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44th Annual Daytime Emmys Drama Performer Pre-Nominations Announced!

Courtesy/NATAS

It’s “game on” for some of your favorite performers in the world of daytime drama with the official annoucement Wednesday morning from The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS).  Today, the organization has revealed the Drama Performer Pre-Nominations for the upcoming 44th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards.

Before we get to the list of who is still in the running for Emmy gold, here was the process used to determine those chosen as Pre-Nominated performers: An online judging ballot containing all entrants in each of four performer categories (Lead Actor and Actress and Supporting Actor and Actress) was sent to all registered, eligible peer judges. The ballot contained a randomized order of performers in each category, regardless of their show affiliation. Judges were required to view clips online containing the work of each performer entry before selecting their top 10 performer choices in each category. Ballots were then submitted directly to Lutz & Carr, Inc., an independent accounting firm, who tabulated the results.

The Pre-Nominated performers who received the highest number of votes will now advance to the blue ribbon and final screening round, scheduled to begin on February 20, 2017.  It is that round which will determine both the finalist nominees and the eventual winner.  In addition, the names of the Younger Actor and Actress in a Drama Series have been revealed as this list goes directly to the blue ribbon round without having to go through a pre-nomination submission process.

Look for the nominations for the 44th Annual Daytime Emmys to be announced live on Wednesday, March 22, 2017, once again on the CBS afternoon series, The Talk!

Congratulations to all the men and women who are moving on in the awards competition! So without further ado, here are the pre-nominated performers in the Outstanding Lead Actress, Lead Actor, Supporting Actress, Supporting Actor, Younger Actress and Younger Actor.

Outstanding Lead Actress In A Drama Series

Courtesy/CBS

Kristian Alfonso (Hope) Days of Our Lives

Sharon Case (Sharon) The Young and the Restless

Melissa Claire Egan (Chelsea) The Young and the Restless

Mary Beth Evans (Kayla) Days of Our Lives

Nancy Lee Grahn, (Alexis) General Hospital

Jen Lilley (Ex-Theresa) Days of our Lives

Gina Tognoni (Phyllis) The Young and the Restless

Heather Tom (Katie) The Bold and the Beautiful

Jess Walton (Jill) The Young and the Restless

Laura Wright (Carly) General Hospital

 

Outstanding Lead Actor In A Drama Series

Maurice Benard (Sonny) General Hospital

Courtesy/NBC

Peter Bergman (Jack) The Young and the Restless

Scott Clifton (Liam) The Bold and the Beautiful

Billy Flynn (Chad) Days of Our Lives

Roger Howarth (Franco) General Hospital

Vincent Irizarry (Deimos) Days of Our Lives

Christian LeBlanc (Michael) The Young and the Restless

John McCook (Eric) The Bold and the Beautiful

Kristoff St. John (Neil) The Young and the Restless

Jason Thompson (Billy) The Young and the Restless

 

Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Drama Series

Eileen Davidson (Ashley) The Young and the Restless

Courtesy/ABC

Judi Evans (Adrienne) Days of Our Lives

Stacy Haiduk (Patty) The Young and the Restless

Amelia Heinle (Victoria) The Young and the Restless

Elizabeth Hendrickson (Chloe) The Young and the Restless

Finola Hughes (Anna) General Hospital

Anna Maria Horsford (Vivienne) The Bold and the Beautiful

Kate Mansi (Ex-Abigail) Days of Our Lives

Michelle Stafford (Nina) General Hospital

Kelly Sullivan (Ex-Sage) The Young and the Restless

 

Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Drama Series

John Aniston (Victor) Days of Our Lives

Obba Babatundé (Julius) The Bold and the Beautiful

Steve Burton (Dylan) The Young and the Restless

Sean Carrigan (Ben) The Young and the Restless

Chad Duell (Michael) General Hospital

Bryton James (Devon) The Young and the Restless

Wally Kurth (Justin) Days of Our Lives

Jeffrey Vincent Parise (Carlos/Dr. Joe Rivera) General Hospital

James Reynolds (Abe) Days of Our Lives

Dominic Zamprogna (Dante) General Hospital

 

Outstanding Younger Actress In A Drama Series

Lexi Ainsworth (Kristina) General Hospital

Camila Banus (Gabi) Days of Our Lives

Reign Edwards (Nicole) The Bold and the Beautiful

Hayley Erin (Kiki) General Hospital

Olivia Keegan (Claire) Days of our Lives

Hunter King (Summer) The Young and the Restless

Chloe Lanier (Nelle) General Hospital

Alyvia Alyn Lind (Faith) The Young and the Restless

Paige Searcy (Jade) Michaels Days of Our Lives

 

Outstanding Younger Actor In A Drama Series

Jared Breeze (Max) The Young and the Restless

Bryan Craig (Morgan) General Hospital

Rome Flynn (Zende) The Bold and the Beautiful

Pierson Fodé (Thomas) The Bold and the Beautiful

James Lastovic (Joey) Days of Our Lives

Kyler Pettis (Theo) Days of Our Lives

Tequan Richmond (TJ) General Hospital

Anthony Turpel (R.J.) The Bold and the Beautiful

So, what did you think of the daytime drama Pre-nominations for Lead Actor and Actress, Supporting Actor and Actress, Younger Actor and Actress? Who are you most happy to see score a pre-nom and remain in the running for the gold statuette? Who are you most shocked and suprised to see not moving on, or left off the ballot?  Who should have been on this list that isn’t? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!

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Katy
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Katy

If Lexi submitted her scenes with Maurice and NLG then its in the bag…then again younger actress has produced some surprise winners.

dmr
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dmr

Although I am not a big fan of Lexi Ainsworth; Haley Erin being included in this category, alongside some real talent, baffles me. I cringe whenever Kiki enters a scene.

Steve
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Steve

Haley Erin has improved tremendously since the days of her wailing over Silas’ death. And now thankfully out of Morgan’s orbit, She and RPW’s Dillon are a compelling couple.

dmr
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dmr

I’ve just never cared for the character and I don’t think that I ever will-the character, in my opinion, is Tuesday/Wednesday “filler.” I agree, however, that there has been an improvement.

Dan
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Dan

I think Hayley is highly underrated. She was excellent in the scenes post Morgan’s death. I personally think she’s better in the role than Kristen Alderson was. Agree with Steve also, I like Dillon and Kiki as a couple.

dmr
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dmr

Dan, I agree with you there-Haley is much better in the role than Kristen was-in my opinion.

tsuds
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tsuds

I loved Kiki.. I think she is talented and much better fit for the Kiki role than the previous talented actress from OLTL.

Lisa
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Lisa

Who cares it’s not being shown on MTV

Jill
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Jill

Will be on tv Michael

davlestev1
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davlestev1

only if you brokered the entire deal lol…no announcement has been made they hope it’s possible

Scott (ATWT Fan)
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Scott (ATWT Fan)

A lot of these nominations I am completely here for. I cannot wait for the final rollout! Gina, to me, is a standout in the Lead Actress category. As if Heather Tom, etc. This is going to be a tight race this year!

Karen
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Karen

Hopefully the folks that post here will not have another meltdown when Sharon Case is not nominated.

The academy have not nominated her since 2004 yet the posters over here act like the world is ending every spring when she fails to receive a nomination.

Melissa Scharpf
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Melissa Scharpf

Mishael Morgan needs to be on the list .

Tomas Torquemada
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Tomas Torquemada

AGREE

mollie
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mollie

She’s fantastic. Did she submit, do you know?

Stephanie
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Stephanie

I see again good actors are not getting recognized..

KansasGuest
Guest
KansasGuest

It’s the show’s producers who actually decide which actors will compete in specific categories, and if they will even submit a reel for consideration. So, strangely, daytime nominations are more of a popularity contest within the actors’ own shows than they are for the actual Emmy. They are a lot more political than primetime Emmys, which tend to have smaller casts, and defined lead actors.

Brian
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Brian

That’s not true, the actors themselves decide whether or not to submit their names for the Emmys and for which category, if they feel they’re Lead or Supporting, or what have you. Anyone on any show can choose to submit their name for consideration, or an actor can choose not to submit their name, like Maura West and Jane Elliot apparently decided to do this year. It’s not up to the shows producers.

giovanna
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giovanna

Ugh sucks so many nominated just for one spot don’t really care for this anymore

Jake CNJ
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Jake CNJ

TJ on GH…did he have a story to get a nod???

Patrick
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Patrick

Wally Ingalls Wilder – My man made the cut… he’s still to be remembered

“…Jeffrey Vincent Parise (Carlos/Dr. Joe Rivera) General Hospital ”

pre – nom or otherwise, the dead trio of Frank / Jean / Shelley mucked so much up

his dancing eyes are forever… and his natural REELS made up for all the lack of color

he proved he had range with Dr. Joe.

Davy
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Davy

BORING!

Teresa Berwick
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Teresa Berwick

Congratulations to all of them. Cant see who wins….

Michael
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Michael

Doesn’t Heather Tom have enough Emmys already?

EIleen Hargis
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EIleen Hargis

I agree with pretty much all the pre noms
The younger actor catagory is very sparse, tho. Several noms hardly appeared in screen.

su0000
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su0000

good grief .. how old does one have to be to get out of the ”’young”’ 50?

Outstanding Younger Actor In A Drama Series
Bryan Craig (Morgan) General Hospital

And, I am luvin this–

Outstanding Lead Actor In A Drama Series
Roger Howarth (Franco) General Hospital

But-
Maurice/Sonny will bring home the gold ….

Paul
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Paul

MB dials in his performance so much. If the award was for hissing and stammering, I’d give it to him. Lead actor, not so much for me.

I do think Laura Wright deserves a nom and a win.

TJ receiving a nom is ludicrous. Given how infrequently he aired, he should be considered a guest star.

Steven
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Steven

Omg I can’t wait congrats too all the nominee and go Days of our lives please give some Tie in the actress category please please please!!!!

Kevin C
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Kevin C

Katherine Kelly Lang is overlooked again…She is so overdue for an emmy.

mike
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mike

Jess Walton should be in supporting.

Patrick
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Patrick

Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Drama Series John Aniston (Victor) Days of Our Lives Wally Kurth (Justin) Days of Our Lives Jeffrey Vincent Parise (Carlos/Dr. Joe Rivera) General Hospital James Reynolds (Abe) Days of Our Lives Dominic Zamprogna (Dante) General Hospital look at all this color…. wide range of dynamic for love of this genre… I’d give it to John Anniston so close to this win… Wally Kurth definitely must make the top 5 and honorable mention… James Reynolds because he was carelessly “let go” and should have remained as Dr. Joe… GH had so many reasons to keep him.… Read more »

Joel
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Joel

How on earth can B&B’s star of the year, Rena Sofer, not be nominated? Oh, yeah the same way last years’ star of the year, Karla Mosley, was overlooked.

mollie
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mollie

Crazy! I agree.

lll
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lll

The first snub coming to mind is William deVry. Besides that, congrats to all nominees.

Dan
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Dan

Speaking only about GH, Maurice Benard, Laura Wright and Bryan Craig should all be winners in my view for the Morgan’s death storyline. Maurice hasn’t been nominated since 2011, and if he doesn’t make the final cut this year, it will be such a slap in the face. Laura has some tough competition from GH with Nancy Lee Grahn. A couple names I expected and I’m disappointed not to see, William deVry, Maura West, Jane Elliot. But I know Jane particularly has avoided submitting her name in the past, so it’s possible she might not have put herself in the… Read more »

Patrick
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Patrick

Outstanding Lead Actress In A Drama Series Jen Lilley (Ex-Theresa) Days of our Lives THIS is a nice acknowledgement and stamp of approval of how talented Jen Lilley can be ; when given script she’s a solid presence who can mix it up with any and all cast members… a ready repertoire. she’s always intriguing LOVE Jenn Lilley. OK I think the top 5 Mary Beth Evans (Kayla) Days of Our Lives Nancy Lee Grahn, (Alexis) General Hospital Jen Lilley (Ex-Theresa) Days of our Lives Gina Tognoni (Phyllis) The Young and the Restless Laura Wright (Carly) General Hospital 1. Mary… Read more »

Celia
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Celia

Yes, Patrick, Jenn Lilley is waaaay up there, but Nancy Grahn overshadows all these multi-talented ladies. Her acting as the “town’s lush” is overwhelming. Speechless and breathless….that’s a fact, in my opinion. Stacy Haiduk as supporting ( unbrlievably moving), with Finola Hughes right behind. I do not understand the reasoning behind Eileen Davidson, or Melissa Egan–as “fulminating” as Eileen is, her talent has not been showcased lately. To me, she has been dormant, as has Melissa, albeit I have never considered the latter as such a prize; even in her AMC days. JMO. Younger: Chloe Lanier–Nelle walked in as a… Read more »

barbara mcdonald
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barbara mcdonald

William Devry should have been on there. I would boycott, but NLG needs to win.

DOMENICA
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DOMENICA

Wen is goin to be on tv wath daet

davlestev1
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davlestev1

wow

Celia
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Celia

Hi, Domenica,
I believe you are asking for the date? It is April 30th, 2017.
If Italian is your first language: la data e’ il 30 aprile, del 2017, al canale “POP”.
Spero che l’informazione ti aiuta.

mollie
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mollie

Thank you, Celia. Sweet.

davlestev1
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davlestev1

It’s not set to be televised yet and that’s the truth. Pop is not set to televise these awards as of yet

Celia
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Celia

@mollie.
Hi, mollie,
Likewise, mollie. Thank you!

Tammy Kreiss
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Tammy Kreiss

Where’s my Eric Martsolf???? Congrats to all my friends who got nominated!

KMB
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KMB

Someday, before he leaves soaps, I hope to see Stephen Nichols win sometime.

mollie
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mollie

Love him too. He’s so steady.

Steve
Guest
Steve

For the scenes on Cassadine Island, Genie Francis should have been up for Supporting Actress.

Too soon for Chloe Lanier. What storyline was DZ really prominent in this past year?

mollie
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mollie

Genie is being wasted right now! This very talented actress needs and deserves a front burner story.

nancy dillingham
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nancy dillingham

My vote goes to Genie, also! And, yes, those scenes, particularly the exquisitely written scene where Kevin declares his love for her, merit a win for both Genie and Jon.

Chrystie_Delancey
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Chrystie_Delancey

Billy Flynn – Billy Flynn – Billy Flynn! This year, for sure, he blows away the competition!!

mollie
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mollie

I see him as the one to beat, also. Good luck to him!

James R. Poissant
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James R. Poissant

I’m pissed. Where’s Tracey Bregman’s name on the pre-noms? She’s only the most beautiful lady on soaps and everything she does is great. Guess I can give up hope on the Emmys.

mollie
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mollie

I think she’ll be there in next year noms, for sure, as she is getting a front burner story line now (2017). Yep, she is pretty amazing and ageless!!

CJ
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CJ

I am Really Surprised that Robert Palmer Watkins (Dillon GH) – Younger Actor & Will DeVry (Julian GH) – Lead Actor, were Not Pre-Nominated. They both gave excellent performances this year & Deserved the nomination. I hope 2017 brings them both power driven storylines to tackle

nancy dillingham
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nancy dillingham

Watkins, yes; deVry, no.

Ray
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Ray

Great performances this year on all of the shows. I hope Heather Tom wins for Best Actress. Jen Lilly also did a great job. The biggest snubs were Melissa Reeves, Rena Sofer and Katherine Kelly Lang. As much as I like Julius and Vivienne on “The Bold and the Beautiful,” I am not sure they deserved a nomination this year. They have not been on the show in months and can’t remember a standout performance with the exception of Julius confessing to be Sasha’s father. I am glad to see Billy Flynn, John McCook and Scott Clifton nominated in Lead… Read more »

Michael Andrews
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Michael Andrews

The other big snub was Justin Hartley (ex-Adam Newman; Y&R). I was dumbfounded that he did not get nominated this year. Does anyone know if he submitted for this year?

Maurice
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Maurice

Both Melissa Reeves and Justin Hartley refuse to sumbit this year, so there was no snub.

nancy dillingham
Guest
nancy dillingham

He does have that look, doesn’t he? I think he may be going places1

Maurice
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Maurice

I don’t think it should matters how long you were on a show, IMO if you had some great work, you should be recognize for it! Obba and Anna Maria, did fabulous work, and hopefully Emmy voters will love them enough to help them make the cut.

Mo
Guest
Mo

Where is Rena Sofer?

Don’t understand Obba and Anna Maria as they haven’t been on in ages. Wish they would be on. I think B&B should feature them again.

Maurice
Guest
Maurice

Yeah, Rena Sofer was snubbed, I agree.

The Emmys don’t count how long you were on a show, its your performance, and Obba & Anna Maria did some AMAZING work during his love child, Sasha, secret coming out!

jake hernandez
Guest
jake hernandez

where is Jane Elliott for her work during her medical crisis? or hostage situation with Hornsby; another great actress snubbed.

Dan
Guest
Dan

I agree, Jane is always excellent in whatever she does. In the past, she said in an interview that she hasn’t submitted her name for Emmy consideration, because she doesn’t believe in the whole actors competing against actors thing, which I respect. So it’s possible she didn’t submit her name again this year.

Lluwellyn
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Lluwellyn

So Happy for Sharon Case and Steve Barton really hope their make the final cut. No one deserve it more than SC

Libby
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Libby

I really think Daytime Emmys should be rollback to main Emmy Awards.The Younger SupportingActor/Actress should be eliminated. That said.I hope Maurice Benard would win after the supporsed death of Morgan, his son. Nancy Lee Grahn has given powerhouse performances with the battle with Julian and the bottle. She is major soap opera actress who delivers whengiven material. It is Nancy Lee’s time, imo. Think Wally Kurth is a fav on two soaps at one time. With the wandering DAYS storyline, Justin K remains one to tune into DAYS .Judi Evans has been agreat contributor – whatever Dena or Josh handed… Read more »

Keffen
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Keffen

I hope Nancy Lee Grahan win!!

Patrick
Guest
Patrick

THIS; bar none… is the toughest category; can’t even come up with a TOP 5 Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Drama Series definitely, TOP 4 Judi Evans (Adrienne) Days of Our Lives Stacy Haiduk (Patty) The Young and the Restless Finola Hughes (Anna) General Hospital Kate Mansi (Ex-Abigail) Days of Our Lives THIS category is so LOADED Eileen Davidson (Ashley) The Young and the Restless Amelia Heinle (Victoria) The Young and the Restless Elizabeth Hendrickson (Chloe) The Young and the Restless Anna Maria Horsford (Vivienne) The Bold and the Beautiful Michelle Stafford (Nina) General Hospital Kelly Sullivan (Ex-Sage) The Young and… Read more »

Mark Y
Guest
Mark Y

I cannot believe Camryn Grimes isn’t on this list again!

GemmaG
Guest
GemmaG

Great list! There is some amazing talent in daytime. I know the work of many. I watch GH. OLTL was my show. NLG on GH has an amazing storyline to support her talent. As did FH on GH. She is always a pleasure to watch, unlike the hot mess of NLG’s Alexis, which is hard to swallow. I’m even wondering if Julian did hold a knife to her throat, maybe she was drunk when it happened. And my favorite favorite favorite man in daytime RH of GH. He is carving out a new character and does humor and drama together… Read more »

Patrick
Guest
Patrick

I have not, naysayed Nancy Lee Grahn in so long, she’s delivering… she’s getting turn on.. less notice , come on, f me

it’s a Nancy Lee Grah moment

hello

nice to see you

less virtue
more me
me
yes
that’s it

us

f

get

GemmaG
Guest
GemmaG

Maurice Bernard has also done great work this past year. But I have little sympathy for Sonny Corinthos!

Days Of Our Lives

Kevin Spirtas Talks ‘After Forever’s’ Digital Special ‘Riley’s Unforgettable School Project’, The Loss of Michael Slade, and a Chance to Reprise DAYS Craig Wesley

The coronavirus pandemic has put to the test many content creators on just how they would keep their projects moving forward in ways they never dreamed of. However, out of that situation has come some of the most compelling, unique series, specials, and features currently streaming for viewers. One of which is Riley’s Unforgettable School Project, brought to you by the team from the six-time Daytime Emmy Award-winning series, After Forever.

Former Days of our Lives star, Kevin Spirtas (Ex-Craig Wesley) has starred in and created the first two seasons of what has become the most honored Emmy-awarded LGBTQ-themed drama series on any platform.  Along with his ‘After Forever’ writing/producing partner, the late Michael Slade (DAYS, OLTL, Passions, Another World), the two also conceptualized and delivered this latest documentary-style offering now on Amazon Prime Video.

What makes Riley’s Unforgettable School Project so noteworthy is not just how they were able to execute the series based on fictional 11-year-old Riley’s virtual school project and utilize its cast, which includes: Spirtas, Cady Huffman, Jamison Stern, Lenny Wolpe, Erin Cherry, Anita Gillette, Christopher J. Hanke, and Finn Douglas, but that it was made while Slade was succumbing to his battle with cancer, and that this special marks the final script from this talented writer.

 

Michael Fairman TV spoke with Spirtas about making the special during Covid-19, how the death of Michael Slade has made a lasting impact on his life, what After Forever has personally meant to him, and how an official third season is still in the works, and … if he would consider a return to Salem and Days of our Lives, should they come a-calling.  Here’s what Kevin had to say about it all.

Photo: AfterForever

I think the entire story of this digital special has become even more meaningful with Michael Slade’s passing. What was the genesis of the concept? You wanted to continue the telling of the story of After Forever … but we are all in the middle of a pandemic?

KEVIN:  Yes and… when we filmed season 2, we had the scripts for season 3 already completed. It was our hope and desire to film them at the same time, back-to-back, so that we would have had all of our cast and crew together, and we could have gotten through it because we’ve always imagined this story being told in a trilogy so to speak – a beginning, middle, and end to Brian (Spirtas) and Jason, (Mitchell Anderson) and Brian’s healing or his steps towards healing through grief.  Schedules turned out that they couldn’t really work out for us to hold all the people and hold all of the sets for that amount of time.  So, we thought, “We’ve got the scripts for season 3 ready.  We’ll come back to it in the following year,” and that was always the intention, and then the pandemic hit.  So, it was shut down immediately that we weren’t going to do anything, but we wanted to stay current, and instead of going back in and telling the third installment of After Forever as a Covid-19 story as well, Michael and I sat down and looked at a way of staying relevant and current with a story within COVID, and there was born the idea to do this documentary style story/special about the characters of After Forever told through the lens of the character of Riley, the 11-year-old boy, who is now being homeschooled during the pandemic. He gets an assignment to do a project about the most unforgettable person he has ever met, and he, of course, chooses his best friend, the late Jason Adams, and he enlists all of Jason’s friends and family to join in.  Michael actually said, “What if we tell a story about Riley being homeschooled?” And, not only is Riley a technical genius at 11-years-old in the story, but Finn Douglas, who plays Riley, is a technical genius.

And didn’t Finn perform and write the song “Forever There” contained within the special?

KEVIN. Yes. He is this incredible musician.  Michael thought, “What would it be like if we asked to have the character of Finn sing a song for Jason?”  I said, “Well, what kind of song would we have him sing?”  Finn could play anything, I’m sure, because he’s self-taught, he plays by ear – guitar, piano, and drums.  Michael said, “What if we ask him to see if he could write a song?” and when we heard this song, we all called each other and we all got on Zoom and went, “Can you believe this song?  Can you believe this came out of this 11-year-old?”  It’s pretty incredible.  Michael did a gorgeous job of weaving the stories in and out and how they just sort of dove-tailed into each other, and then it was framed by Riley opening the project and ending the project.  During the Zoom reading we wanted to hear the song out loud.  We said to Finn, “Would you want to sing the song?”  We all just watched everybody on that Zoom call just fall apart.  It was just so beautiful. He’s an amazing talent.

Where is your character within this?

KEVIN:  I still stand in the center of the story of Jason because my character, Brian, was married to Jason, and it sort of connects us all, and through Riley’s understanding of how we all connect to Jason, is how we are all sort of spread out throughout the story.  Michael jokingly said, “You know, you’re not going to be the star of this special,” and I said, “I don’t think it’s about being the star.  It’s really about the storytelling.”  The beauty of Riley’s Unforgettable School Project is that we get to see moments of each person’s relationship with Jason, which Riley sets out to say, “Answer these three questions: What did you like most about Jason?  What did you like least about Jason? And what’s your favorite memory?”  Those three things, cut back and forth is where we all kind of fit in.  Nobody has more of a story than the next person, and it’s all telling honest portrayals of how they’re dealing with their loss of their good friend, or their child, or partner.

It’s a very inventive idea during Covid-19 to continue it in a way where you weren’t having to go shoot a full season of episodes.

KEVIN:  Well, we couldn’t. I have to say, Allison Vanore, who not only produced this special, but she also stepped up saying, “I’d love to direct this,” and I said, “Yes, please!”  She knows the characters.  She understands the story because she’s been a part of it for the last two seasons.  Allison also has this extraordinary amount of knowledge and expertise with the camera and what was needed for a remote shoot, and to also be able to organize filming 13 people in 2 different countries and 5 different cities… that’s just the technical side of it, but having that in our back pocket, knowing that it was a remote shoot, we had to send the camera, the computer, the ring light, and the microphone to each person’s house.  We had to location scout over Zoom.  We had to do wardrobe over Zoom.  It was all this big puzzle putting it together, and once you look at that board of storytelling and how we were going to do it, it kind of fell into place.  I feel blessed that a) we still had Michael with us, at that point, and b) Allison had the know-how to do this.  We all feel that at least this pandemic didn’t keep us from doing what we love.

Photo: AfterForever

In terms of the contribution of Michael Slade in this special, was it the construction of the story, and how was he able to work and write this during his illness?

KEVIN:  Michael’s contribution to the special was no less than the contribution to season 1 and season 2, and the future of season 3, because the scripts are written.  We did everything on Zoom, and we worked around his schedule of treatment.  We scheduled 2 people per day, and we spread them out over two weeks.  He was very present, and when there would be a day where he would say, “I’m going to be an hour late, let’s just push that call time,” I would ask, “Is this too much right now?  We can shelve it; we can stop it.” He’d then say, “Absolutely not, otherwise cancer will win.”  He was determined to stay focused and to stay active because it took his mind off of what was happening to him.

Photo: AfterForever

It would be lovely moment if you both were to win a Daytime Emmy for this project. 

KEVIN:  It’s our last collaboration together as a team, as I said, season 3 has been scripted, and it is on the calendar to get made.  We are just waiting for the COVID restrictions to lift a little bit and everyone to get vaccinated.  Michael was really hit hard with cancer – to stay healthy was so challenging for him.  Sadly, he didn’t make it to see the final edit of the special, and he died four days before we launched, but he had seen the cuts before that and was very approving of it, and had made some decisions, and offered some suggestions, and if God gives him an Emmy for this, it’s not because he died.  It’s because it’s great work.  It just happens to be that the work that was involved in this particular special was very tricky.  It brought up everything, like life itself to have to deal with.  Here we are dealing with the loss of a colleague, the loss of a friend, someone’s brother, someone’s son, this is life imitating art, imitating art imitating life. I can’t tell you the darkness that I went through just experiencing the need to stay focused on getting everything edited, and everything ready, and everything aligned for a release of this project that we had put into motion.  On top of it, our editor lost his mother just before Michael passed, and Allison’s mom was sick at the time, as well.  It took a lot of heavy deep breaths with Michael’s death, and the pandemic, and the loss has, for me, on a personal level, sent me back to really questioning my spiritual muscle and to help remind me that we have to come out of this better than we went into this.  I had many dark nights of the soul this last year, and December was probably the darkest.  I feel like I’m just kind of coming out of it now with the spring revealing itself.

Photo: AfterForever

It must have been extraordinarily difficult for you to also go to New York during a pandemic and also knowing Michael did not have much time left.

KEVIN:  I will say this: I am grateful that I was able to stay in touch with my heart and my instinct and go out to New York to let that be my remote location.  Yes, maybe there was some risk involved.  I wore my mask; I was Covid-19 negative, and I was determined to be fine.  Once I got to New York, I would visit him very protectively with our masks and our gloves, and I’d sit across the room, and then I’d go back to the house I was at.  It was a gift that I was able to see him at that time.  We had some good talks then about how he was feeling, and I think he was still being optimistic, and then once we got the project in the can there was maybe this psychic letting go. That’s when everything really started to reveal itself as this could be the end.  I did go back to see him when he was in hospice.  I think I was there the last two days that he really was able to really stay coherent.  He would close his eyes and be at peace and quiet for a minute, and he would finish a conversation and sort of close his eyes, not to sleep and not to go away, but I remember watching him going, “Look how peaceful he is,” and then he’d open his eyes and he’d remember that he is in this body that has been given a time limit of life, and he’s on his way out.  I’d watch the fear go back in his eyes.  At one point, he did say, “I’m so scared,” and I just held his hand, and I said, “I’m scared too.  Let’s be scared through this together.”  I don’t know how to navigate grief like that.  We are all going to be in a position at some point where we are going to be on the other side of the hand holding.  The wonderful thing is that we were able to have honest communication about our feelings.  I thanked him for everything that he has done for me and how he believed in my talent and creativity and our partnership.  I will always take that with me.  I waved my finger at him, and I said, “Listen.  Now, we wrote a series about a man talking to his deceased husband.  You’d better talk to me!”  So, we laughed about that.

Photo: AfterForever

You’ve done a lot of things in your career from Broadway to television, and of course, daytime fans know you best as Dr. Craig Wesley on DAYS.  How does the entire After Forever project stack up to you within all that you have done?

KEVIN:  Former DAYS casting director Fran Bascom, sought me out and offered me this 2-day role on Days of Our Lives, and those 2 days turned into 8 years, and unbeknownst to me at the time, the final 3 months of that contract of those 8 years, Michael Slade was brought in to write.  We didn’t cross paths at that point, but years later, when we did cross paths in New York, and then After Forever was born, that was that universal crossing point.  I am most proud of the fact that we were able create something fresh, and real, and personal to ourselves that we didn’t have to cater to any “powers that be” that had their vision and their tinkering, that they thought that it could be better in this way or that way.  Then for After Forever to gain such recognition, within the film festivals, and the Emmys, and then, just after Michael died, we won the GLAAD award for Special Recognition this year.  We don’t even fit into one of their categories!  They found a way to acknowledge this project.  If another Emmy happens again, that might be another one to put up on the shelf for After Forever that would be beautiful, and I couldn’t have done it without Michael.

For the Daytime Emmys this year, what category have you entered Riley’s Unforgettable School Project?

KEVIN:  We are not a series this year, we are a daytime fiction special, and the “Daytime Fiction Special” category is a special class.  It’s anything that’s digital in the construct of less than 40 minutes.  NATAS (National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences) is being bombarded with so much content, they’re trying to find ways to put categories together.

Photo: JPI

So, now, when we last saw Days of Lives’ Dr. Craig Wesley, where was he? (Laughs)

KEVIN: (Laughs) He was in a flash from the past or something in the DOOL app’s Last Blast Reunion series. I had a fun time working with Patrika Darbo (Nancy) and Nadia Bjorlin (Chloe), once again.

So, if they were to want Craig to come back to DAYS, would you be all for it?

KEVIN:  Hell yes!

Photo: JPI

Now, what story would you want to be told involving Craig? 

KEVIN:  When Craig was first on the canvas in Salem, there was a lot of mustache twirling and a lot of hand wringing.  He was always plotting; most of the time with Nancy.  It was kind of this high drama, evil villain storyline being told, but when the writers created an opportunity for us to be on after those first three months by bringing on Chloe without a father, there was something real about it.  It may have been told under the construct of soap opera storytelling, but there was a reality-based story about, “You have a daughter, and we are just now finding out about it?”  Then, finding a cure to her health was another realistic story, and finding out that Craig was her real father.  Anything that’s reality based is what I’m getting to.  I would welcome any job that brings me back and gives me an opportunity to dive into something real.

Photo: JPI

Would you welcome the opportunity to play a gay character on daytime; in a medium where there are very few represented in storylines?

KEVIN:  I’d have no problem with that.  Do you know anybody who is starting that?  Let’s do it!  (Laughs) First of all, there’s nothing to hide anymore.  There’s nothing to pretend you’re not anymore.  I would think that bringing in a storyline that deals with anything outside the norm that we are used to seeing would be interesting.  How many times can you retell a story?  How many times can you set the same story up with another couple?  So, why not be diverse and have a stylized story being told through the lens of a gay person.

Photo: AfterForever

In closing, so many go through life without acknowledging people who had an impact them.  We don’t give pats on the back, often enough, and especially in Hollywood, where people can be very self-involved.  You have already paid tribute to Michael Slade in our discussion, but what gift from him is your personal takeaway?

KEVIN:  The gift that Michael really gave to me is to remember to be kind to myself and to others, and to acknowledge and salute the person who is in front of us, because we don’t know when we will have, or if we will have, another moment to do that.

Now below, check out the trailer for Riley’s Unforgettable School Project.  Then let us know, what do you think of its concept? Kevin’s thoughts on the passing of his collaborator on the project, Michael Slade? And, do you hope DAYS brings back Dr. Craig Wesley? Share your thoughts via the comment section.

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Breaking News

REPORT: Dan Feuerriegel is DAYS New EJ DiMera

Could Days of our Lives finally found their new EJ? Rumors have been circulating on the internet for weeks that the character of EJ DiMera may finally have a new face and a new actor portraying and heading back to Salem, especially since Sami (Alison Sweeney) is back on the canvas.

The role was previously played by longtime fan favorite James Scott, who had made it very clear he would never return to Days of our Lives.

Photo: DFeuerriegelIG

Now according to Daytime Confidential and their report from setside sources, the new EJ will actually be played by former Spartacus actor Dan Feuerriegel.

The Australian-born actor has been seen in Starz’ Spartacus franchise in the role of Agron.

According to the report, look for the new EJ to make his debut sometime this summer.

DAYS fans know that in story, EJ was brought back form the dead, from the serum from Dr. Rolf, but then was injured in an explosion and had reunited with Sami and had been recovery in Europe.

So, if this reports turns out to be true, what do you think of the new EJ? Comment below.

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Days Of Our Lives

DAYS Production Designer, Tom Early, Shows Off New and Reimagined DiMera Mansion Set

It’s always great to see a face-lift to the sets on your favorite soaps.  So many of then have been around for years and years, and in these changing times need to be given new life and freshened up, as much as longtime fans may miss the comfort and familiarity of the originals.

2020 and 2021 has also definitely been filled with challenges and keeping everyone safe on set throughout the coronavirus pandemic on all of your favorite soaps.

Photo: TEarlyTwitter

Recently, Days of our Lives fans noticed a change to the famous DiMera mansion set, where for decades the likes of Joe Mascolo (Ex-Stefano) graced the room with bluster and drama as only Stefano could.

With so much of the action taking place there in story, and several key characters living at the mansion, it was time for an update.

Production Designer, Tom Early took to his Twitter account and shared two views of the reimagined set.

Take a look and let us know what you think of the new look DiMera Mansion via the comment section below.

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Y&R’s Joshua Morrow, Amelie Heinle, Mark Grossman, Hunter King and Melissa Ordway chat with Michael Fairman about being a part of and portraying the Newman Children as the show celebrates its 48th anniversary.Leave A Comment

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Airdates: 4-8-2021

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