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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

Photo: NATAS

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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SZima
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SZima

I know a lot of people liked this version of the Emmy’s, but I IDN’T!! In fact, I could even say I hated it!

Everything was “CANNED,” obviously.
Everything was pre-recorded, and then edited to the nth degree!
There was no interacting between the hostesses.
There was no spontaneity!
The hostesses didn’t comment on,or congratulate the winners.
There was no suspense.
There was no applause.
There was no orchestra.
There was no red carpet.
There was NOTHING to make the show fun or interesting.
If they can’t do a normal awards show in the future, DON’T BOTHER!
I’ll settle for reading who won online.

Dan
Guest
Dan

Michael,

I wish you would have asked Adam Sharp about why they merged the Younger Actor and Younger Actress category into one category this year, only for five women to be nominated at the exclusion of some very talented and worthy younger male actors like William Lipton and Garren Stitt, among many others. I would love to hear the reasoning for why they made that change. It honestly comes across like a change that they made for the sake of making a change, not because there was a huge issue that needed to be corrected.

Interviews

B&B’s Matthew Atkinson Weighs-In On Daytime’s Wildest Storyline, The Hope Mannequin & What’s Really Going On With Thomas

If you think you’ve seen it all on daytime soap operas, think again! Over the past several weeks viewers of CBS Daytime’s The Bold and the Beautiful have been witness to fashion designer Thomas Forrester’s (Matthew Atkinson) descent into madness, or is it?

In B&B’s thriller-esque storyline, complete with tight close-ups and tilted angles of Thomas and his co-star, the Hope Mannequin – yup, you read that right, the series is taking the audience on one wild ride, something we have not seen the likes of since back in the hey day of the late head writer, James Reilly, during his tenure on Days of our Lives or Passions.

Photo: JPI

Inspired by, believe it or not, true life events, B&B’s head writer and executive producer, Brad Bell and his creative team have served up a story generated off all of the buzz the show was receiving for using mannequins as scene partners for the actors in intimate moments to adhere to Covid-19 safety protocols.  B&B was the first American show back in production amid the pandemic.

 

Within this twisted tale, Thomas has the life-like version of Hope Logan Spencer (Annika Noelle) at home with him.  Those who have stumbled upon him with the mannequin, well, he has been able to explain that away by saying that having the doll with him is helping him create some of the best designs of his career.

The problem is the mannequin is talking to Thomas, it’s eyes have often turned devil-red, and on Friday’s episode it walked!  It’s objective is to get Thomas to kill Liam (Scott Clifton) and to get Hope back to be his one and only. Throughout many of the scenes in the storyline, Thomas suffers from what appears to be severe headaches.  All of this leading the audience to believe either … he has a brain tumor … he is being drugged … he is suffering from a severe mental break and disorder, or something else.

Photo: JPI

In a very candid and often humorous conversation with Michael Fairman for the Michael Fairman Channel on You Tube, Thomas’ portrayer, Matthew Atkinson, discusses some of the craziest scenes to shoot thus far including Thomas having dinner with the mannequin!  In addition, Atkinson reveals how he and Annika Noelle tape the scenes where she is the voice of the Hope mannequin while adhering to safety protocols,  and how Liam is the only one, apparently, thinking something is off with Thomas, and so much more.

Photo: Gilles Toucas

One thing is for certain, Matthew Atkinson is sinking his teeth into the material and making it must-see daytime drama through his performances while we all wait to see what the possessed mannequin does next.

Check out the full interview with Matthew below. 

Then let us know, what do you think is happening or wrong with Thomas? Are you getting a kick out of the Hope Mannequin storyline? Share your thoughts and theories via the comment section below.

 

 

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Interviews

Eric Nelsen Talks Latest Film, Becoming a Tony-Nominated Producer, ‘The Bay’, and His Elizabeth Gillies & Ariana Grande Connection

You can catch All My Children reboot alum, Eric Nelsen (Ex-AJ Chandler), just about everywhere this month, and that’s hard to do given that we are all living in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic.

However, this Daytime Emmy-winning actor has his hands in a myriad of projects of late including: appearing on season six of The Bay (new episodes every Tuesday on Popstar! TV) where he continues to play Daniel’s journey after the character has come to terms with his sexuality and finds love, plus his comedic turn in the film, 1 Night in San Diego, and recently becoming a Tony-nominated producer along with his wife Sainty for the critically-acclaimed, and now 11 times nominated Broadway play, The Inheritance.

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Eric to get the lowdown on his busy professional life, and we were in for some surprises along the way including: what the producers of AMC had in mind for the character of AJ that ultimately did not happen, and that Eric starred on Broadway with Elizabeth Gillies (Fallon, Dynasty) and Pop superstar, Ariana Grande – and there’s more to that story below.

 

What makes Nelsen so good at what he does on-screen is that he is a like a chameleon; adept at playing the quirky, to the troubled bad boys, to the emotional heart-tugging anti-hero. So here’s what Eric had to say in this fascinating conversation.

Photo: : Metropolitan Entertainment,

Your latest film appearance in 1 Night in San Diego is out this week on multiple streaming on-demand platforms from: Apple TV, Amazon Prime Video, Google Play, and more. Tell me about the movie and when did you film this?

ERIC:  We filmed it near San Diego, not this past February, but last February, and it’s hilarious.  It’s a female-driven comedy.  The cast is incredible.  Alexandra Daddario, who is just epic, and Jenna Ushkowitz, and Laura Ashley Samuels, they truly bring it in this powerhouse comedy, and it’s just one of those make-you -laugh movies from beginning to end, just silly, stupid stuff happening the whole time.  General Hospital’s Mark Lawson (Dustin) is also in the film.  While we don’t work in scenes together, I did get a chance to meet him and he’s a really great guy.  I play this off-the-wall character, named Gordo, who is a real burn-out, think Matthew McConaughey meets space cadet, which was a lot of fun to play.  Gordo is a great role.  I had more fun with this part than I’ve had in a long time.  So, it was cool to throw a comedy into all of the drama I have been playing in my other projects.

How does Gordo know the girls in the film?

ERIC:  One of the girls knew him back in the day, so they were in town looking to reconnect, and she’s like, “Oh, we want to party and let’s hit up Gordo,” and they do.  He has just gone completely off the rails, off the deep end with spirituality and kind of in his own world. They find themselves in quite a predicament when they come visit what they didn’t know was a commune, basically.  Gordo creates this hippie commune for a bunch of outcast musicians, (laughs) and I don’t want to give too much away, but a lot of interesting stuff happens there.

Photo: InheritancePlay

 

In addition, you are now a Tony-nominated producer for the play The Inheritance!

ERIC: That was crazy, because it’s always been a dream of mine to produce for Broadway.  That was how I got into the world of film and TV acting, which was through the theatre.  That’s where I started.  I was lucky enough to star on Broadway when I was 16 and 17, in a musical called, 13.  I started with Ariana Grande! It was so fun.

Wait, what?

ERIC:  Yeah, that was her first big show, and Elizabeth Gillies’.

Photo: AP

I think Elizabeth Gillies is terrific in Dynasty.

ERIC:  Oh yeah, and you know she and I dated for two and a half years during the whole run of the show 13.  Elizabeth is very talented.   She is amazing.  The funny part of it is, we were dating forever, and kind of had a bad breakup, and then Sainty, my wife, gets cast in her show Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll, in the pilot to play Liz’s best friend on the series.  So, all of the sudden, I’m like, “Wait, wait, wait, out of all the shows, all of the things, this is who you have to get cast as best friends with?” and so they actually became really, really, close friends.  So, I’d actually come home from work or filming, and Liz would be on my couch sitting there giggling with Sainty.  I’m like, “This is just becoming too much.  This is a full-circle moment here.  I can’t deal.” (Laughs)

Now, you and Elizabeth are broken up at this point?

ERIC:  Yes.  We had been broken up at this point.  Sainty and I were actually together.  I started dating Sainty in New York and the pilot she was shooting was in New York, and she gets cast as Liz’s best friend, and I was like, “Oh, of course.”

Photo JPI

But Sainty knew you’d dated Elizabeth?

ERIC:  Yes, she did.

You must have been dying.

ERIC:  Yes, so dying.  Dying.   You know, it’s just one of those things that in a million years, you would never expect this to happen, and of course, Sainty and her had to become best friends in real life because they’re both great girls, and naturally, they would be friends, but now, I’m like this guy stuck in the middle who can’t believe what’s happening, and thought that was one chapter, and this is a different chapter, and now the chapters are combining.  It’s kind of a comedy act.

Photo: JPI

Since Ariana Grande was on Broadway with you and Liz, what was she like back then before her meteoric rise to fame?

ERIC:  Ariana was literally the sweetest, most innocent, and cutest – like my little sister.   To me, it was like, Liz and I were dating, and Ari was kind of like the little sister.  All of a sudden the show ended. Ariana got a Nickelodeon show, and after that, she became the most famous person in the world and was like this sex icon, and I couldn’t get over it.   She’s always had that talent with her voice and in 13 she was an ensemble member.  She wasn’t even one of the leads, but her voice was so incredible, even then as a young teenager.  I thought she was going to go on to have this great Broadway career as an actress and do musicals her whole life just because of her voice.  Then, all of the sudden, right after the musical, we all auditioned for the same Nickelodeon show.  I ended up going to the finals for the boyfriend role, Liz got the girlfriend role, and Ari got the funny friend on the show role.  That kind of catapulted them into the TV world, and Ari got a spinoff because of her character on that show for another Nickelodeon show, called Sam and Cat, and then after Sam and Cat, she went from this innocent, sweet, little Nickelodeon girl that I knew to being the biggest star.  It was unbelievable to me.

Photo: Broadway World

So, you started on Broadway as a teenager, and you found you always wanted to produce for the Great White Way? 

ERIC:  Yes, I did the Broadway thing, and then I got into film and TV, and then I got into film and TV producing.  As an actor, there are a lot of ups, a lot of downs.  So, in between the ups, I wanted to fill my time, so I got into producing, and I loved it.  I loved creating.  As an actor, we just show up, and everything is already done.  All we have to do is say our lines.  We get pampered, and we go home, but I wanted to know how it got to that point, like what happens before that.  So, I started producing film and found some success doing that, and it was so much fun for me.  Sainty’s and my first love, and what feels like home, is theatre.  So, I wanted to take it full circle and produce a Broadway show.  I just thought that would be such an incredible moment, and so that’s what I did.  I started emailing all of the Broadway producers who I had worked with as an actor, letting them know what I had been doing, kind of the success I had gotten from producing The Bay and some of these other things. Different shows came across my desk that I didn’t quite bite the bullet on, a couple of which I wish I would have, Dear Evan Hansen being one of them.  I would have been so rich by now!  (Laughs)

I just want to clarify for people who might not know, the word “producer” can mean different things.  There are “producers” who are putting money in … they’re backing projects or shows.  There are other people who are “producers” on the creative side of projects.  So, when you’re talking about producing a Broadway show, it is as an investor?

ERIC:  So for theatre, unless you’re the head producer who kind of gets creative control, every other producer listed in the credits is basically helping raise finances and is also very heavily involved in the process of everything else along the way, which is also what makes it special.  So finally, The Inheritance came across our desk, and it checked every single box.  It was just an epic play.  It’s a two-part play, and it’s just hours and hours and hours long.  You see it in multiple days or in multiple shows.  I remember reading the script and not stopping until I finished.  I was like, “This is amazing,” and it had just come off of a huge commercial successful run in London.  It won the Olivier Award for “Best New Play” and just about every other award you could win, and so I was like, “This is the one.  This is incredible.  I love the piece, love the message, and pulled the trigger,” and I would have done it all over again if we could.

Photo: Broadway World

The Inheritance is a generational piece centering on gay men during the AIDS crisis.  What can you say about it to those who don’t know about it, or have not seen it yet?

ERIC:  It takes place in the past, and then it fasts forward to the future.  You see two generations of gay men in New York City, and it’s all about the AIDS crisis, and so you’re bawling crying, and then you’re laughing throughout it.  It’s just one of those epic plays that pulls at every single emotion and you feel like you’re watching a movie.

It seems reminiscent of Angels In America, but different.   

ERIC:  Yes.  It’s definitely its own thing.  It’s actually an adaptation of Howard’s End, the novel by Forster, definitely different from Angels in America, but the two-part show is kind of what I was meaning by that.  People have said it is kind of our generation’s Angel’s in America in tone and subject matter.  It was just a dream come true, and like all other theatre that was open during our season, it had to close because of the pandemic, and it will have life after Broadway.  We are already slated for the Geffen Playhouse in LA, so I’m very excited for all of my LA friends and the public to get to see it.

Courtesy/ENelsen

And you get nominated in the year that the coronavirus pandemic shut down live theatre! But it is my understanding we still do not have a date for handing out this year’s Tony Awards.

ERIC:  No, we do not.  They finally announced that they were going to announce nominations, and for a while we didn’t even know that they were going to do that.  We received 11 nominations, which is incredible.  We were so excited.  I truly thought the American Theatre Wing and the Tony committee were not going to do the Tonys at all, and so we were just like, “I can’t believe the one year we pull the trigger on the show, this isn’t going to happen for us,” but then thank God, they came to their senses.  There were plenty of shows that opened and needed to be recognized.

How long was it open on Broadway?

ERIC:  We were open from September 2019 through February or March.  So, as long as your submission was open on Broadway before Covid-19 and had at least all of its previews and an opening night before Covid-19 hit, then you could qualify, and then in the play category, there were like 10 plays that had opened last year that were contenders.  So, that was definitely the hardest category.   It will be interesting to see what happens after all of this.  The only good thing I know that is going to come from this is the amount of creatives who have had so much time sitting at home to create and write, that there will be so many new scripts and plays and musicals that are going to come from this.  I think it’s’ going to be the biggest boom that we’ve probably ever seen in theatre, just because there’s been so much time to develop stuff.  At the same time, it’s piggybacking on the darkest time that theatre has ever seen.

Throughout the pandemic, I always stream all of the Broadway Actor’s Fund events.  It’s really sad.  It’s just a difficult time, those in the arts are struggling and especially in the live theatre and also musicians who can’t tour or play gigs in front of an audience. I know they said Broadway is closed through May 31, 2021.

ERIC:  It is really hard.  I’m happy that we are able to find other ways like streaming shows.  I’m actually producing a big benefit for Broadway Cares Equity Fights AIDS that will be airing on World AIDS Day, December 1st.  It’s a show called Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens.  The cast we have is everybody from Nathan Lane, to Academy Award winner J. K. Simmons.  It’s insane.  It will be streaming online on the Broadway HD network.  It is a huge list of Broadway stars and a lot of movie and TV stars as well that are participating.  We’ve got people from all over the map.

And … Ariana Grande? (Laughs)

ERIC:  (Laughs)  Ari is not in it, actually!

Photo: Prospect Park

So, in this week’s latest episode of The Bay, your character of Daniel Garrett makes his final choice for love between Caleb (Mike Manning) and Matthew (Randy Wayne).  When you came to the show, did you know that this part was going to wind-up being a gay character?

ERIC:  No, I did not.  I think I dropped a bird in Gregori Martin’s (creator, The Bay) ear by telling him that before All My Children ended, they were going to have my character of AJ Chandler have a storyline where he is gay.  The producers sat me down and talked through an entire storyline arc with me.  Basically, Ginger Smith (ex-executive producer, All My Children) and Alison, our casting director, and one other person from the show, took me to lunch in New York. They pitched me what they wanted to do for my character, and asked me if I would be comfortable with it, and they wanted my opinion, everything.  It was really cool how they approached it, and I was like, “100% completely.”  I look at what Chandler Massey (Ex-Will Horton) did on Days and where that brought him and his storyline, and I thought, “Yes, there’s going to be so much more depth and stuff to play than just being this fun little rich kid.”  At the time, there really wasn’t much depth to AJ.  So, I was like, “Yes.  I will be all over it.  Absolutely.”  So, I told Gregori that, and I don’t know if he already had something in his mind or not, or if that influenced it at all, but maybe he just figured that was something that would work well, and up till that point, I guess they didn’t really have that on the show.  Regardless, no, I wasn’t aware that that was the direction it was going in, but I was really happy with my storyline and it’s grown a lot since then, and in this current season especially.  It’s really given me an arc to play, which I’ve enjoyed.

Photo: LANYEntertainment

So for those who may not know let’s do a re-set.  Where is the character of Daniel at? It seems like he is at crossroads, and is making some important decisions, or trying to.

ERIC:  So Daniel was a wild party boy in the beginning, just head in the clouds, lives life with thinking there’s no repercussions and just doing what you want to do all of the time, and that got him into a lot of trouble with drugs and alcohol. Then, we realize why Daniel has been the way he is, and why he acts out, and why he has been so all over the place, and it’s because he hasn’t been able to come to terms with who he is.  Then, he admits it to himself and for the first time to somebody else – who happens to be his priest in a catholic church, ironically –  that he is gay and this is what he has been battling with.  For the first time (and I don’t know where on television it has depicted it this way), but the catholic priest looks at Daniel, and he’s like, “What’s your sin?  You haven’t sinned.  This is perfectly fine.”  So, I love that Gregori made that the outlet for which Daniel was able to basically come to terms with who he was, because he grew up in the church, and so he was always told that it was wrong.  Obviously, it’s not wrong, or obviously the church needs to change their mindset, but on The Bay, he chose that to be the outlet through which he came out, which I thought was really powerful.  Through that, Daniel experimented with other boys and such to figure out where he wanted to land, and then in this newest season, I can’t say much that gives anything away, but for the first time, we really see Daniel’s growth, and he’s making decisions, and the most mature we’ve ever seen him, and it’s been really cool to see that come full circle.  He’s making commitments to himself.

Photo: LANY Entertaiment

In story, Daniel chooses Caleb.  Why so?

ERIC:  Obviously, that’s who it works with,  Caleb is a teacher and a great guy.

… And Matthew is not a great guy?

ERIC:  He is… he’s just not the great guy for him.

Photo: LANY Entertaiment

This season of The Bay is heavily steeped with social issues of our time.  Covid-19 has come to Bay City and the Black Lives Matter movement also plays prominently.

ERIC:  Yes.  It’s kind of the beginning of the pandemic in The Bay and within all of the intense drama that Daniel has been having, he is still, for all intent and purposes the comedic relief of the show, and so there is a funny scene where I’m carrying like 28,000 rolls of toilet paper like, “Come on, guys.  We’ve got to stock up!”  We all remember those days, don’t we?

Photo: JPI

How do you feel about this season of the show and your work in it? You’ve previously won a Daytime Emmy for your performances on The Bay.

ERIC:  This season is more cemented in a character that has truly grounded himself.  So, the first Emmy I won was for a storyline of coming out and uncertainty and struggle and pain, whereas this season Daniel knows what he wants and is going for it.  There is much more passion and love in this season for Daniel, as opposed to struggle and heartache.

The cast and crew of The Bay all went away and quarantined at this ranch this past summer to get the new season completed.  What was that like?

ERIC:  We were actually in Santa Barbara, and filmed on this epic ranch up there.  It’s like this 500-acre ranch that we all quarantined on.  We had to do the testing, and temperatures three times a day, and the whole thing.  So, it was really structured, tough to pull off, but we were all so grateful that we were able to do this.  Luckily, we had this incredible kind of bubble of a ranch to live and work on while we were shooting.  They were really good about block shooting it all, so we’d kind of shoot one person’s character, then the next, so we wouldn’t have to ever be leaving the ranch before we were done.

Courtesy/ENelsen

Finally, how is being a dad?

ERIC:  Oh, it’s amazing.  I just can’t believe how fast the time is flying by because of it.  We just had Molly’s first birthday on October 1st, and I feel like yesterday she was born.  I sound like my parents when I say this, but it’s like the time keeps getting faster, but it’s so true.  She’s awesome.  We play Broadway musical soundtracks to her all day, and she sings.  She sits at the piano with me when I play, and she kind of plunks notes out next to me.  She loves music, and we’ve introduced it to her from day one.  We always joke that she won’t be able to watch any of daddy’s stuff until she’s 18 probably, but Sainty is a voice-over actress.  She has done parts for animated films and TV shows such as Trolls, and Barbie, and Boss Baby, so everything from the first part of my daughter’s life is all going to be Mommy’s stuff, and then, in the later part of life she can start watching Daddy’s stuff.

Right, she can’t watch anything that you do!  (Laughs) So, basically forget that!

ERIC:  (Laughs) Yep!

Check out the trailer for 1 Night in San Diego below.  Then share your thoughts on Eric’s current role on The Bay, if you hope he wins a Tony to go with his Daytime Emmy, the six degrees of separation between him, Elizabeth Gillies and his wife, and that the All My Children reboot considered making the character of AJ Chandler gay via the comment section below.

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Days Of Our Lives

Peter Reckell Reflects On His Time As DAYS Iconic Bo Brady, Life In New Zealand & Christmas Music Project

Last week, Days of our Lives  turned 55-years young, and the historic long-running NBC daytime drama series has been home to some of the most memorable stars and characters of the soap opera genre, perhaps none more so than anti-hero Bo Brady played by Peter Reckell.

Reckell who appeared on the show for several runs that lasted over four decades, premiered as Bo back in 1983.  He then stayed through 1987, came back from 1990 to 1992, again from 1995 to 2012, and back again in 2015 during DAYS 50th anniversary and to wrap his run as Bo, when the character was killed-off, after Reckell made it clear that he wanted to give the audience closure for the character.  He later made another return in 2016 to help the character of Hope (Kristian Alfonso) move on with her life.  Hard to believe for all of those heart-tugging performances, Peter was nominated only once for a Daytime Emmy.

Photo: JPI

In this candid, deeply personal and enlightening new interview for the Michael Fairman Channel on You Tube, Reckell opens up as to: what led to many of the decisions he made throughout his time as Bo, how he helped craft the role from the start, the accident that almost took his life, how he handled all the fame that came his way as part of the Bo and Hope supercouple pairing, and how two women in the cast; the late Frances Reid (Alice) and Peggy McCay (Caroline) made lasting impressions on him that he will carrying with him for the rest of his life.

Photo: JPI

What would Peter say if somehow DAYS wanted him back and Bo was actually alive and well?  Find out as Peter weighs-in and wishes his former show a happy anniversary  In addition, he even shares how he felt when Robert Kelker-Kelly took over the role of Bo when he decided to leave the show at one point, and his time playing Johnny on primetime’s Knots Landing.

Photo: JPI

Reckell has moved his family to New Zealand, and this conversation was conducted from his home.  Peter is married to singer/songwriter/producer Kelly Moneymaker and the couple have a daughter, Loden.   It was not wanting to miss the moments of his daughter’s life growing up that has been much of the impetus for some of Peter’s career choices.

Photo: BlueAeris

With Christmastime approaching, Kelly and Peter are part of a brand new Christmas LP entitled Joy.  The album is now available for download on Spotify, Apple Music and major music streaming platforms.

In an exclusive during the interview, we give fans a sneak peek of Peter’s new music video for “Under the Mistletoe”, the song he sings that appears on Joy, which was written by his wife.  For more on the album project visit BlueAegis.com

Photo: BlueAegis

Now, check out the interview with Peter direct from New Zealand below! Then share your thoughts on Peter, Bo, and more via the comment section.

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B&B’s Matthew Atkinson chats with Michael Fairman about the wild ride of the Thomas/Hope Mamnequin storyline currently on The Bold and the Beautiful.Leave A Comment

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