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Days Of Our Lives

What Went On Behind The Scenes That Caused The Daytime Emmys To Not Be Televised This Year!

Courtesy/NATAS

Courtesy/NATAS

Soap fans anxiously awaited to find out who of their favorites made the annual and only kudofest that honors the genre … the Daytime Emmys.   Now in its 43rd year, the nominations were revealed on Thursday.  But with them game disheartening intel from NATAS … that try as hard as they might once again the ceremonies will not be televised.

This comes after a very successful 42nd annual Daytime Emmy campaign which aired on Pop that had the broadcast being restored to more of what viewers had come to expect from the Emmy telecast.

That included solid production values and segments, and starting to restore the glamour and prestige back to the event by having the ceremonies from the historic Warner Brothers Lot soundstages, and more.  The production team in charge of that, Michael Levitt Productions, is back on board this year televisied ceremony, or not.

So while On-Air On-Soaps had NATAS’ Sr. VP  Daytime Emmy Awards David Michaels as one of our special in-studio guest co-hosts on Soap Nation Live! with Michael Fairman Daytime Emmy nominations special last night (the archive and rebroadcast to be available later today), in which he addressed the reason the TV deal fell through at the last minute, shortly before the broadcast, Michaels spole with TV Insider in which he shared and gave some clarity of what went down behind the scenes.

Michaels on what happened with POP ( the network set to air the Emmys for the second year in a row): “Pop has been our champion and was absolutely willing to air the awards again but there was a money issue. Last year, NATAS paid for the entire production and we just can’t do that again. We’re a non-profit. Nobody could have made a greater effort to try to work a deal than [NATAS president] Bob Mauro, but we fell short on the money and our board decided not to go ahead with [a telecast] this year.”

Michaels on if this all was a last-minute about face:  “It was down to the wire. It was down to yesterday! I have nothing but praise for everybody at Pop, especially (president) Brad Schwartz. I will also tell you that we already have two bites for airing the 2017 awards, so this isn’t like the Daytime Emmys will never be on TV anymore. We had a record number of entries and a record number of judges this year. This thing is alive and thriving. We love the people of the daytime community and they love us. We intend to keep on honoring them forever.

Michaels went on to say their will be a lot of red carpet activity that he hopes to have the fans enjoy in one form or the other.  A streaming ceremony online is being looked into as well.

In yesterday’s press release containing the Daytime Emmy nominations, NATAS President Bob Mauro related: “After months of negotiations to find show sponsorship, the NATAS Executive Board has decided that the current climate for awards shows prohibits the possibility of a telecast this year.”

So, what do you think about the decision made by the Board of Directors at NATAS? Do you hope the show will be streamed online, or someone steps up with the additional monies needed at the last minute to secure a broadcast?  Being the only award show that honors this day-part, it’s a shame the struggles this award and those who work tirelessly to try to make the broadcast happen have run into such immovable walls.

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Elizabeth
Guest
Elizabeth

This is such a huge disappointment to me. Once again, the entertainment industry thinks that the daytime audience are fat, lazy housewives (or couch potatoes) who don’t deserve much consideration. I understand that in show business, the business part is equally important to the show part, but come on…NATAS can’t air ONE show all year for the daytime community?! While NATAS is putting forward the thought of a 2017 show, it doesn’t mean a thing for this year. I am a fan of Tony Geary, and this will probably be my last time to see him… I watch 3 soaps… Read more »

Tammy Kreiss
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Tammy Kreiss

It’s called sponsors, & not for nothing, but if you really wanted them to air you would have found a way! I say we have the awards at Laura Wright’s vineyard, and we have a huge pajama party! Money saved on gowns nobody will see, can be used to let Pop or CBS air them next yr! #selfish

Theadora
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Theadora

It seems to me that ABC, NBC and CBS, whose daytime shows are all being honored, should pony up and pay for this show to be aired live on POP. Otherwise, it just proves what everyone already thinks, that ABC, NBC and CBS could care less about the viewers and their support of their shows.

Maureen Lynch
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Maureen Lynch

Agreed

Llanviewer717
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Llanviewer717

You said it Theadora.

I love gh
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I love gh

Absolutely – or televise it during the daytime slot of their show.

Ginger
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Ginger

It’s not that they wouldn’t pay (they would) but the heart breaking reality is there’s not enough soap or daytime fans left to watch the show in large enough numbers for the money to be well spent. Since the devastating affects of the 2008 writers strike, networks have cut back financially in all areas, not just daytime. If the daytime Emmys were watched at least 5 million people, the networks would still air the award shows. But 700k, 900k total audience is not s number the networks can make financially work. If the 700k or so fans left of daytime… Read more »

Rodd
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Rodd

Interesting thought, Ginger.

Mo
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Mo

Why is it that the primetime Emmys are always televised, but not so with the daytime Emmys?

Tivette
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Tivette

I was thinking why not just an Emmy Awards show covering Day AND Primetime? It’s all TV after all! Hello?!

Mary SF
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Mary SF

ITA , but the truth is there isn’t enough time– the primetime Emmy awards have so many categories if they added all the Daytime ones, and we have to accept that includes all the talk, game, cooking and children’s shows as well as soaps, the broadcast will be too long—

Ginger
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Ginger

Because the prime Emmys still can bring in a large audience!

KansasGuest
Guest
KansasGuest

The cost for the Primetime Emmy show is usually offset by the revenue received from commercial airtime. Whatever network airs the PE’s is able to charge a lot of money for advertising during the show because companies want those primetime slots to reach viewers. The Daytime Emmys, in contrast, is not able to offset its costs for the network. Not enough viewers watch the DE’s for a network to justify charging high advertising rates. The network has to at least make back its cost to air the show. If they feel like they are losing $, the either won’t air… Read more »

Mo
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Mo

PE should help subsidize the DE.

KansasGuest
Guest
KansasGuest

Why? In entertainment corporations, the tv division usually splits the management of daytime & primetime. Each is responsible for their own revenue. If you worked in a company that produced two different products, why would the more successful division feel the need to “give away” money to the less successful one for an event that has no financial benefit? Their viewers aren’t the same; there isn’t even a chance for cross promotion from a daytime series to a nighttime one. Entertainment isn’t a charity, and this event is not as important as keeping the soaps on air on a daily… Read more »

Sprite
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Sprite

Can’t someone just set up a camera and stream it live online? I’d rather forego expensive production values than not see the event at all. And I’m sure some handy dandy film students would do it well and pro bono for the credit alone.

Why is it we can preempt soaps for basketball and every ridiculous local news “breaking story” but we can’t squeeze in an hour or two to celebrate our shows? Someone should start a GoFundMe page.

Tay
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Tay

Them doing a GoFundMe or Kickstarter would actually be a good idea. Think of the cool perks they could offer fans!

Peggy
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Peggy

Not happy with this and especially for all the hard-working daytime casts and crews not to get their special night. No respect for daytime dramas nor for their viewers.

lou piikes
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lou piikes

Well blame the viewers for not watching the DaytIme Emmys and turning their backs to DaytIme Television.

Mary SF
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Mary SF

They still get their special nights, the dinner and the award show will happen it just will not be broadcast to the general public to view. All the hard working people are still going get their awards and perhaps they can all relax and have a better time knowing the general public isn’t watching them at home.

Mister Media
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Mister Media

The show needs to be restructured and considerably shortened, with greater emphasis on the Daytime Drama acting categories and less time devoted to comedy bits and musical numbers. Non soap opera categories should all be grouped together either at the beginning or the end. Why is it so hard to treat daytime with the respect it merits and the actors with the dignity they deserve?

James
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James

Daytime drama and other genres that matter, including talk, news, information/feature/lifestyle, and children’s programming.

Sheila
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Sheila

I am not able to see it in Canada unless it is live streamed like when Kathy Griffin hosted it two years ago. That whole show was ruined by her filthy mouth and by the video pops who totally ruined the red carpet. I think sponsors took a good look at that and any reputable one said hell no!! If NATAS paid for the next year on the pop ch, which is not available in Canada, and yet were still unable to woo sponsors…The Daytime Emmys is tanking.

Marge
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Marge

It’s always about MONEY!!!!! Well money will not buy you happiness but a soap award show can. I would love to talk directly to the person that said No to this not being on TV. Show him my world and how money does not buy everything. Come on email me and lets set up a fact to face meeting. I will even buy my own airline ticket to have a long talk with you. Marge R

Lou Piikes
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Lou Piikes

Daytime serials as we once knew them are no longer a viable business model. Our soaps cost too much too produce and viewership has dwindled tremendously. I blame the networks because they did nothing to preserve the genre for the next generation.

su0000
Guest
su0000

The fact is;
Daytime tv is struggling.
In the near future daytime tv will be cheap reruns of junk and infomercials .
Nobody will be investing in the daytime programing or in the soaps.

The loss of the daytime Emmy’s speaks volumes. It is the beginning of the end.

Daytime tv will have need to go to pay tv..
Daytime tv is becoming an endangered species ..

su0000
Guest
su0000

Their should be soap opera awards, just the soaps..
It would less expensive and very doable..

The Daytime Emmy’s awards include every talk show and game show and cooking show.
I can see why nobody would want to invest in an award ceremony for them. Most are horrible slot fillers.
But-
the soaps stand alone and have a cast and crew of 100’s..

Airing the ” Soap Opera ” Emmy’s would be the way to go..

Timmm
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Timmm

I agree, just have a dinner with the soap community, let Michael Fairman and Laura Wright host, show long clips of the nominees and then hand out the awards. I dont care about The Price is Right or Steve ‘freakin’ Harvey!

James
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James

It would work like the British Soap Awards in the UK if at least only one broadcaster will be willingly responsible for producing the show (like ITV has for the BSA’s). The fans will vote for their favorites to win.

I think the big draw would be to include primetime soaps as well so it would be a true soap event.

Timmm
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Timmm

Daytime will probably go in the same direction as Saturday night TV. [Ghost town!]

Mo
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Mo

We don’t need a lot of the stuff we had last year (Tyra, Steve), just have a podium, microphone, we see nominees’ clips, someone announces winners, they accept award, and give short speech. Then give out next award and so on. I don’t need a big production.

Trudy
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Trudy

The Screen Actors Guild does this for their awards ceremony. I actually prefer it to the Oscars and other awards shows with endless comedy bits that rarely work, musical numbers, etc. It puts the focus on the nominees and their work, which is why I tune in. Well, and the fashion, of course. Lol.

Bonnie
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Bonnie

Cut the production values, just do the awards, forget the extras. If nothing it should be easy to “live stream”

Linda
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Linda

Remember when the Daytime Emmys were broadcast in the afternoon and rotated from network to network? Why can’t that happen in the 21st century. ABC is constantly preempting GH, just recently for Nancy Reagan’s funeral, so why not preempt their daytime schedule for the Daytime Emmys. ABC could take a step towards making amends to the soap fans if the air the Daytime Emmys. What’s the problem?

lou piikes
Guest
lou piikes

ABC doesn’t owe a handful of DaytIme fans nada. We’re just a blip on their radar screens.

Sprite
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Sprite

That’s only if you’re thinking from a soap perspective. The Daytime Emmy nominations list is – OMG – miles long, covering everything from children’s programming to talk shows to on-air promotions, etc. If every single nominee donated a dollar for the production, it would outshine the damn Oscars. REALLY.

Donna
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Donna

Ridiculous these actors in daytime produce work 5 days a week 52 weeks a year . They deserve to have their award presented to them on tv. SMH DISGUSTED .

Margaret
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Margaret

Why can’t each of the networks CBS, NBC,ABC) pool the money needed to televise the Emmy’s. They are THEIR products!

Paula
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Paula

It is really sad that the daytime Emmy are not being broadcast. If all the other awards show can be broadcast Sivan this one. Daytime fans are once again being robbed of an award shiw and so are the actors that provide us with tv to watch and deserve to have there award show to air and also for there fans. I really don’t thinks that you tried hard enough to get vote award on air as if you did you have found a way and money to air the daytime Emmy awards. Very disappointing.

Sara Lee Macdonald
Guest
Sara Lee Macdonald

Here is my idea! Have them live stream via You Tube.Since NATAS is a not for profit organization they should be able to work out funding. Lots of churches livestream every day and week. Also maybe all the Emmys should be shown together and not separate telecasts. Here is another idea: Put it on PBS and class up the event and make a pledge to support public television. Just a few thoughts.

Tina Gray
Guest
Tina Gray

More of the same………….. Daytime not getting the respect it deserves.

su0000
Guest
su0000

Hi Tina..
There are many crappy daytime shows that don’t deserve respect.. lol
The soaps are a whole different thing they have a cast and crews of 100’s and 100’s.

IF- they had only Soap Opera awards, the Soap Opera Emmy awards it would be quite inexpensive and way less time and easily done.

I vote for; Soap Opera Emmy’s .. (just for the soaps)

Tina Gray
Guest
Tina Gray

You are soooo right su0000. It’s all about respect…………… That’s what I said in this PSA………… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vvHFMSF-RQY

su0000
Guest
su0000

hi Tina..
I felt your passion for the soaps !!
Dark Shadows!! wow you saw the real happening, the excitement of hurrying home from school to watch it !
I saw it on disc .. My first binge watch, so to say. I could not stop watching, I always need just one more!
We’re down to 4 soaps. I find that sad and frightening when looking ahead 5 years.
When there is no money or interest to producing daytime emmy’s well, that is not a good sign as to what is happening to our soaps 🙁

Cheryl
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Cheryl

Really????? This is so unfair. There may only be 4 soaps on air, however, they are watched and loved!!!!! At the very least can You Please Stream the show online?????

Brett
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Brett

It sounds like they don’t even plan to film it, let alone stream it! If we’re lucky someone in the audience might video some parts on their cell phone and put them on youtube.

Rapids
Guest
Rapids

This article explains why the awards were televised last year. The academy paid for it. There is no commercial interest in daytime awards. There is relatively little interest in soaps compare to twenty years ago and four shows are limping along. Will there be four shows in a few years? I doubt it.
Truthfully if there are only four soaps on the air their award show is meaningless. It is laughable all four soaps are nominated in many categories.
This is a dose of reality for daytime drama.

Kay
Guest
Kay

It is a shame, that these talented actors , which work hard 10-14 hours a day. 5 days a week, for 52 weeks. But never get the chance to be awarded for it. Every show in daytime fight for that opportunity to be picked as the best . Soap, best actor, best talk show, best new show . Then when it comes down to being able to be shown on tv. No one wants to air the award show. Shame on you guys. You want daytime tv. To do good, you want us to watch TV. You want us to… Read more »

Timmm
Guest
Timmm

I’ll cut through the bullshit for everyone here, IF there were money to be made, the Daytime Emmys would be televised!

kathy
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kathy

Thanks for cutting through the bullshit I agree.:)

Timmm
Guest
Timmm

You got it kathy!

K Ross
Guest
K Ross

I totally agree. I feel bad for the actors that get cheated out of their recognition.
They have a award show for everything, very disrespectful of the soap stars and the fans.
I remember when they would put on a good show.
It is total b.s.

Timmm
Guest
Timmm

The only benefit is if Hunter King wins again we dont have to see it BUT if Finola Hughes wins I cannot wait to see her million dollar smile!

Mellie
Guest
Mellie

I work 50 hours a week. I’m not recognized with an awards show. These arguments are ridiculous. There are only FOUR soaps left and all FOUR are nominited for best drama. This show has ZERO credibility.

Benjamant
Guest
Benjamant

Finally someone voices what I have been thinking all day. It’s a true shame that the families friends and fans will not see their favorites speak about their wins. The networks only acknowledge this wonderful genre when it convenient or to their advantage. Take a look at the Article How They Ended in the current SOD most definitely depicts the blood baths of the 1990s and 2000s.

su0000
Guest
su0000

0ohh gee..
Ron Carlivati, on his twitter is congratulating everyone…
((boowoo I could just cry , missing him..

Peggy
Guest
Peggy

All but one, Su, all but one.

su0000
Guest
su0000

yes.. all but poor Tony lol
goes to show the huge problem he was to Ron during his last 8 months..

Peggy
Guest
Peggy

Wanted to see him congratulate “the actor”.

Dar
Guest
Dar

Just air the daytime emmys, their are still many loyal fans out there like me. Such an injustice to these fabulous actors & actresses!!!

GH Fan
Guest
GH Fan

I wish SAG Union would fight for daytime members. I would settle for acknowledging the nominees. Come on Screen Acting Guild you represent ALL actors find a way air Daytime Enmys for your members. Everyone card carrying SAG member deserves to be recognized at an award ceremony!!

reen
Guest
reen

They are getting a ceremony with awards, it’s just not going to be televised. In order for a network to televise the awards, they would need advertisers to pay for commercial airtime during the awards show. It appears as if the eyeballs weren’t large enough from prior shows to entice enough advertisers to bid for ad time. Hence, no live broadcast.

But at least those involved get a dinner and ceremony to celebrate their achievements- so that’s a plus for the daytime performers.

Peggy
Guest
Peggy

Ok, this may sound cray-cray but is there anyway Kelly and Michael would incorporate the awards into one of their shows- I know Kelly is on our side and part of us so just putting it out there with love and hope.

mark
Guest
mark

YouTube any daytime Emmy award show from the eighties and you are in for some great fun, campy glamour and Kim Zimmer winning her 12th award and crying and carrying on and mascara running everywhere. wish we could get back to fun days like that.

Peggy
Guest
Peggy

Yes– I love watching Susan Lucci on her win and Shemar Moore and the audience going wild. So fun and exciting.

Mary SF
Guest
Mary SF

Frankly all award shows are struggling to keep the audience they once had, even the Oscars, the granddaddy of all award shows numbers have declined over the years. I suspect in the course of time, each of these award shows will be dropped by all broadcasters– the Daytime Emmy Awards being the low rung of the ladder is like the canary in the coal mine– they are showing distress first,but eventually all award shows will have the same fate. However, with all the smartphones out there I am sure there will be enough stuff out there on social media the… Read more »

Peggy
Guest
Peggy

I listened to -I guess it is called a podcast like Michael Fairman does- it was with Louise Shaffer an actress from Ryan’s Hope and she was on several soaps, also wrote for several and a novelist- she made some excellent points about how producers have to target demographics and so on- it made me see the other side I guess that I haven’t and it was also great to hear her stories of doing live soap and if you Google her name you can see a link to the interview – I believe it was in 2011. I wish… Read more »

Peggy
Guest
Peggy

For those of us that have been watching for decades- and decades- this interview-which I so wish Mr. Fairman would bring her on his show as what I take away is I might as well stop complaining because the soaps will not return to the glory days and in the glory days they had more autonomy and were left alone to tell their stories- she talks about the writers on Edge of Night and how Ryan’s Hope brought in the new rich family to compete and gain in the demographics. It is a telephone interview almost 2 hours long. So… Read more »

Peggy
Guest
Peggy

The interview was right after AMC OLTL cancelled and she spoke of the Prospect Park deal and how if it worked would be great as then there would be a venue for our stories that are not demographic dictated and could focus on the story and I would pay to watch a new soap on HULU or Netflix or Amazon that did this.

Frank
Guest
Frank

Rae Woodard was one of my all-time favs and she tells Clare Labine how she wanted her character to be and later was freaked out that she had described a sociopath!! I would love to see her back on daytime and thanks that is a great interview, albeit long.

Peggy
Guest
Peggy

Yes!! Took pause at her being a sociopath myself! So love her and want to see her as a matriarch or sociopath or another split personality.

Peggy
Guest
Peggy

Why did the Prospect Park deal flop? Is it because soap fans were not tuning in for the episodes on-line? It seemed like they sunk a lot of money into the project and so much buzz and then over with and lawsuits.

Sandy J.
Guest
Sandy J.

There were many great ideas proposed by earlier posters, as well as relevant questions. What I’ve been wondering in the past couple of years is: since the soaps and the majority of other daytime genres are broadcast on the ‘regular’ networks, i.e. ABC, CBS, NBC, and they are the beneficiaries of the advertising dollars, shouldn’t it be up to these companies to put the money into live broadcasting on their own channels? They can rotate the broadcasts so each network only has to put their money out once every 3 years. If the shows are good enough to be broadcast… Read more »

Lou Piikes
Guest
Lou Piikes

Sprite^^^^ The Prime-time Emmy’s and the Oscars don’t need a fund raiser to stay relevant.

Richard Hammer
Guest
Richard Hammer

I think this is all a bunch a hooey. Who owns POP? Lionsgate and CBS. Who announced the nominations on TV? They were announced on The Talk a CBS daytime show starring Julie Chen. Who is Julie’s husband? Les Moonves, COO of CBS. POP airs the second broadcast run of Y&R and B&B, both CBS shows. Plus they air Days. CBS has lots of nominees competing for the Daytime Emmy, including The Talk, for which his wife has been nominated. Lionsgate has two time nominee Wendy Williams running in this year’s Emmy Race. Point is that both CBS and Lionsgate… Read more »

clb
Guest
clb

It is really embarrassing that talented daytime actors will not get the chance to be awarded publicly for their performances last year. Shame on the networks for not wanting to showcase their daytime shows and talent during prime-time. And CBS is so quick to boast that they are No.1. We do not need Tyra or upscale stages and music. Just read the dang categories, showcase their talent in clips, award and accept. Unfortunately, I see the end of a great era: daytime dramas.

Days Of Our Lives

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

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

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

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

 

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

Photo: AfterForever

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

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

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

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

Where is your character within this?

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

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

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

Photo: AfterForever

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

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

Photo: AfterForever

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

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

Photo: AfterForever

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

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

Photo: AfterForever

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

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

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

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

KEVIN:  Hell yes!

Photo: JPI

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

Photo: AfterForever

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

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

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

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REPORT: Dan Feuerriegel is DAYS New EJ DiMera

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

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

Photo: DFeuerriegelIG

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

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

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

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

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

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Days Of Our Lives

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

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

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

Photo: TEarlyTwitter

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

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

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

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

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

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Airdates: 4-8-2021

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