ve invited some people for a celebratory time.  Lauren Koslow (Kate, DAYS) and her husband Nick Schillace (head of make-up, DAYS) and Leann Hunley (Anna, DAYS) are some of my great friends who have been very supportive of me through some tough times this year, and I’ve got a friend who has got  a wonderful restaurant, and he is going to cater it.  Probably it will be a group of 10.  You know, could you imagine being here on your own, in a tuxedo, with a glass of champagne? (Laughs)

I know, kind of awkward! (Laughs)  You’ll put something nice on for the big night, right?

THAAO:  Yes, you know me.  I’m always dressed.  What would you suggest?  Sweatpants on the bottom and a tuxedo jacket!  How about that? (Laughs)

Photo: JPI

Now, you have been previously nominated for Daytime Emmys, too!

THAAO:  Yes, and last year I was nominated as well for Outstanding Guest Performer.  So, it’s kind of nice to be back-to-back, and in 2008, I was nominated for Lead Actor when I played the clown in the Tony and Andre storyline.  Thank God, DAYS recently DAYS had James Reynolds (Abe) wining in the Lead Actor category.  I thought, “Wow.”  That was for years and years of good work that he’s done, and also, Greg Vaughan (Eric) wining for Supporting Actor was very nice, but we haven’t had that many wins in the acting categories over the years.

Photo: JPI

DAYS tapes so far ahead of air; that what was once a seemingly major concern has paid off swimmingly during the coronavirus pandemic.  The soap is the only show to have enough episodes in the bank for months ahead when production shut down and enough even when other shows go back into production.  Who would have thought?

THAAO:  We used to think it was ridiculous that DAYS taped eight months ahead, but look at us now! Who would have thought is right?

What would you love to see happen with Tony when DAYS does resume filming new episodes again? 

THAAO:  I’d like to go back and play the head of the DiMera family.  I’ve never been granted that, and I think, at this stage, with the way I worked with Joe Mascolo (Ex-Stefano) it would be nice to see the transition just like Michael Corleone did in Godfather.

So will you be rooting for Thaao to take home the gold as Lead Actor in a Drama Series come Emmy night?  Do you hope DAYS writes Tony into upcoming story, and if so, how would you like to see him on the canvas? Comment below.

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