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Digital Drama Daytime Emmys Preview: Graham Sibley Talks On His Nominated Performance In ‘Dark/Web’

Photo: GSibley

In one of the hotly contested contests on Sunday night’s Digital Drama Daytime Emmys, Graham Sibley is going for gold for his riveting and tense performance in the 7-time nominated series, Dark/Web. Sibley’s work had been recognized in the Outstanding Guest Performer in a Digital Drama Series category.

In Dark/Web, Sibley plays Leland, a ride share driver who’s just trying to make it through the night when the app on his phone takes on a frightening intelligence and tells him he has to make the world a better place, even if it means he has to kill to do it.

Michael Fairman TV caught up with Mr. Sibley to get his thoughts on: playing a ride share driver, being given this tour de force role in such a unique series which landed him an Emmy nod, and much more.

And, don’t miss the Digital Drama Daytime Emmys beginning at 9 pm EST/6 pm PST here, and you can watch the entire Emmy-nominated season of Dark/Web via Amazon Prime Video here.

Now here’s what Graham had to share with us below.

Photo: Dark/Web

In Dark/Web, you were in the first installment of the season, correct?

GRAHAM:  Yep, so it’s an anthology show, and there is a narrative through in that goes through it as well. I’m in the first episode.  It’s called, “Rideshare,” and it sort of explores this ride share driver named Leland Adler.

What can you share about your interpretation of what happens in your Emmy-nominated performance?

GRAHAM:  First, I have to say, Boman Modine, Matthew Modine’s son, is a real talent.  He’s just a really adept storyteller, and he wrote a fantastic script for “Rideshare”.  In Dark/Web, each one of these anthology episodes are written and directed by different people. There is an overarching narrative that goes through that, and there are these individual episodes which are directed by other artists, guest writers, and directors.  So, Boman wrote and directed our episode.  He wrote a really complex character who is a new husband and father, who loses his job and is forced to get into the ride share business, and he is kind of desperate, and he needs to provide for his family, and there is sort of dark web that starts to infiltrate this app.  Leland starts hearing a voice through his earbuds, and you don’t know if he is going crazy … or if he is really hearing these things.  You’re assuming he is really hearing these things.  This character is sort of victimized by this presence.  Over the episode, he starts to give into this because the messages he is getting through his earbuds, through this voice, through the dark web, is information about who these people are who are his passengers, and the terrible things that they have done.  He starts to get messages that he should maybe start to get rid of some of these people, and so he takes the leap and does, and that causes this reaction in him.

Photo: IMDB

Dark/Web in its totality is about a genius programmer whose disappearance leads to these strange stories that are interconnected.  When you speak of the ride share theme and episode, it harkens me back to the character of Travis Bickle played by Robert DeNiro in the classic, Scorsese film,Taxi Driver.

GRAHAM:  Oh yeah, of course.  I think as you go through the journey of “Rideshare,” at the beginning of it, you don’t think Leland is troubled.  He is okay, and then by the end of it, you’re like, “This guy is okay, but something is happening, and now he is on this mission, and now he has done these things that he can’t ever go back on.”  It’s interesting, and it’s interesting that you’re making a parallel with Taxi Driver because Travis was convinced what he was doing was right.  I don’t know if my character at first is.

Photo: Dark/Web

You have not been a ride share driver in real life at some point … or have you?

GRAHAM:  You know… I haven’t.  But, I did sign up when I booked this job.  I went through the process of it just so I would know what it was going to be like.

When you submitted your reel for the Daytime Emmys, did you submit a few scenes, or how did you put your submission together for the competition?

GRAHAM:  I had so much material to choose from.  I was so fortunate to be the lead in this episode, and the episode I think is 25 minutes. It was really hard to pare it down, but I got it down to about 9 or 10 minutes that I felt told the arc of his story.

It’s always important to tell an arc because it does feel like, for the most part, the winning reels are the ones where somebody who doesn’t know the show or your character, could literally follow from point A to point B, if they’re a judge.  You have some solid competition in your category as well! 

GRAHAM:  There are some really amazing performances and some really great actors in the guest performer category, so I’m just honored to be in with their names. Rene Hagler had a couple of different episodes in Dark/Web, so we did not share any scenes together, but he is great.  Lin Shaye and I did a movie together a couple of years ago called Grow House, and then I’ve seen Scott Turner Schofield’s work in Studio City, who is amazing, and Mary Beth Pell, … she’s a legend!

Photo: GSibleyInstagram

Of course, you end up nominated the year that it’s the virtual Emmys. So, what will you wear to the virtual Digital Drama Emmys?

GRAHAM:  I don’t know!  I’ll send you a picture! (Laughs)  If you look on my Instagram, my wife. Marilyn and I staged a picture, because we were like, “Well, we are never going to be able to go to the Emmys,” so we staged a picture with our boys in our backyard with a kiddie pool and us lounging with drinks, and I was in a tuxedo, and she was in this beautiful yellow dress.

What are the names of your boys?

GRAHAM:  They are twins, Lyon and KP, and they just had their first birthday on July 2nd.

Photo: GettyImages

Now, let me ask you this. If they say, “The Emmy goes to Graham Sibley,” what would it mean to you if you were awarded a Daytime Emmy? 

GRAHAM:  I think what it would mean to me is that it would sort of be a pat on the back to say, “You did something that made someone else feel something.”  I hope that’s what we are all aspiring to is to either, be in our own lives trying to make someone feel something, or in cinema or in television or the web.  I’d just be like, “I was honored for being truthful, and that’s cool!”

So, intrigued to see Graham’s performance in Dark/Web?  Who do you think will take home the gold in the Outstanding Guest Performer in a Digital Drama Series on Sunday night? Comment below.

But first check out this promo for the Dark/Web series featuring Graham which has been nominated in multiple Digital Drama categories for the Daytime Emmys.

Interviews

Digital Drama Daytime Emmy Preview: Patrika Darbo Talks On Her Nominated Performance in ‘Studio City’

In Sunday night’s Digital Drama Daytime Emmys (9 p.m. EST/6 p.m. PST) former Days of our Lives and The Bold and the Beautiful star, Patrika Darbo (Ex-Nancy, Ex-Shirley, respectively) is one of the notable nominees of the night for her powerhouse performance as Violet in Studio City.

Darbo is always working on projects in Hollywood, and her resume is long … whether it is in sitcoms like Seinfeld, series like Desperate Housewives, daytime dramas, the hottest digital drama, commercials, and more.

Having a complicated history with the Emmys; Patrika has won a Primetime Emmy for her work in Acting Dead, had her previous Daytime Emmy for The Bay rescinded, and now has a shot at another one when the winner is revealed in the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Digital Drama Series category in which she is nominated.

Studio City was nominated for 8 Daytime Emmys this year including for Darbo, and series creator and star, Sean Kanan (Ex-GH, B&B, Y&R).  The show tells the tale of the cast of a fictional daytime drama as they navigate through the chaotic world of soap operas and their own very messy personal lives.  In it, Darbo delivers a tour de force monologue which just might have sealed the deal for Emmy voters.  She has already won, along with Studio City castmate, Carolyn Hennesy (Diane, GH), an Indie Series Award for her work, when the two actresses tied in their category.  They are both nominated together again for the Daytime Emmy.

Michael Fairman TV caught up with Patrika to talk playing those heavy emotional moments in Studio City, longevity in Hollywood, and Emmy night.  To watch the first season of Studio City via Amazon Prime Video click here, and to watch the Digital Drama Daytime Emmys click here.  Now here’s what Patrika shared with us.

Photo; JPI

We all knew that your memorable scene in Studio City was so strong.  Your performance is really such a standout that I just thought, “Of course she is going to get nominated for this,” and you did!  How did you feel about this nomination?

PATRIKA:  I have been through the many ways that Sean Kanan has put this show together.  I mean, he has worked on it for a long time.  I read for it with him, as his mom, being a comedy, and now we’ve gone all the way to the dramatic. I think Sean did some pretty good rewrites and gave me some great, meaty material. I so appreciate the fact that he recognized the fact that I am not just a comedic actress, that there is a dramatic part of me.  

Photo: StudioCity

The big moment in Studio City for your character was just so heartbreaking.  Did you deliver that performance in one take?

PATRIKA:  Yes, and then of course I had to do it a couple of times because we had to see it from Sean’s side for his reaction shots to what I was doing.  I come from the school that even though the camera is on my back, it is now on my partner’s front.  So, I tried to give Sean as much to react to when the camera was on him as when it was on me, and I got the same from him, so it was a very nice collaboration.

I watched Sean in that scene.  He was so good in it.  So, whatever you were doing, it triggered such honest reactions from him.

PATRIKA:  I think just as far as actors go; it is not that we always have to remember that it is not about us as an individual.  It is about the end product, and the end product is about who you are working with.  I got from Sean things to work with that made Violet’s emotion’s there, and then I wanted me to be able to take my emotions and give them back to him.

 

Photo: StudioCity

Was it hard to go there for you, to that deep emotional place; that Violent had been traumatized in her not so humble beginnings in Hollywood?

PATRIKA:  You know, I have great admiration for all of these women who have come forward in the whole #MeToo movement.  I have always been a short, round, fat, little character woman, who was never approached in those ways.  So, there were things I couldn’t relate to.  I had to go to my own personal darkness, which is mine to use when I need it, but to try to be sure that I made sure that women who had faced what I was talking about could appreciate that I was showing tribute to them, because that is a horrible thing, and any kind of situation when you are bullied into something that you don’t want to do or taken advantage of, those kind of situations.

For Violet, all of this stemmed from her desire to be in show business; that at an early age she found herself in a horrible situation with a scuzzy show biz type.

PATRIKA:  Yes, she got into town and it was like a dream come true. She got invited to parties, and everything was wonderful, and “Oh, he’s going to put me in the movies,” you know.  I think that’s what happens: Hollywood is so glorious, and kids come in and get off the bus to be a star, and the first thing you have to do is wait tables … and the second thing is sometimes when you are very pretty, and thin, and attractive, and bad things happen, and I’m not just saying it happens just to women.  It happens to young men as well, and it can happen to some older people.  It’s just a thing that we have now identified, and I think people are being made aware of it.

Photo: JPI

It almost seems like you get nominated for all sorts of things in you career: primetime, daytime, stage etc.  Have you ever figured out in your own mind, why you think you get the recognition? 

PATRIKA:  I think because people know me, and I try to give out what I want back.  You know, I treat people the way I want to be treated, which means that if there are a thousand things you’ve got to watch, and you go, “Oh, there’s Patrika, let’s see what she is doing now!  She’s always so nice to me,” they take a look at my work.  Do you know what I am saying?  It’s a numbers game.  We think about how many are in primetime at this moment, and even though there are only four soaps left on the major daytime calendar, there are still the new digital shows that are coming up.  I think I am very fortunate that people know my name, they know me, and they want to take a look and see what I am up to again, and the young actors and actresses that I mentor, and kids who I’ve work with, the most important thing, I always say, is to be nice.  No one should have to tell you that, but sometimes you have to reinforce it and say, “You know what?  The casting assistant today is the casting director tomorrow, the assistant director today is the director tomorrow.  The kid over here is the writer today, and tomorrow he is the show runner.”  I don’t think you should approach your life like “What’s in it for me?”

Photo: wireimage

What did you think of the whole of Studio City?  I think it’s a little gem.  I loved its look and feel, as well.

PATRIKA:  As we go along in this digital world, it is becoming more film-like, more real life looking.  We’ve kind of gotten away from the flat, three-camera take.  It’s bringing more things to life, and people are just enthralled with it. This is the new genre of the hour-long soap.  I think with the attention span of people these days; digital drama they may wind up enjoying more and because it looks more real, they will enjoy it more.

You were in a middle of a firestorm, in 2018, when your Daytime Emmy win for your wok in The Bay was revoked.  Did you at all think about that when you found out you got nominated For Studio City?

PATRIKA:  At first, you kind of go, “Are they giving me this nomination for this reason?” but then you kind of go, “You know what?  It really has nothing to do with NATAS.  It has to do with my peers appreciating my work.  So, I know even though I had some problems in the past, NATAS was so apologetic and they’ve made a lot of changes to try to make sure that things like that don’t happen to anyone else, which I am so appreciative of, but this nomination came from my peers.  So I feel I earned it, and I don’t think it has anything to do with what happened in the past except for the fact that there are changes that are for the good.

Photo: Studio City

Now, you are nominated in the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Digital Drama Series category along with your Studio City co-star, GH’s Carolyn Hennesy.  You both tied in this category at the recent 11th annual Indie Series Awards as well.

PATRIKA:  Carolyn is wonderful in anything that she does.  I wish Sarah Brown had been nominated for her work in Studio City, too.  She is a wonderful actress. You kind of go, “Oh, they didn’t acknowledge her this time,”  but it’s like she is still in the show, the show is going to keep going, so she will have another opportunity for people to recognize her work.  Listen, Carolyn and I could cancel each other out this time, because people know us and like us and appreciate our work.

Photo: JPI

As a working actress in Hollywood, how to you feel about production starting back now for several shows, and concerns amidst the coronavirus pandemic that has crippled the show business community with the loss of so many jobs over the last several months?

PATRIKA:  I think there are still going to be concerns.  Listen, my husband has a heart problem.  He’s had a couple of stints, so he is going to be a high-risk.  So, if I am asked to go to work, I want it to be very safe where I am going, so when I come home, I don’t bring something to him, or I don’t get anything.  I think we are all going to be a lot more careful, but I think what people have to realize in general is that it is not just the actors who did not have work.  There are the camera people, there’s the director, there’s props, there are the electricians, there are a lot of people involved to make a show, whether it’s a daytime show or it’s a film.  So, things will be a little different.  There are going to be a lot of changes, but I’m hoping that we will at least get back, and are safe, and that we take care of each other.

On virtual Emmy night this Sunday, will you be participating and watching from home?

PATRIKA:  I’ll be at home, absolutely.  I’ll be trying to figure out how to push the Zoom button or the what button, and trying to figure out the computers. I’m a dinosaur in a digital world, but I’ll be doing my best!

So, will you be rooting for Patrika in the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Digital Drama Series category on tomorrow night’s Digital Drama Emmys? Did you see Studio City and if so, what did you think of it?  Do you hope Patrika comes back to daytime soon? Comment below.

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Y&R’s Greg Rikaart Talks The Complex Life of Kevin Fisher, His Co-Stars, and COVID-19

This week, fans of The Young and the Restless are getting to go back in time and see some of the memorable moments from the dysfunctional, complicated, yet loveable Baldwin-Fisher clan in encore episodes.

Daytime Emmy-winner, Greg Rikaart has brought his A-game for years as the misunderstood, often misguided, but beautifully redeemable flawed character, Kevin Fisher. From his troubled past to his relationships with his brother, Michael (Christian LeBlanc) and his mother, Gloria (Judith Chapman), Kevin has been one of Y&R’s more intriguing characters always bouncing from the  heavy drama to the comedic, all in the more than capable hands of Rikaart.

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Greg to get his thoughts on: looking back at some of these key episodes in Kevin’s past, what it was like working with former on-screen love interest Emily O’Brien (Jana), his current on-screen love Elizabeth Hendrickson (Chloe), and first meeting his on-screen family.

As many are aware, back in March, Greg came down with the coronavirus and it took quite a toll on him. With what is happening now in our country with the spike in the pandemic, he also shares his perspective on what he went through, and reminds us all that COVID-19 is no joke; it’s real and taking people down with it.  One of the best guys we know … and one of the finest actors we know … here’s what Greg shared.

Photo: JPI

It is Baldwin-Fisher week on Y&R.  What do you remember when you first came to the show?  And what was your recollection of first meeting Christian LeBlanc?

GREG:  When I first came on, it wasn’t to be Michael’s brother.  So, I had been there already, and the first story that I was involved with was the internet predator storyline with Christel Khalil (Lily).  So, I had been there a while, and then I think Christian and I had, of course, crossed paths in the hallways, and we had a mutual friend, so we had even gotten together for lunch, and he kind of gave me the lay of the land a little bit.  It wasn’t until we had a fan event, and Jack Smith’s (Ex-writer and producer, Y&R) daughter, Asia, who had worked on the show for a little while, saw Christian and me sitting next to one another.  She said, “I never noticed that the two of them look like brothers,” and I think that’s where the impulse came from to make us related as brothers, Then after we found out that was happening, that’s when Christian and I got to know each other better and said, “Hey, let’s invest a lot of time and effort into making this relationship real.”  There was so much bad blood and history and a lot of stuff to play.  We really spent a lot of time really working on those early scenes when we were trying to figure out what the dynamic was.  I have really fond memories of all of that.  I think I have a great time working with Christian and developing the relationship, and also, it was so nice becoming a part of a family.  I think having a family on the show made me feel like a more integral part of Y&R.  It was a really great time.

Photo: CBS

What do you recall when Judith Chapman first came on to the show as your mother, Gloria?  

GREG:  Briefly, we had Joan Van Ark playing Gloria, and then, when they had cast Judith, I didn’t read with her.  I think Christian was the one, who had auditioned with Judith, but then I happened to be up in the office one day, and I saw her, and I kind of put two and two together, and I said, “Hey, wait, I think we are going to be working together!”  I also remember the way she jumped right in and filled some pretty big shoes epically … and really made the character her own, and again, added a fantastic layer to what the family dynamic was.  It was really wonderful.

Photo: CBS

I’ll never forget the scene when Kevin says goodbye to Gloria, which was your exit from Y&R.  It was a five-hankie moment.

GREG:  Oh, yeah.  It was so easy to play because I was leaving, and the hardest scenes were the ones where I had to say goodbye to Christian and to Judith because like I mentioned, we had invested so much into the relationships and into the characters, and so there is a lot of love, and I think the boundaries get blurred.  There is love between me, and Christian, and Judith, and love between Kevin, and Michael, and Gloria.  It was hard of all of those different reasons.  So, it was easy to channel it into Kevin having to say goodbye to Gloria.

On today’s encore episode of Y&R, we are going to see the ashram wedding between Jana (Emily O’Brien) and Kevin.  I loved you and Emily together!

GREG:  Me too!

Photo: JPI

What can you say about working with Emily and the whole Kevin and Jana story because it was crazy! Jana was so quirky and off-kilter and so, at times, is Kevin.

GREG:  I think Emily came on when Lynn Latham was head writing the show, and Lynn, who I think is wonderful, is a bit off-kilter herself, and I mean that in the best possible way.  Lynn always had streaks of wild colors in her hair.  I think in some ways, Jana may have been a manifestation of some part of Lynn.  Every week or two, Jana would say something, and we found out some other absurd thing in her past where she had been a paraglider at one point, for example, and all of these strange things, and you can sort of throw everything into the kitchen sink with that character, and it all sort of worked.  That was sort of happening when Kevin was very early on in his road of rehabilitation; I think it made sense for him to be with someone like that, although I think Jana’s off- kilter was certainly a little more straight and narrow than his. Jana was a good influence on him.  I loved their dynamic; I loved their relationship.

Photo: JPI

What do you remember about filming the ashram wedding?

GREG: I remember how beautiful the set was. It took up half of the stage.  Emily looked so great, and I remember not wanting to see her before Kevin would have seen her.  I remember the vows being really nice.  I believe it’s the episode where they first meet, Michael’s dad, who is the minister played by Michael Gross.  It was fun that we had a great centerpiece of a story, but it also propelled story for the rest of the family.

Photo: CBS

Coming up on Friday’s encore episode of Y&R: Kevin defends his relationship with Chloe (Elizabeth Hendrickson) to Gloria when is mother makes a “festive” return.  What was your initial reaction to being paired with Liz, who you were already good friends with?

GREG:  I was excited.  I think Liz is great.  We had wanted to be working together.  For a long time, we had lobbied for it.  I didn’t know what capacity it was going to happen in, but I think linking us romantically was really fun.  I think the world of her, so I love working with her.

Photo: JPI

When you look back at winning your Daytime Emmy, and all of the early storylines, do you wish Kevin were more like how he was then with his dark side, or do you like how the character has evolved? It would be hard to sustain a character being destructive and so dark for years and years on a soap without being shipped off the canvas at some point for crimes. 

GREG:  It’s kind of a mixed bag.  I think, certainly some of the stuff earlier on was more challenging, but I also appreciate and really love some of the more lighthearted stuff that Kevin gets to do.  I think when any combination of the Fisher/Baldwins are called in to be a bit more of the comic relief, I think that provides a fun element too and works nicely on the show.  I am absolutely grateful for the longevity.  It might be hard to sustain a character like Kevin the way he was early on, but it sure is fun to do stuff like blowing up restaurants or burning them down.

Photo: JPI

Have you watched any of the episodes so far this week on Y&R … and watched yourself in your earlier years? If so, what did you think?

GREG:  I watched Monday’s episode.  On one hand, it’s really fun to take a trip down memory lane, and there are moments that I remember, and then there are moments that I don’t.  So, it’s fun to rediscover things that way.  Also, I think I had maybe a false sense of my ability early on and what I was capable of.  Watching some of those earlier shows reminds me of how much I’ve grown, not just with Christian and Judith, but everyone there who I have continued to work with.  I think I feel a lot more confident about my acting ability today than when I look back.

You got the opportunity to come back to Y&R after being let go, how does it feel now?

GREG:  I was thrilled to come back.  I think Josh Griffith (head writer, and co-executive producer, Y&R)  really took some big swings to right the ship by bringing back Melissa Claire Egan (Chelsea), Michelle Stafford (Phyllis), and Mishael Morgan (Amanda), and me, and Liz. I was grateful to be included in all of that and just thrilled to come home.  I’m glad that the last chapter wasn’t the last chapter for me.

Photo: RikaartG

You came down with the coronavirus and publicly let people know what happened to you and how you were feeling along the way.  As someone who has gone through getting very sick; how frustrated are you right now with what you see going on in California and Los Angeles, and the rest of the country as this pandemic has spiked, and there are new daily all-time highs in deaths and cases?

GREG:  I’m pretty frustrated.   It’s not over.  I’m negative now for the virus.  I am well on my road to recovery, but this is not a two-week recovery, and then you’re in the free-and-clear.  I’ve had some substantial post-viral issues that I was dealing with for a while.  It is insanely frustrating to see people not taking this seriously, and I continue to take it as seriously as I did in the beginning because there is no guarantee that antibodies really protect you from anything.  I feel just as vulnerable as the next person to get sick.  It’s mind-bogging to me that something as simple as wearing a mask over your face became politicized. I think we should all look to New York to follow their model for how to get back on track because they did it right.  California is different in the sense that New York had one epicenter for the entire state.  It was New York City where the battle was happening, whereas in California, we are a larger state geographically and population wise, and there are different heavily populated areas like Orange County versus Los Angeles, and San Francisco, and every place in between.  It is hard to shepherd 50+ million people through it as opposed to maybe a more tightly packed group of 10 million New Yorkers, but I still think Governor Cuomo of New York deserves all of the credit he is getting for handling this.  He is really the only one, the only politician who is kind of getting his people through it… at least in America.

Photo: RikaartIG

As a father, how do you feel about what you see happening with opening schools vs. not opening schools, and this debate?  Safety should come first, but you see how this is being politicized as well. Parents need to get back to work, and want their children safely in schools, but how can that be when the pandemic is raging?

GREG:  There is no decision that anyone can make in today’s world where there is not some level of risk that you take on; whether it is going to the grocery store, going back to work, or sending your kid to school.  I understand that there are parents who need to work and don’t have the luxury of childcare, and they need their kids to be in school.  I know there is a lot of evidence suggesting that kids are not specific transmitters of coronavirus, and even if they are, even if they do come down with it, they tend to fare quite well.  So, of course, no judgement on any parent who makes different decisions if they are well thought out, educated decisions and you’re using science to arrive at your conclusion. But for us and my family, I think we have a very intimate understanding of how serious this is.  You know, Monte is only in preschool, but his preschool went back last week, and we are just going to keep him home until we feel like we are ready to send him back.  At his age, I’m not concerned about there being things that he’s not learning.  I’m concerned about him socially, and developmentally with what he is missing out on, but we are finding ways to do things socially-distanced with friends and to socialize him that way, and we are fortunate in that we have childcare.  So, we have two extra hands on deck, 40 hours a week, which is super helpful, as there are no easy choices these days.

Photo: JPI

Y&R is going back into production this week.  Knowing what you went through with COVID-19, any trepidation on your part?

GREG:  I think going back to work would for sure do me some good emotionally, but like I was saying earlier, there is no decision that you can make these days where you are not taking on some level of risk.  So, I am excited.  I am also a little anxious.  We will see how it goes.

I was so concerned for you, as so many of your colleagues and friends were too, when we saw how you were kicked by this virus.

GREG:  It was awful, truly awful, and I hate to complain about it when I have a lot of gratitude for how much better I fared than so many other people.  I am out of the woods for sure, but if I exert myself a little too hard for a few days in a row, I have a day where it can be hard to get out of bed.  I have some friends who are dealing with even more substantial post-viral fatigue.  One friend of mine, he hasn’t gotten his taste or smell back for over three months, and doctors are skeptical that he ever will now.  So, fortunately, I’m not dealing with any of that, but you know, it’s hard to not wish that it just never happened, and that I was physically who I was a few months ago.

Photo: JPI

Closing out our conversation on Kevin Fisher, if you had to explain to another human being who doesn’t watch Y&R, who Kevin is, what would you say?

GREG:  I would say that he is the lovable ne’er do well.  Someone who messes up often, but I think he has earned a place in people’s hearts where they are forgiving of him when he does mess up, or they’re rooting for him to make better choices. When he does make good choices, they are into his choices.  I think that’s a good handle on who he is.

So, what is your favorite moment or story in the history of Kevin Fisher? Are you enjoying this week’s encore episodes on The Young and the Restless?  What do you think about the views shared by Greg, as someone who has gone through battling the coronavirus? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

 

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NATAS President and CEO, Adam Sharp, Shares Details On Digital Drama Daytime Emmys, Ceremonies During COVID-19, and Keeping Winners A Secret

On Tuesday, The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences announced the hosts for the upcoming final two, of three, Daytime Emmy virtual ceremonies.  First up on July 19th is the Digital Drama Daytime Emmys with Queer Eye for the Straight Guy’s Jai Rodriguez presiding over the night.  Then look for The Real’s Loni Love to take us through the Children’s, Animation and Educational Emmy Awards on July 26th.

Coming off a successful 47th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards back on broadcast TV for the first time in 11 years, and doing it during COVID-19 where everything had to be done remotely was no easy feat, and it was no easy task of ensuring the winners names would not leak before air in a pre-taped ceremony. But, NATAS President and CEO, Adam Sharp, and his team put together some safety measures that kept the drama alive of just who would win come Emmy night.

Now, heading into two more shows, Sharp chats with Michael Fairman TV and gives some Intel on what to watch for and look forward to on these upcoming ceremonies and just how the CBS broadcast of the Daytime Emmys came together and much more.  Here’s what Adam had to say.

Photo: CBS

So, let’s talk for a minute about the Digital Drama categories.  How many categories will you be doling out that night?  The Bay took home Outstanding Digital Drama Series already at the 47th Annual Daytime Emmys.

ADAM:  Seven: Two Leads, Two Supporting, Guest Performer, plus writing, and directing for a Digital Drama Series.

My understanding is that the Digital Drama Daytime Emmys will be live; as opposed to how the 47th annual Daytime Emmys were pre-taped?

ADAM:  Yes.  That’s the plan!

Phoo: CBS

How do you feel about that?  It certainly can add some unpredictability to the show.  I think people are a bit more forgiving in the imperfection of trying to deliver programming during COVID; because they’re now used to seeing their favorite performers on Zooms or whatever platform is being used.

ADAM:  I think with the telecast, from a production standpoint, we certainly played it somewhat safe, at least technically – in that everything was pre-taped and so on.  With our near decade away from being on a network and in primetime, I think there were a lot of advantages to that.  The program moved really quickly because you didn’t have to keep waiting for people to walk down the aisle.  I think it was great seeing the stars in their homes as well.  It felt really warm and intimate, which is important for Daytime because it is the most intimate part of television.  It isn’t something that you binge for 12 hours, and then wait a year to see what they offer next.  It a part of your daily life and you make a connection to these people.

How do you feel the response was to the 47th annual Daytime Emmy Awards on CBS?

ADAM:  The feedback we’ve been hearing has been really positive.  I think people liked the feel of the show, the earnestness and that intimacy, and I think people appreciated the steps we took to at least try to be at as close to tradition as possible; in that a lot of people sort of rolled their eyes initially when we said, “Everyone is going to record an acceptance speech,” but then, I think when the show actually aired, and people realized the nominees still didn’t know if they won, the presenters didn’t know who won, the hosts didn’t know who won.

Photo: CBS

Is it true that the presenters also recorded different, “The winner is” versions?

ADAM:  Yes.  The presenters each did five envelope opens, and we internally used a video-sharing application across the production team, and there was a sort of going from government parlance – the classified and the unclassified system – where most of the production team could not see anything that divulged a winner.  While there were eight editors working on the show, there was only one, and then in the last day, two, editors who actually could see who those winners were and fill in those holes throughout the show.  I think that the fact that you then had stars reacting on social media in real-time to their winning, it brought some of live excitement to Emmy night, because I think fans started to realize, “Oh, my God! She really didn’t know she won.”  For example, Kelly Clarkson, who did a very emotional tribute to her mother in the acceptance speech, shared her reaction to her win on social media where you experience the screaming, and jumping up and down on the chair moment.

Yes, that and others provided some very real moments.  When I chatted with some of the winners via Zoom (immediately following the broadcast) those also were so were so raw, and emotional.  I was thrilled that I was able to do that and sort of emulate what the “Winner’s Walk” backstage looked like in a virtual setting.

ADAM:  I think there is a certain aspect that when you are in the auditorium with all of the lights, with everyone there, you’re walking up on the stage to someone, you are so aware that this is a performance, you are so aware of the glare of the lights, and the cameras, and so on, that sometimes it can feel like you don’t have permission to emote. I think in many cases, when people can be at home, I actually thought most of the acceptance speeches seemed a lot more relaxed.  I thought they seemed a lot more natural.  I felt like you were seeing much more of the person as opposed to the performance.  So, that’s something we are going to try to capture on the 19th with the Digital Drama Awards. The envelopes are being sent sealed from the accountants to the presenters.  The control room is not going to know ahead of time who the winners are.  That is going to be at show time to the control room, so they’ll be taking in these close to 50 live shots from around the country throughout the presentation of the seven-category show.  The intent is to do the as much the same on the 26th.  Every day is a learning experience right now.   We have 10 ceremonies to produce this year in the COVID context, and that’s not even looking at 2021 yet.  That gives us a lot of opportunity to experiment, and we are going to get a lot wrong, and we are going to get a lot right.

Photo: CBS

When people watch the Digital Drama Daytime Emmys on July 19th, is it going to be a quick seven categories?  Are there going to be other packages in the show?

ADAM:  So, because it is only seven categories, we are giving the show a little more room to breathe.  Even though we have already awarded the overall top digital drama the night of the 47th annual Daytime Emmys, , we are going to do a little bit of a retrospective of the season of all of the shows, a little bit more than we had time for in the telecast.  There be some conversation before the reveal of the winner. We are experimenting with a few things there that you can’t do in the stage show version, and you can’t do in the pre-tape, but where the live nature of it, and the Zooming nature of it allows it.

Then on the July 26th Daytime Emmys for Children’s, Lifestyle and Animation programming, how many categories will be featured there?

ADAM:  About 20-ish categories, and then another bunch will be presented on social media afterwards the same way we did the night of the telecast.  This is absolutely a bigger show because Daytime is comprised of a hundred categories, and we are not even halfway through giving them out yet.

Photo: CBS

For clarification for the fans who read this, what kind of categories will they see presented in terms of “Family Viewing” or “Lifestyle”, etc?

ADAM:  That is going to include several categories that were not on the telecast.  So, for example, we had Entertainment Talk Show Host, but not Informational Talk Show Host during the telecast.  We had Culinary Show, but not Culinary Host, a lot of the craft categories for those shows, so the Lifestyle block is very much Talk, Travel, Culinary.  Then, we have the Children’s categories: Children’s Animation and Educational Programming, we have the Family Viewing categories, and you’ll recall this year we added a Young Adult track to the competition, so that will be in that show as well and wound up being extremely competitive in its first year.  That was a category that sort of spun out because of the growth of the competition where you had these programs that were still designed for a younger audience.  They were clearly designed for a teen audience, so you wouldn’t put them in a category next to a soap, for example. But they were dealing with more mature themes, and the closest thing in our history was when we still honored “After School Specials” back in the day, but then that category went away as that type of programming went away.  Now, as it started to make a digital comeback, it felt strange to have a nomination that was dealing with teen suicide, pregnancy, opioid addiction … and then the next nominee is… Big Bird!  So, as this genre really grew and it didn’t really have a place in Drama, it didn’t really have a place in Children’s, and now, it’s actually become a diverse enough category to be very competitive on its own, so we are really excited to see that.

Photo: ABC

When you watched the Daytime Emmys, Black Lives Matter was certainly present in a lot of the speeches and moments.  You also included the clip when Al Freeman (Ex-Ed Hall) One Life to Live, won Lead Actor, being the first African-American performer to do so.

ADAM:  There was a lot of need to acknowledge the moment.  So, from the coronavirus standpoint, the whole format of the show was an acknowledgement of the moment, and then certainly in the close, Marie Osmond reminding people to stay safe and stay healthy and so on.  I think that there wasn’t as much of a need to lean in too far on COVID, that was certainly understood.  On Black Lives Matter, I think it was very much raw. It was something that had to be addressed and had to be addressed tastefully.  I think that we were successful in that.  I think the Al Freeman moment was also important there because it did recognize without being too heavy handed that Daytime has always been very much at the forefront on social issues, not just race issues like that, but certainly the first gay marriage on television, the first gay kiss, the first abortion on television.  Now, you look at the show coming up on the 19th for the Digital Drama, where we have the first two trans performers nominated for performance roles, the first drag performer nominated for a performance role, and so in every way, Daytime has been at the forefront.  If you look at the nominees, the winners, the presenters, the Daytime Awards have consistently been the most inclusive, diverse, equitable of the awards ceremonies, and we continue to do that.

Did you have a favorite moment from the Daytime Emmys on CBS?

ADAM: I think for me, Cookie Monster presenting Culinary Show, as he stammers on nominees, and it becomes, “and the nom-nom-nom-nom-nom,” and he eats the envelope, that was something that in the high-stress moments of getting the show together, I could always go back to that cut and get a laugh and break the tension of the room.

Photo: CBS

Over 3 million viewers tuned-in to the 47th annual Daytime Emmys.  Do you think they will be back next year on network TV and on CBS? 

ADAM:  I hope so.  We certainly beat the average for the timeslot since they’ve gone into reruns.  While it was less total viewers than the last time we were on CBS, that was nearly a decade ago where viewing habits were very different.  But I think over 3 million was a very good sign.  I think it was notable that when you watched the show, almost all of the advertisers were traditional daytime advertisers that followed us into primetime.  CBS sold out the show.  There were advertisers who were actually clamoring to buy that time, and they bought every minute of it that was available.  I think we were really firing on all cylinders there.  I think we reengaged with the community.  I was deeply touched that Patrika Darbo accepted her invitation to present because while it was more of a quiet nod to those on the inside of the community than perhaps the audience, I think it was very important closure to some of the past struggles of the show that both of us have recognized those errors of the past, but the community moves forward together.

Photo: HutchnsPhoto.com

You gave Patrika Darbo the duties of introducing the emotional In-Memoriam tribute.  Was your intent to give her that piece?

ADAM:  Yes.  It really was that we, as an academy made a lot of mistakes in the past, and she, through no intention or fault of her own, was the victim of a lot of that.  You know, she didn’t prepare the reel.  She didn’t realize that she wasn’t eligible in the category, and so she, by virtue of that, sort of was the one who then had to bear the headlines of the Emmy being taken away and so on.  So, it is impossible to completely make that up to her, but at least to recognize her and her standing in our community was something that was very important to do.

Photo: JPI

How nervous were you that the winners would somehow be leaked before the 47th annual Daytime Emmys aired?

ADAM:  I was afraid, but I also knew that we were taking every step we could to ensure that security, and in many cases to the point of absurdity.  The logistics of chasing down all of those acceptance speeches, the hours that our lawyer spend on the phone negotiating the leases for video that was never going to be used, basically giving ourselves, for most of the show, five times the amount of work that we needed to just for maintain that security.  Then, even when people did know, keeping that segmented so that nobody would know the whole picture at once.  It definitely brought back memories of my government service.  The most terrifying was probably the hours between delivery to CBS and airing, because that’s when you know it’s getting closed captioned, it’s getting put up on a satellite etc, but CBS are old hands at this.  They do it with every Survivor finale and so on and so forth.  They were great at keeping the secret for us.

So, looking for to the Digital Drama Daytime Emmys that will be live? What did you think about the information shared by Adam on the making of the 47th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards? Comment blow.

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B&B’s Heather Tom talks with Michael Fairman immediately following her record-tying win in the Lead Actress category during the 47th annual Daytime Emmy Awards.  Heather and Erika now hold the most wins for an actress with 6! Leave A Comment

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