For one reason or another, getting a lot of Emmy nominations is not always a blessing. In years past, the show with the most nominations has had a hard time winning the evening's top prize: Outstanding Drama Series. This year, ATWT de-whammied the jinx.
The show's first win came as a surprise. Lesli Kay (Molly) - labeled a long shot to win the Supporting Actress category - was given her very first Emmy award. Even Kay admitted that she thought co-star Maura West (Carly) would take home the prize.
The show suffered a series of setbacks in the Younger Actor and Younger Actress categories as performers from The Bold and the Beautiful won both awards.
Things picked up again with a victory for Hogan Sheffer and the rest of ATWT's writing team in the Writing Team category. Sheffer has been credited with turning the show around, but the top scribe refuses to take all the credit. Sheffer didn't expect to win the Emmy this year. In fact, he had money bet against it. "I bet Martha Byrne $200 [that AMC would win]," Sheffer admitted.
Not only did Byrne win $200 from Sheffer, but she also won the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress. The win was Byrne's first in 14 years.
The good news is that in addition to the four technical wins handed out the week before, ATWT amassed 8 Emmy wins this year. That number tied the record set by General Hospital in 1999 for most wins in a single year.
Hogan Sheffer spoke at great lengths about As The World Turns' 45-year history. He remained adamant that the show would continue to mine its history as well as utilize its veteran performers. "Right now," said Sheffer, "we're writing story for November and all the veterans will somehow be involved."
Lesli Kay had unwittingly caused a bit of an uproar during her discussion with the media about how ATWT had gotten so many Emmy nominations this year. She explained that "like elementary school" the entire cast and crew had been instructed to bring their Emmy voting sheets to the studio on a set date. That way, she said, the show could guarantee that everyone who was eligible to vote was actually voting. In her enthusiasm, she misspoke, saying that show executives had voted for anyone who did not feel the need to vote. Later, executive producer Christopher Goutman explained that the show had provided mailing services (presumably stamps) to help make the voting process easier for its cast and crew.
|Jon and Kelley Menighan|
Just moments after eliciting uproarious laughter from the media with jokes about her husband, Martha Byrne offered one of the most philosophical observations of the night. It had been hinted that former ATWT top scribe Douglas Marland had "haunted" the show for years, a statement that seemingly attributes ATWT's lack of nominations of the past eight or so years. "He finally let our show go. We always felt like he didn't want anybody else to succeed at his show," Byrne said. Byrne added that Hogan Sheffer's respect for the show's history may have helped Marland find peace. "Maybe Douglas thought, 'Okay, you're respecting me now. Thank you. I can move on.'"