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NATAS David Michaels Interview: The Daytime Emmy Voting Process & More! Exclusive: Dates Revealed For This Year's Ceremonies!

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

Courtesy/FOX

NATAS’ Senior Executive Director Daytime Emmy Awards, David Michaels spoke with On-Air On-Soaps at his request to address certain points and topics of conversation that were discussed in last week’s Gold Derby Daytime Emmy chat moderated by Tom O’ Neil. Gold Derby invited soap journalists; Nelson Branco of Soap Opera Uncensored and Michael Fairman from On-Air On-Soaps to banter about the current state of the voting process, what network or cable outlet would make sense to be a solid televised home for the broadcast, this year’s acting races, and much more.

In this exclusive interview with David, the contest rules and changes that were instituted this year are clarified, who votes on the blue-ribbon panel, and how NATAS is striving to make the Emmy race as fair as possible.  Hot Emmy topics of the online version of All My Children and One Life to Live’s  poor showing in the Lead and Supporting Pre-Noms, and former Y&R star Michael Muhney’s (Ex-Adam) decision to not participate in this year competition are also tackled.

Michaels also reveals exclusively to On-Air On-Soaps that NATAS has the official dates for this year’s ceremonies!  Circle June 20th for the Creative Arts Awards, and June 22nd for the 41st Annual Daytime Emmys! 

David, you wanted to set the record straight about some things up that were said during the Daytime Emmy chat hosted by Gold Derby’s Tom O’Neil where he discussed the voting process and state of the Enmy broadcast with myself, and Nelson Branco.

Courtesy/GoldDerby

DAVID:  Yes.  I listened to the chat the other day and I have to say Tom O’Neil did a fine job moderating, and you did a fine job with your facts.  And I have no problem if somebody disagrees with something that is subjective.  But I have a problem when things are said about the Emmy contest and NATAS that are just not factually true, and that is what I would like to clear up especially since today is the deadline for voting in all categories for this year’s competition. (Voting ends at midnight PDT)

So let’s start with any misinterpretation or confusion on the 2014 voting process.

DAVID:  A lot was said by Nelson that was true over the last five years, but it was never fully explained how it truly works this year.  I would also like to add; we don’t change the rules, because we think, “Hey, let’s change them.”  We change the rules because every year we have joint meeting in L.A with ATAS, and their Awards committee plus, they invite any member of the daytime community that wants to participate. It becomes a huge forum.  All of these changes that have happened year to year have grown out of suggestions from the soap actors themselves.

So for those who are saying that NATAS is making it difficult for the actors now that they have to submit four minute reels for the Pre-Nom round, what would you say to that?

DAVID:  That grew out of actors calling me directly, or their show representatives, with complaints.  But last year I was steadily getting two complaints: three minutes was not enough time, and the other complaint one was if I can only choose a clip from one scene, I can’t show my range.  So based on that, we raised it up to four minutes and we let the actors submit up to two scenes.  Therefore, if somebody wants to show something funny and dramatic, they now had a chance to because the scenes did not have to be from the same episode.  That was the reason for adding the submission of an extra scene.  Now, nobody had to submit a second scene – as long as you gave us four minutes and no more than material from two scenes, than you were clean.  And I might add, it doesn’t have to be four minutes either.  In my opinion, I believe less is more.  We did this for the actors and quite frankly, it makes it harder for the people that have to do the editing, and makes it harder for me when I get the material to make sure it’s within the guidelines of the rules.  So all in all, as far as I am concerned, we did a good thing.  When we have the next meeting in July, maybe the actors will now tell us they didn’t like that.  I don’t know what they are going to say, but we are always open to listening.

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

Nelson expressed that there is a notion in the soap community that now NATAS is making us watch these four minutes scenes in round one of the voting, and then we have to sit and watch all these episodes of the actors work in the blue-ribbon round.  Do you think that is truly too much to ask of people who are sitting down to vote?

DAVID:  Here is the thing: the reason the Pre-Noms came about was that the actors complained that when there was a paper ballot, like what ATAS does for the Primetime Emmys, it was just being voted on by name recognition, as opposed to the merits of someone’s work.  One of them said, “We all work every day, and we have to go home and learn our lines for the next day.  So we don’t have a time to watch the other soaps.  And so the people on the other soaps don’t know what we do.  So I want my work to be considered, and I am not Susan Lucci, whose name everyone recognizes.”  So that is what the Pre-Noms grew out of.  I honestly think the contest now is much fairer.  There is nobody who votes for anything unless they have now seen the work; nothing is done via a piece of paper.

During the chat, it was my understanding that this year during the Pre-Nom voting the actors knew who they were voting for, as the person’s name was linked to their reel, which was changed from prior years.  Plus, there was no way they could cast their ballot if they just clicked on the reel, and only watched it for a few seconds.  Can you confirm how the voting was ID’d in the Pre-Nom round and such?

DAVID:  This was a little murky during the chat … last year what Nelson said was true.  They could click on somebody and not have to watch the entire scene. This year they had to watch the entire thing.  We listed the contenders by name randomly for the Pre-Noms and alphatibetically for the blue-ribbon round.  This year you had to watch all the nominees and their work in their entirety.  If you did not watch it in its entirety, the software system would not let you vote.  So what Nelson described in the video chat was last year’s voting system.  Now, we have different software that makes you have to watch the whole scene from front to back.  This is definitely the first Emmy contest where everything is being done online: you submit online, you pay online, you upload your video online, you watch the videos online, and the judging and the voting is online.

How do actors on the soaps get assigned to blue-ribbon panels?   What is the process of who votes in which category?

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

DAVID:  The show representative from each soap handles it, and if they don’t want to they ask me to do it, but in most cases they do it.  Again, as to a comment made in the chat about how this process weighted things?  If we are doing Lead Actor and there are three actors from each of the soaps voting on it, then there is parity.  Let’s just say… three actors from Y&R probably voted for a Younger Actor from Y&R for number one on their ballot.  And if there were two younger actors from Y&R, they probably made them one and two, but then the three, four and five slot, who knows what they are going to do?  So there is still “real” voting going on there.

So for example; if Y&R’s Christian LeBlanc (Michael), Jessica Collins (Avery) and Peter Bergman (Jack) want to vote on more than one blue-ribbon panel, they can?

DAVID:  You can potentially vote in more than one blue-ribbon panel, if there are no more than 3 from your show already on that panel.  But it usually doesn’t work out that way, because there are so many actors, and they all want to be involved in the voting.

Do only soap actors vote in the blue-ribbon acting panels?

DAVID:  Because the soap actors are voting for soap actors, I also think it’s important that I assign as many non-soap actors as possible to those categories.  I find that some of the primetime actors want to vote on the daytime actors, mainly because they don’t get a chance to see their work, and so they are interested in participating.  It’s not just the soap community that is doing the voting which is important to me … then it’s not incestuous.  I also wanted to clarify because a comment was made that in the blue-ribbon panel; actors have to vote for people of the opposite gender, and that is not true.  What is true is that the actors in the blue-ribbon panel can be assigned to any category that they are not in.  As an example, Y&R’s Christian LeBlanc (Michael) could vote for Younger Actor or Supporting Actor, if it was assigned that way.  It’s not about gender, it’s just about you are not in the category.  The only time in the acting categories you can vote for yourself is in the Pre-Noms, because every actor votes on every actor in the Pre-Noms.

Who then can vote in the Outstanding Drama Series category in the blue-ribbon round?

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

DAVID:  For the Outstanding Drama Series category, each soap assigns 8 people to vote and they can be any 8 people who work on their respective soap.  Now in that case, you can vote for your show as it is not an acting category.  What becomes important is what each voter picks as their second, third, and fourth choices etc.

What do you say to the comments that were made during the Daytime Emmy chat about how the Awards have lost their allure or integrity?

DAVID:  The contest has always had integrity, but one of the reasons I was brought in and this is a direct quote.  I was told, “You are to come in and make this the fairest contest in the world.” I am not saying any other contest is not fair, but this is the fairest contest in the world.  It is absolutely by the rules and by the book, and I don’t know what was alluded to that does not have integrity.

This year’s Emmy races are very hotly contested, wouldn’t you say? There is some great work this year!

DAVID:  You guys were talking about the hot races this year for Lead Actor and Actress.  I think being the person that has seen the reels the most; that this year there is an incredible showing of work in all the acting categories.  I am so glad I can’t vote in these acting races, because I don’t know what I would do!  It broke my heart when certain people did not make it through from the Pre-Noms, because there was some great stuff,   and that is the reason also for the Pre-Noms … to make the blue-ribbon round more handable for the voters.  I can say though, that everybody that has made it this far absolutely deserves a nomination.  It’s always a little heartbreaking for me as well as exhilarating when the nominations are finally announced.

Courtesy/TOLN

AMC and OLTL did not have a good showing in the lead or supporting acting categories.  That was a real downer.  Do you think these shows were hurt in the Pre-Nom voting because they were online soaps?  I know you fought hard to have them included in this year’s race so there would be six soaps competing again!

DAVID:  That was a real downer for me, too.  I can’t tell you why they didn’t get pre-nominated, but I can say the work on these shows was just as good as the work on the network soaps.

Nelson and I both reported Michael Muhney (Ex-Adam, Y&R) chose to not submit his work this year for Lead Actor. What do you think of Michael’s decision to not participate?

DAVID:  In regards to Michael Muhney, Y&R did not do that to him, nor did NATAS, as far as his decision to not submit himself for Emmy contention.  I actually think it was a classy thing for him to do.  With everything going on and emotions running high it was probably a good decision.  I think it goes without saying that Michael Muhney is a wonderful actor, and whatever went down doesn’t take away from that, and this past year he did some really strong work.

There were several performers who did not choose to enter for various reasons this year including: Y&R’s Kritoff St. John (Neil) and Eric Braeden (Victor), and AMC’s Debbi Morgan (Ex-Angie) … just for starters!

Photo Credit: Getty Images

DAVID:  I was very disappointed that we did not have Debbi Morgan participating.  When I read quotes from her on Twitter, I think she was just done with All My Children and she was disappointed on how it all went down.  I don’t think it had anything to do with the Daytime Emmys, per se.  If I know the actors well enough and they aren’t entering, I try to call them up and talk to them about it, or have their show representatives do that.  

If I am as per example, Melissa Claire Egan (Chelsea, Y&R), and I vote for my former AMC cast mates what ever show they are on now, and my current Y&R cast mates, doesn’t that help those actors gain votes, if one of the voters on the blue-ribbon panel has been on multiple soaps?

DAVID:  I know Missy.  She is extremely interested in the voting process for the Daytime Emmys. She even asked to vote in categories that are non-soap, and she is also one of the first ones to return her ballot.  What I know of Missy as a person is that she is ethical.  I believe she watches the scenes, and she is actually a pure judge, and that is always our goal.  Melissa Claire Egan is one of the “dream judges” that we have. 

Were there any other things you wanted to comment on that you heard during the Gold Derby Daytime Emmy video chat?

DAVID:  I think it should be pointed out that if Nelson had the Pre-Nom ballot, it means that some actor gave it to him.  And when the actors vote, they sign an affidavit.  And it specifically says in there, “I will not share this ballot with any associates, friends, or any members of the press.”  Whoever gave it to him is basically invalidating their affidavit.  It’s extremely unethical both on his part, and on one of the actor’s part, that he had the ballot.  I don’t see why he is bragging he has the ballot … that is not a good thing.  Also, there is not anyone at NATAS who devalues the soaps.  There was that recent article in Variety where an ex-Emmy show producer said that.  But no one from NATAS has ever said one negative word about the soap opera genre. 

Courtesy/NATAS

Finally, as all of us wait with bated breath for NATAS to close a deal with a television broadcaster, what are your thoughts on TVGN or CBS AS being a great potential home for the telecast?

DAVID:  I agree with everything that was said about CBS and TVGN.  I have no clue as to why CBS doesn’t want to put it on the air.  I will tell you Malachy Wienges (Chairman, NATAS) is working very hard to get the show on the air this year, and there are already talks about making a deal for 2015.  All I can say is we are doing everything we can to have it televised.  The ceremony is going forward with or without a broadcast partner. There will be two gala banquets: the Creative Arts on Friday, June 20th at the Westin Bonaventure in Los Angeles and The 41st annual Daytime Emmy ceremonies on Sunday, June 22nd at the Beverly Hilton. We look forward to the daytime community coming together to celebrate their achievements.

So soap fans, what do you think about the Daytime Emmy contest and how the nominees are determined and the voting process?  Are you excited to know that the Daytime Emmys have a date for the ceremonies?  Let us know your thoughts, and remember the nominations for the 41st annual Daytime Emmy Awards will be announced next week on Thursday May 1st!

 

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0 Comments

  1. Lou Piikes

    April 21, 2014 at 12:18 pm

    I think it is too late to find a broadcast home for the daytime Emmy’s. I don’t want anything thrown together the last minute. The fans and daytime deserve better than that.

    • Robert

      April 21, 2014 at 1:11 pm

      AGREE!!

    • Tommy

      April 21, 2014 at 7:42 pm

      I hope Sharon Case wins lead actress

    • Kay

      April 21, 2014 at 7:43 pm

      I love Sharon Newman and Jack Abbott on YR

    • Nick

      April 21, 2014 at 7:47 pm

      I don’t like Chelsea MCE with Adam MM so I can see why MM didn’t submit . This past year they were really boring as a couple. The characters were so miserable no chemistry. Adam was so much better with Sharon

  2. JC

    April 21, 2014 at 1:36 pm

    They have announced a broadcast partner the past few just before or at the nomination announcement. I think they should just stream it online but find a reliable way to do so.

  3. su0000

    April 21, 2014 at 1:55 pm

    well–
    No matter whom is voting it is only their opinions..

    too bad that Michael Muhney did not enter, he is an excellent actor..
    Nothing has ever been proven..
    Not one from CBS said MM did it
    Summer never stepped up and said he did it
    The courts/law never said he did it
    Not one actor said he did it
    their were accusations no facts, not proven..
    MM is wise to not feed the crazies by avoiding the Daytime Emmy Awards 🙂

    I hope this year will be the year for GH !!
    There has been stellar performances and great stories..
    DROOL has done very well, also..
    Y&R has failed miserably this past year.. (as if that has ever mattered LOL )

    Hope the awards find a home.. looking forward to seeing them ..
    ((there is always the very popular internet or PBS.. ))

  4. Johnny

    April 21, 2014 at 4:50 pm

    I do not understand why it is so hard to air this show. The networks certainly brag about thwir shows and actors after they have been nominated or won. So why on earth cant they find two hours once a year somewhere on their schedule?? Its TWO hours. Who cares if its not a ratings bonanza? It never has been. I attended in 2001 as a guest of the Soap Opera Weekly editors and I had a blast!! I wish the networks would choose to honour the shows and performers appropriately.

    • su0000

      April 21, 2014 at 9:12 pm

      They do want to put out the big bucks for a select audience nor fill 3hours of air time with daytime awards….
      The only ones who care about daytime tv are talk show and soap fans..
      The vast majority could give a hoot about either..

      the old days there were many soaps and many viewers..
      Now there are 4 soaps and a dwindling audience, in comparison..
      It is big money out less money in ..

      • Johnny

        April 22, 2014 at 3:28 am

        Su…I get all that….but those are excuses, not reasons. First of all, you said 3 hours. The Daytime Emmys have never been 3 hours, only two. And no one says those two hours have to be in prime time. Back in the day, there was this push to get daytime into primetime…Days of our Lives had nighttime specials…Another World had nighttime specials….the Emmys moved to the evening. That was when soaps were big business. They arent anymore, so the Emmys could easily move back to a daytime slot. Take two hours….preempt The TALK or The View or The Chew or The Spew or the 6th hour of The Today Show…..and air the Emmy’s. Or take one of the many gabfests, and use the show a s the platform to present the awards. Kelly Ripa would be in her glory to host a star studded show like that. There are so many possibilities. And really….how much money can they lose on airing one show, once a year, for 2 hours?? It is a show guaranteed to have ratings, so it will at least break even or be cost effective. If the networks dont want to air the awards….they should not participate in them or be able to congratulate themselves when their shows or performers win. It is hypocritical and selfish. And really….the Tony Awards are televised every year and no one watches those!!

      • Derrick

        April 22, 2014 at 9:28 am

        Johnny, Emmys has been 3 hours in the past……………

  5. Mary SF

    April 21, 2014 at 4:52 pm

    Thank you for sharing this and making the process less mysterious to viewers like myself who often wonder how these things work. Unfortunately, awards shows are becoming almost like a reality competition show in nature— forgetting their roots of honoring excellence. Actually it might be good for the Emmy system if the show is not aired and truly make it a private industry affair– perhaps without the glare of spotlight and all the mighty buck to be made in broadcasting the show, participants will concentrate more on the work rather than promoting themselves, show or network.

  6. Charday

    April 21, 2014 at 5:35 pm

    Hope it makes it on tv this year.

  7. Rodd

    April 21, 2014 at 7:04 pm

    Thank you for this informative article. It was very revealing and nice to know.

    I really hope that even at this late date they find a broadcast partner; one that will keep it simple by focusing on the soap stars and less on the talk show/cooking show hosts. The loyalty is mainly to the soap stars and if the producers recognize that, show us what they’re wearing on the red carpet, have a lot of soap star presenters, a nice in memorium segment and classy clips of the nominees an shows, I’ll be happy. We don’t need a blockbuster number to take time away from the important stuff. Let us celebrate with the shows and stars we love. Keep it simple, classy and save the headache of last-minute “creativity” nobody wants anyway. Here’s to keeping my fingers crossed.

    Thanks, again, Michael, for the this interesting story.

  8. big blue

    April 21, 2014 at 8:30 pm

    Muhney’s absence just underscores how ridiculous the Daytime Emmys have become. The show could have nominated him, but chose the petty route. That’s a JFPhelps move.

    • Johnny

      April 22, 2014 at 3:31 am

      He’s gone…move on.

      • J Willis

        April 23, 2014 at 11:53 am

        I chose to move on by turning Y&R off when Michael Muhney left. From what I’ve read, a lot of other people have done the same thing. Well over a 1.3 million viewers have abandoned the show since his and Billy Miller’s last air date in January. You’d think CBS would care about the fans, but I guess they don’t care. Too bad for them. We’re gone with him.

    • Red RIvers

      April 22, 2014 at 11:55 am

      I so agree with you blue. It was plainly obvious he was the best actor on Y&R. He should still be in the running.

    • Shelly

      April 22, 2014 at 4:54 pm

      Michael Muhney delivered so many incredible performances on Y&R in 2013. He certainly deserves recognition of his artistry and work for us, the audience. Muhney is truly a gifted actor. He made me want to watch Y&R.

  9. Jewell

    April 21, 2014 at 9:54 pm

    Wow what a process, I don’t know why they go through this evey year,will it airvor won’t it? Since Y&R has been #1 25 years,and B&B is popular world wide,you would think they would want to broadcast it.Just glad HLN isn’t doing it again.

  10. Derrick

    April 22, 2014 at 9:28 am

    Never understood why CBS doesn’t want to broadcast the emmys!!!!
    Go Y&R!!!!!

  11. Robin

    April 22, 2014 at 9:31 am

    I Don’t Think They Should Telecast On TVGN Channel Cause NOT Every Cable Company Has That Channel It Should Be Telecast On A Channel Every1 Has. Cause Than Not Every1 Will Get to Watch It And That Wouldn’t Be Fair.

  12. Diana

    April 22, 2014 at 12:16 pm

    The bottom line is not enough fans watch. If all the die hard fans and viewers would just watch the program, CBS, ABC and NBC would be fighting to broadcast the show. All the soaps together bring in over 10 million viewers a week so why not watch the show to keep it alive? Most of the comments after it is viewed are negative instead of being thankful it aired at all.

  13. Chaz

    April 23, 2014 at 5:37 am

    I agree about CBS airing the show considering they have half of the soaps now. And, while I understand the argument could be made that it would be risky to showcase another network’s soaps they could air it during the regular time slots for Y&R and B&B. In the past shows have been pre-empted for all sorts of things like sports events that I am sure a good deal of the soap audience do not care about.

    Not sure how the schedule goes across the country but on east coast Y&R airs at 12:30, B&B at 1:30 and The Talk at 2:00. They could use these times to have the Daytime Emmys broadcast.

  14. Jenn

    April 23, 2014 at 2:49 pm

    Interesting interview. I’m glad that David Michaels cleared some of the misconceptions regarding the Emmys. It seems some trusted individuals were in fact giving out some very wrong information.

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All My Children

‘Strahan, Sara and Keke’ Canceled by ABC; Show Aired In Timeslot That Once Housed ‘All My Children’

No matter a network tries to do, replacing All My Children, which ran for 41 years on ABC has remained as everyone that follows the world of daytime drama knows, problematic.  Now come word via Page Six that Strahan, Sara and Keke has been canceled.

The show hosted by Michael Strahan, Sara Haines and Keke Palmer if you recall, replaced the foodie show, The Chew which ran for seven seasons and was the first show to air in the timeslot that belonged for over four decades to All My Children. 

Back in March of this year, Strahan, Sara and Keke took a break to make way for ABC’s News  Pandemic: What You Need to Know, a daily coronavirus report anchored by Amy Robach, Dr. Jen Ashton and sometimes TJ Holmes.

However, because the show did well in that two-week experimental run it morphed into GMA 3: What You Need to Know.  The new version of the show also talked about hot topics in the current news cycle, as well.

ABC’s Catherine McKenzie began producing the “GMA3” show four months ago and the network officially announced her as Executive Producer of the program on Thursday.

While ABC has yet to officially announce Strahan, Sara and Keke is over, a spokesperson told Page Six: “We’re proud of our teams at ‘SSK’ and ‘GMA3’ and how quickly they transitioned to producing a daily show to give people the news and information they need during an unprecedented pandemic, and conversations continue about how the show will evolve in the months ahead.”

It appears that Strahan, Sara and Keke won’t be returning; the future as many of their staff have transitioned over to ‘GMA 3’ with producers from ABC News Live, (the streaming division), helmed by McKenzie.

As for the futures of Strahan, Haines and Palmer; Strahan will continues to host Good Morning America, and they are all actively under contract with the network.

So, what do you think of  ‘Strahan, Sara and Kek’e being replaced by ‘GMA 3: What You  Need to Know’?  How long do you think that show will last in the timeslot once taken up by residents of Pine Valley? Comment below.

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All My Children

Eva LaRue Talks On Her Daytime Emmy Nomination, And Opens Up About The Loss Of John Callahan

For Eva LaRue, the past two months have been some of the most emotionally gut-wrenching and challenging of her life, following the passing of her ex-husband, father of her child, and dearest friend, John Callahan (Ex-Edmund, All My Children). The outpouring of support she has received not only from her former AMC cast mates, but the soap world in general illustrates just how dear Eva is to all of us, and how many people had special memories of their time with John.

While mourning the loss of Callahan along with their daughter, Kaya, there was some heartwarming and re-affirming news that any actress would love to hear. Eva was nominated for a Daytime Emmy in the Outstanding Guest Performer in a Drama Series for her work as Celeste Rosales on CBS’ The Young and the Restless, and she is great company as her former AMC co-star Michael E. Knight (Ex-Tad) is also nominated along with her for his work on General Hospital.

The coronavirus pandemic has hit our country and world hard, but through it All My Children virtual reunions emerged as fans were engaged by the content, transported to happier times that brought them back to familiar faces in Pine Valley in which Eva participated along with her good friends, Kelly Ripa, Mark Consuelos and so many more, thanks to the EW. com weeklong event which concluded on Friday.

Michael Fairman TV talked with Eva in this very candid, at times heartbreaking, and open conversation where she shares details into the final days of her beloved John, her last moments with him, and how she tried to plan a memorial in his honor during the COVID-19 pandemic.

For so many of us, 2020 has certainly seen more lows then highs, but in the end for Eva, to receive a nomination now (an award she was last nominated for back in 1997 as Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for her work as Dr Maria Santos on All My Children) couldn’t have come at a better time. Here now is our conversation with Eva.

Photo: JPI

I’ve been thinking so much about you.  I’m glad we could do this, and in the midst of the tragedy of losing John Callahan, and then receiving a Daytime Emmy nomination.  What was your reaction when you learned you were nominated in a category with none other than your former AMC castmate and good friend, Michael E. Knight (Ex-Tad, AMC, now Martin, GH)?

EVA:  Oh, I know!  He’s the first person I texted!  I was like, “Congratulations, Michael!  Did you ever in a million years think that you and I would be in the same category of anything?”  Then I said, “And when you win this, can I just borrow it for the weekend just to dress it up and take pictures with it… just want to borrow it, just babysit the trophy for a weekend, please?” (Laughs)

Photo: JPI

What did you end up submitting that landed you the nomination for your role as Celeste on Y&R?

EVA: I submitted a scene with Peter Bergman (Jack, Y&R), who I have been friends for 30 years, if not more, and in all that time we had never worked together.  I met him when I was married to John O’Hurley (Ex- Dr. James Grainger) because John was over at The Young and the Restless at the time.  I went to a Christmas party with John to Peter and Mariellen’s house, and do you know who else was there?  Lisa Rinna (Ex-Billie, Days), and it was before she had gotten Days of Our Lives. She was dating Peter Barton (Ex-Scott Grainger, Y&R) at the time. We both ended up on soaps at the same time.  So, I submitted a scene with Peter, who is amazing, warm and open and such a great actor. Then I submitted a scene with my on-screen daughter Sasha Calle (Lola, Y&R) – I love that girl, and another one with Michelle Stafford (Phyllis, Y&R) who has also been my great friend for a couple of decades. The other scene I put on my reel was with me and Jordi Vilasuso (Rey, Y&R) who I also adore.  He is awesome and such a sweetheart.  I only had two months worth of material to draw upon.  So, I just submitted the scenes that I liked the best, and they all were within story, and all made sense.

Photo: Getty Images

Where is Celeste supposed to be now?

EVA:  She went back to Florida, and that was that. I would never say never to anything, but it was always supposed to be a short stint, and it was great.

So not only is it you and Michael E. Knight, but Jeffery Vincent Parise, Chrishell Stause, and Elissa Kapneck. This Guest Performer category is loaded!

EVA:  I know! I know and love, Chrishell (Ex-Amanda) because we worked together on All My Children, too, right before I left, and she is a doll.  She just might be the sweetest, kindest, girl on the planet.  She literally might be the sweetest person who ever lived!  I don’t know the other two nominees personally.  So, I’m excited for them too.  It’s such a diverse category.  It’s just really fun to be nominated with all of them.

Photo: Hallmark Channel

You were nominated before, though, for your work as Maria on All My Chldren during the emotional baby switch storyline; working opposite Susan Lucci (Ex-Erica) for a lot in it.

EVA:  Yes.  I was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for All My Children, and I was nominated for Best Original Song.  I wrote a song when Maria came ‘back from the dead’ to All My Children, with a producer friend of mine from Miami Sound Machine.

Photo: Live with Kelly Ryan

So, you’ve been doing all of these All My Children virtual reunions, which is so interesting that in this pandemic, people are looking for content, and they dip back into these beloved shows.  Was it fun doing the EW.com Santos Family reunion with everybody?

EVA:  Oh yeah, it was really, really fun.  I only saw in the big picture everybody else’s photo who was a part of it, and the people who I actually do hang out with the most, and see the most, and talk to the most, are Kelly Ripa (Ex-Hayley), Mark Consuelos (Ex-Mateo), and Sydney Penny (Ex-Julia).  I don’t see Sydney as much, but I do see her probably once every two years at least, but Sarah Michelle Geller (ExKendall) I see all the time and talk to all the time.  Kelly, Mark, and Sarah are the ones who walked me through that first week when John Callahan passed.  They literally were on the phone with me, the three of them, almost every day, but I got beautiful outreach, from what seemed like everyone.  This is when no matter how many years have passed since you have been in daytime, that the daytime family as a group – there used to be fifteen shows, now there are four – and people have bounced around and they are on other shows- – but the entire soap opera community reached out,   I cannot even tell you how much that meant to me.  It was overwhelming, and it was really, spectacularly beautiful.

Photo: JPI

I hope it was some solace to you knowing how much people loved John, and also that they love and care so deeply for you.

EVA:  I mean, people who did not even work with John reached out.  Every soap was represented by getting a hold of me, sending a text or a phone call, or if they didn’t have my personal information, they tweeted, or whatever it was… literally from every reach of soapdom.  It was amazing.

And your relationship with John was amazing with all of the ups and downs you went through; that you remained such dear friends.

EVA:  We remained really great friends all the way.

Photo: JPI

I so remember when the two of you first got together and it was this storybook real life soap couple romance.  John was always so sweet to me.  I was so, so sad, and you know, my heart just broke for you.

EVA:  I think it was just such a shock.  I don’t think anybody, and even Kaya were talking about it, because she graduated this week, and her dad is not here.  We’re not having a graduation, because of COVID-19, which sucks on top of it, but we were just kind of talking through the feelings of it.  She said, “You know what’s weird?  I guess I never pictured dad getting old, and I always wondered why, and now I know.”  When I would get on John about his heart or his health, he used to always say, ‘Oh, don’t worry Evala, (he always called me “Evala”).  I’m going to be here.  I’m going to be here a long time.  I’m fine.  I’m going to be here to walk Kaya down the aisle and see her kids and all that.  Stop worrying,” Every time he said it to me, something in my gut said, “I don’t think he is.  I don’t think he is,” but I always just dismissed that.  But never in my wildest dreams did I think John wouldn’t make it to her high school graduation.  He was only 66.

Photo: JPI

I had heard you ended up running to Palm Springs to be near John.  I can’t even imagine what that must have been like.

EVA:  The only good thing about this pandemic is that we had been shut down for only two weeks at that point.  Kaya and I got in the car.  John had some heart procedures the day before, on a Thursday.  I called him in the morning before he went in for the procedure.  I said, “Call me as soon as you get out of there.  Call me as soon as you come-to again, and you’re good,” and he said, “Okay, I will.”  I said, “I’m going to send Kaya out to you on Friday for the weekend, just so you have somebody to hang out and watch you, and I might come out too,” And then, I said, “Maybe, I’ll come down too in case you are feeling weak, just to watch out for you for the weekend.”   So, he called me after the procedure.   I said, “I cannot believe they sent you home! You just had some major heart stuff done.”  He said, “Oh no, they said I’m fine.  It was just run-of-the-mill heart stuff, angiogram…”  I was like, “Are you sure?”  He said, “Yeah, I’m fine.  I’m just tired.  I’m going to go to sleep.”  I said, “Do you want me to send Kaya out tonight?” and he was like, “No, no, no.  Send her tomorrow.”  So, in the morning, I called him at 9:00am.  No answer.  I texted him.  He always texted me like Johnny on the spot, and then texts me immediately back.  So, I call him again at 10.  Nothing.  His best friend calls me about a half-hour later, “Hey, I talked to John at about 8:00 this morning.  He said he was feeling really, really shitty and was going to go back to the hospital, and then, I texted him again at like 8:30 to just tell him something, and he hasn’t texted me back, and he always texts me immediately back.”  I said, “Oh my, God, I’ve been trying to get a hold of him for two hours; he hasn’t texted me back,”   I said, “You know what, I’ll call you back.”  So, I called his friend who lives down the street from John, and I said, “Go to his house, please right this second, knock on the door, jump the fence, knock on his bedroom, he might be asleep, I don’t know.”  So, he gets there, nobody is answering.  I said, “Break into the house please.  So, he did, and John was collapsed in the bathroom.  They called the paramedics, and as soon as they called me back and said, “John is unresponsive in the bathroom,” Kaya and I threw everything in the car, and what usually takes us two and a half hours without traffic, we made it down there from Los Angeles in an hour and forty-five minutes.

Photo: JPI

I don’t know how you made it down there in one piece. Thank, God!

EVA:  I drove so fast, like literally broke all land speed records and thank God because we got there just in time.  He was in emergency.  He hadn’t been put up in ICU yet, where we wouldn’t have been able to see him.  They weren’t going to let us in the hospital.  Thank God the person answering the door was an All My Children fan.  She was the one saying, “Sorry, no one is allowed in the hospital, no one can come in,” and I was like, “No, no, no, my ex-husband just came in.”  She said, “Was it Edmund?” and I said, “Yes, it was Edmund!”  She said, “Okay, follow me.”  Thank God for All My Children.  Thank God.  So, we followed this woman secretly, and we get to spend a half-hour with him in Emergency.  He was already on life-support, totally unresponsive, but we got to play John his favorite music, we got to just sit there and hold his hand and talk to him, and tell him how much we loved him.  Sarah Michelle Gellar called right when we were in the hospital in Emergency, and she said, “Put the phone by his ear,” so I put the phone by his ear, and she talked to John too, and she told him how much she loved him.  She used to always call him “GP”, which was short of grandpa, because she came on the show when she was 15, and she didn’t have a dad, and John acted like a dad to her – but she used to always call him “grandpa”, and he hated “grandpa”, so he was like, “You can call me “GP”, but not grandpa,” so she always called him GP.  I just put the phone by John’s ear, and what was crazy is that when she talked to him, his feet started twitching.  He started moving his feet.  Then, when Kaya was talking to him about Yankee season, he started moving his feet.  We were kind of hopeful that something was changing for the better.  We had about a half-hour with him, and then, they took him up to ICU, and then, we knew we couldn’t see him again.  They called us later that night that he had passed.

Photo: JPI

I am just so thankful that you got to see John one last time.

EVA:  I thank God every day that we got to say goodbye, because if we hadn’t gotten there in time to say goodbye, I just don’t know.

It’s very rare that a couple after a divorce, who have a child, and went from romance to dear friends, end up maintaining that relationship so many years later in their lives.  I know so many people who were together at one point in their lives, for years, and they don’t even talk to each other now.

EVA:  Well, you know, like any divorce, the first four years afterwards were super contentious but then, by year five, we kind of had this major breakthrough, and from then on, he was one of my closest friends, and one of the things we always kept alive for each other was we loved to  dance together. We fell in love, I think, dancing because originally our characters on AMC met at this country-western bar, and we had to take country line dancing lessons on the show.  They hired a choreographer for us so that during those scenes where we were falling in love, we would actually be able to do a two-step! So, we went out and practiced at Denim and Diamonds, which was a big country-western place in New York City at the time.  We used to go out with a whole group of us.  It was me, and Teresa Blake (Ex-Gloria) and Kelly Ripa, and her boyfriend at the time, Winsor Harmon (Ex-Del), sometimes Walt Willey (Ex-Jack); we just had a whole crew of us who would go out country dancing.  John and I also loved singing together.  He had the most amazing gravely kind of rockstar voice, but his real talent was harmonizing.  He could harmonize to anything.  So, when he would come over, we would sit in the kitchen and sing, and sing, and sing until the late hours because that’s what we loved to do, and that’s what he loved to do.  That’s one of my favorite last memories of us.  He was just over the month before, and Kaya’s bedroom is near the kitchen, so she came out and was like, “Can you two shut up?”  It was like two in the morning and we were still singing in the kitchen. (Laughs)  John was my dear friend and my confidant.

Photo: ABC

Were you able to have some kind of service during this stay-at-home pandemic we are all dealing with, in order to mourn the loss of John?

EVA:  It’s been so crazy.  We couldn’t even have a funeral.  That’s what made it all the more heartbreaking.  There were less than twenty of us, and we just got on a Zoom call and memorialized John.   I thought we were going to do a big Zoom memorial, but it seemed so overwhelming and so impersonal, it just was rubbing us wrong in every way.  Every way we were looking at it, we were like, “Oh my, God, we just can’t.”  We wanted to invite everybody he had ever worked with, and we were like, “No, we want to do that when everything can open back up again, and invite every person, and have a party” because John was always the life of every party.  Maybe we can do that in the fall or next year.  I kept trying to write something for the small memorial we did do for three days.  I kept coming back to this one song, because John was always the consummate bartender, too.  I sang a song that Bette Midler sang on the very last episode of Johnny Carson.  It was “One for My Baby (and One More for the Road)” and it’s about a bartender who has got a big personality and a lot to say.   I changed some of the words around a bit just to reflect who John was, and so, I ended up singing for it instead of speaking.  We always talked about that last episode of Carson; how stunningly emotional it was when Bette sang that song to kind of sing Johnny off for of all of his years on the air.  So, that’s what I did and because we loved to sing together, it just made sense.

Photo: HutchinsPhoto

I do think you touched upon something, earlier, too.  I don’t think any other genre would have that kind of unbridled camaraderie.  It’s such a family, like you said.  I don’t think you would find that quite like this; certainly in show business. 

EVA:  I really don’t think you can. Even though there is always a good amount of competition in the soaps as well; between the soaps it’s like they are any sports team, but there is always a level of respect, love, and familial connection within the community.  I think that is why they have stood the test of time.  I really do think that is what hooks our audience, that is what keeps them there after all of these years, even though unfortunately the genre is antiquated looking, there is something about it that is nostalgic, familial, and comfortable for people.

Photo: JPI

Every time I talk about All My Children, why do you think everybody go ga-ga for it, when it’s been off the air for several years now?

EVA:  It speaks to people’s childhoods.  It speaks to how we grew up.  You can’t undo nostalgia.  You can’t.  It’s in the way we grew up, the things we loved, the things that we scheduled our lives around, the people we fell in love with on the shows that we watched, who we cared about and loved their storylines. I grew up watching All My Children, General Hospital, and Days of Our Lives.

It must have been a spectacular moment for you when you realized you were actually in Pine Valley and a member of the cast of All My Children then?

EVA:  It was amazing.  I was a fan when I got the show.  I was a straight up fan.  I fangirled walking through that dressing room hallway for the first time! I was trying to keep it in check, but you know … (Laughs)

Photo: JPI

So, in closing, you would say, “Thrilled to be nominated”?

EVA:  Yes.  So fun.  It has really been a rollercoaster of a couple of months here.  That nomination was literally the bright, shining spot in all of this.

So, happy to hear Eva is in the running for a Daytime Emmy? Were you moved by Eva’s sentiments she shared on her relationship with the late John Callahan? Do you miss Pine Valley’s Dr. Maria Santos? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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All My Children

All My Children Reunion with Josh Duhamel, Ricky Paull Goldin, Cameron Mathison and More; Later Debbi Morgan Live

It’s a big finale of the weeklong virtual celebration of the iconic All My Children.  On tap today in EW’s series to benefit Feeding America during the COVID-19, some major names from the history of Pine Valley and who had story with each other participating in the chat, premiering at 10 a. m. EST.

Taking part in the walk down memory lane are none other than Josh Duhamel (Ex-Leo), Ricky Paull Goldin (Ex-Jake), Chrishell Stause (Ex-Amanda), Cameron Mathison (Ex-Ryan), Rebecca Budig (Ex-Greenelee) and Melissa Claire Egan (Ex-Annie).

But that’s not all folks! Daytime Emmy winner, Debbi Morgan will participate in a live virtual chat with EW.com today beginning at 3 p.m. EST/12 p. m. PST.  Now will be your chance to hear from the one and only Angie Hubbard from the beloved ABC daytime drama series.

Over the week, EW.com has posted other virtual conversations with notables from Pine Valley, you can check them out here.

So, will you be checking out today’s one-two punch of AMC favorites? Comment below.

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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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