The Daytime Emmy Awards are coming up June 19, and you can be sure that behind the laser-whitened smiles and designer duds, there will be plenty of daytime’s elite bidding the event a sad goodbye — and not just the stars whose shows have already been cancelled. They know that by summer 2012, the daytime landscape might very well be unrecognizable.
With ABC’s axing of the 41-year-old “All My Children” and 43-year-old “One Life to Live” in April — on the heels of CBS’s dismissal of “As the World Turns” and “Guiding Light” and NBC’s quelling of “Passions” — it certainly does appear the days of the soaps are numbered. Even ABC’s sole remaining daytime drama, “General Hospital,” is getting shoved out of its 3 o’clock timeslot in favor of Katie Couric’s forthcoming talk show next year.
Elsewhere, there are rumblings behind the scenes of current soaps getting little or no network love or promotional push these days. But Emmy nominations they have! “General Hospital” has 21, “All My Children” and “One Life to Live” got 13 and 12, respectively.
The loss of viewership for soaps is leading to unscripted “lifestyle” shows instead. If you’re into food, there’ll be “The Chew” on ABC, with familiar foodie faces such as Chef Mario Batali and Carla Hall. And if you’re into getting thin after all that food, there’s the network’s “The Revolution,” on which the love-yourself-and-look-great gang, including the likes of Tim Gunn, will be around to talk about being your best self, weight loss, clothes that flatter and all that me-licious stuff.
Because there aren’t enough of those kind of shows on cable and prime time.
The proliferation of niche chat also, of course, has everything to do with the other big news of daytime — the Who Will Replace Oprah Winfrey Derby. Couric and Andersoon Cooper have been busy assuring everyone that their respective forthcoming talk shows — his debuts in September — could never, ever replace her royal Oprahness. (We thinketh thou dost protest too much, guys.) Everyone who is already chatting it up on daytime, from Ellen DeGeneres to the gals on “The Talk” to Nate Berkus to Wendy Williams no doubt hopes to gain a few ratings points out of the deal as well.
Whatever, viewers who’ve enjoyed the daytime lineup as it’s been may well want to tune into the live-from-Las Vegas Emmycast on the 19th. For a lot of the familiar faces, it’s going to be a last call.
ON THE OTHER HAND: In case you haven’t heard — or haven’t already guessed — Oprah is going to be honored with the Crystal Pillar Award on the Daytime Emmy show (despite not doing that well in the Emmy noms department). Honestly, if Oprah deification and derriere-smooching were a disease, we’d all be dead by now.
ON THE OTHER HAND AGAIN: Daytime Emmy nominee Chandler Massey of NBC’s “Days Of Our Lives” is an example of a hot property coming our way on a soap. The handsome 20-year-old has the big-screen “16-Love” family-friendly romantic romp with Lindsey Shaw coming out later this summer. And speaking of coming out, there are rumblings galore that his Will Horton character on “Days” is getting a boyfriend.
“I’ve been reading and hearing things, too, but the funny thing is the actors are the last to know,” he tells us. There’s been talk and speculation around the set, in the makeup room, he says, but he insists, “I really don’t know.”
Massey does know how he’d feel about a “Days” gay storyline, which would be a first in the show’s 45-year history. “It’s kind of got me excited. If I had the opportunity to tackle this storyline, I would be absolutely thrilled. It would be a challenge creatively for me, a fun thing to play, an amazing opportunity.”
Massey wants to do more movies, not surprisingly, but notes, “I’m very lucky and very grateful to be on ‘Days,’ and I’ll stay with them as long as they’ll have me, for the duration of my contract.”
MEANWHILE: Massey, who lets us know that he keeps his hunky physique red carpet ready with some help from the Sunfare food delivery service, has special plans for the Daytime Emmy Awards. “I’m flying my mom out from Georgia and she’s going to be my date,” he says. “Both my dad and my grandfather are coming to Vegas as well for the awards, and to have some fun and play some slots.”