This year's Outstanding Younger Actor field may have been one of the more eagerly anticipated categories -- if for no other reason than that it assured there would be a first-time Emmy winner on the night. None of the five nominees had previously been awarded an Emmy for their work and two of the nominees tallied their first ever nominations this year.
Chad Brannon (Zander Smith, General Hospital), nominated for just the second time this year, has since left the role that earned him this year's Emmy. Now that he is an Emmy winner, Brannon was asked if General Hospital execs will somehow find a way to lure him back to the show and resurrect his character.
"Oh, I'm dead, baby," Brannon cracked. "Dead, bagged, zipped up and I'm gone." Then following a brief pause, Brannon mused, "Actually, I don't know if you noticed, but my toe moved in the [body] bag."
Since leaving daytime television, Brannon has returned to school at Masters College where he is studying to pursue Christian Ministries. Brannon is also actively seeking work in primetime television.
Brannon also revealed that he has been approached by other soaps since leaving General Hospital.
"I've got a couple offers," Brannon revealed. "I am just so thankful that people want me to come to their show. It's humbling. Right now, though, I just want to see what primetime and film opportunities are out there."
Like their male counterparts, most of this year's Outstanding Younger Actress nominees had never before earned Emmy gold. The sole previous winner, Jennifer Finnigan (Bridget Forrester, The Bold and the Beautiful), had won the category the past two years.
The third time was again the charm for Finnigan, who won her third Emmy in her third consecutive nomination.
"My heart is pounding. I did not expect to win this. The other ladies in the category are so talented," Finnigan gushed in accepting her award.
In interviews prior to the Emmy ceremony, Finnigan said that she was surprised to have been nominated for an Emmy this year because she did not feel that her material was strong enough.
"I didn't have that extremely dramatic material to submit," Finnigan said of her Emmy reel. "So I sort of went the other direction and submitted a very, very subtle emotion. I thought the only way that I could possibly compete with that group of ladies was to go the other way."
During her acceptance speech, Finnigan thanked her father.
"I'm so glad you're with me and I'm so glad you're okay," Finnigan beamed. Backstage, Finnigan declined to offer more detail, saying simply that it had been a very rough year for both of her parents.
Finnigan did, however, reveal that her first Emmy met with a bit of misfortune.
"A couple years ago, I broke one -- the wings fell off," Finnigan grimaced. "I'm going to protect this one."
Never fear, however. The Emmy statuette does come with a warranty and Finnigan was able to have her Emmy restored.
Finnigan exited her role on The Bold and the Beautiful in January 2004 to focus on primetime television. Since that time, she has landed a role on the NBC drama "Crossing Jordan" and her sitcom pilot, "Crazy for You," has been picked up as a midseason replacement on NBC's fall schedule.
Finnigan becomes the first performer in any Daytime Emmy category to win three consecutive trophies.