Outstanding Younger Performer category killed off by the Daytime Emmys

Posted Thursday, February 01, 2024 11:00 AM
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All good things must come to an end. After 38 years, the Daytime Emmys has announced that it will no longer offer a category specifically for younger performers.

The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS) has announced that it is making several key changes to the Daytime Emmys competition. Chief among those changes is the announcement that the Outstanding Younger Performer category has been eliminated.

"Programming is always changing, and NATAS continues to adapt its competition rules to reflect these shifts in the television landscape," said Adam Sharp, President of NATAS. "We're looking forward to gathering again at the 51st Daytime Emmys to celebrate all the nominees and the entertaining and enlightening programs they create."

No single Daytime Emmys category has undergone more changes in the past several years than the Younger Performer category.

For the 12th Annual Daytime Emmys in 1985, NATAS established two categories to honor younger performers that might not have fallen in the Lead or Supporting acting categories. At the time, the category honoring male performers was called Outstanding Young Man and the categories for actresses was Outstanding Ingénue. The first winners that year were Brian Bloom (Dusty Donovan, As the World Turns) and Tracey E. Bregman (Lauren Fenmore, The Young and the Restless).

The categories were immediately met with controversy due to the varying ages of the performers nominated -­ Bloom was just 15, but other nominees were well into their 20s. Eventually the category received a more definitive entrant qualification: nominees had to be under the age of 25.

In 1989, the Outstanding Ingénue was renamed to Outstanding Juvenile Female

The categories were eventually renamed to Outstanding Younger Actor and Outstanding Younger Actress in 1991 and kept that name for nearly 30 years. In 2019, NATAS announced that due to a shrinking number of eligible performers, the Younger Actor and Younger Actress categories would be merged into the gender-neutral Outstanding Younger Performer category.

Olivia Rose Keegan (Claire Brady, Days of our Lives) became the first winner in the new category in 2020.

In 2021, the age for eligibility was lowered to 21, and in 2022, it dropped again to 18.

Though it was unknown at the time, 2023's winner, Eden McCoy (Josslyn Jacks, General Hospital), would be the final winner in the Younger Performer category. There were just three eligible nominees in 2023.

Over the 38 years that the categories honoring younger performers were in existence, Days of our Lives and Guiding Light won the most Younger Actor trophies with seven each. General Hospital picked up the most Younger Actress wins with nine, including the final win in the category by Hayley Erin (Kiki Jerome, General Hospital).

Other notable winners have included: Julianne Moore (Sabrina Hughes and Frannie Hughes, As the World Turns) in 1988, Kristoff St. John (Neil Winters, The Young and the Restless) in 1992, Sarah Michelle Gellar (Kendall Hart, All My Children) in 1995, and three-time winner Jonathan Jackson (Lucky Spencer, General Hospital).

While there will no longer be categories specifically designated for younger performers, NATAS made note that "Younger Performers remain eligible to enter Lead, Supporting, or Guest categories."

Nominations for the 51st Annual Daytime Emmys will be announced the week of April 15, 2024. Details on a ceremony date will be made in the coming weeks.

To check out a listing of all of the winners in these categories, please visit Soap Central's Daytime Emmys Archives.

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