Daytime Emmy debacle: Emmy wins taken from two fan favorite actresses

Posted Friday, June 1, 2018 5:22:39 PM
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There has been a heartbreaking and gut-wrenching footnote to this year's Daytime Emmys. DAYS fave Patrika Darbo, who'd been awarded an Emmy for her work on The Bay, has been stripped of her Emmy. And that's just one of the head-spinning twists.

The 45th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards were handed out more than a month ago. You've no doubt seen our comprehensive coverage of the glitz and glamor, the winners and the nominees, and, of course, the Red Carpet video interviews. (If for some reason you have not, you can rectify that by visiting our 2018 Emmy coverage here.)

Just when you thought it was time to shift your attention toward predicting which performers might get nominated for Daytime Emmys next year comes... well, something that will undoubtedly mar an otherwise wildly successful ceremony. One Daytime Emmy winner has been stripped of her win, two performers have had their nominations taken away from them, and another actress was told that she won -- but later had to be told that she didn't really win.

Think of it as an anti-Oprah moment. You don't get an Emmy! You don't get an Emmy! Nobody gets an Emmy!

Exactly what happened is a bit of convoluted mess -- and you can read the full explanation with its twists, turns, and contradictions in an article in Variety -- but here's a bite-sized recap of everything that happened.

On April 27, Patrika Darbo was announced as the winner of the Outstanding Guest Performer in a Digital Daytime Drama Series for her work in the multiple-Emmy-winning series The Bay. Two days before the Creative Arts ceremony, NATAS was notified that there were rule violations among some of the nominees. Darbo, according to the rules, should not have been eligible in the Guest Performer category because she had appeared in a previous season of The Bay, which meant she could not be considered a "Guest Performer."

"[T]his has really broken my heart," Darbo told Variety.

Gregori J Martin, the creator/executive producer/head writer of The Bay told Variety that he takes "responsibility for not seeing the note above the submission details" that led to Darbo being submitted in the incorrect category.

When it was learned that Darbo was ineligible, NATAS decided that the Emmy should then be given to the second-place finisher: Anacostia's Jennifer Bassey (ex-Marian Colby, All My Children). NATAS contacted Anthony Anderson, the creator and executive producer of Anacostia, who phoned Bassey to tell her the good news. As you might expect, Bassey was elated to have finally won a Daytime Emmy. She had previously been nominated in 1999 in the Outstanding Supporting Actress category for her work on AMC.

NATAS was then alerted that Bassey's submission, too, had not followed the category guidelines. Her reel contained material from two episodes instead of the mandated one. NATAS again contacted Anderson who had the uneviable task of contacting Bassey to tell her that she would not be getting an Emmy, after all.

"She broke down," Anderson said. "It was unbearable to listen to."

"I am shocked and truly disappointed that [NATAS] has handled their errors this way," Bassey told Variety. "I hope that no other actors have to share this experience ever again."

It would seem that a lot of folks missed the "one episode" rule, as multiple entrants didn't follow the rules. It is believed that because most of the other Digital Series categories allowed material from multiple episodes, some web series producers also thought the Guest Performer category followed suit. As a result, NATAS has made the decision to not award the Daytime Emmy to anyone.

In an original version of the Variety article, it was incorrectly stated that Darbo was ruled ineligible because of the episode count in her reel. While true that Darbo's reel did contain more than one episode, Soap Central was told that that was not a factor, and Darbo was ruled ineligible solely because she had appeared in a previous season of The Bay.

How did all of these violations slip past the Academy, and how did the Academy learn of them?

Michael Caruso, the executive producer of Ladies of the Lake, which was nominated for an Emmy this year, was the first to notice the violations and alert NATAS to the problems.

"I am not doing this for personal reasons," Caruso explained to Variety. "This is 100% about transparency, integrity, and a level playing field within the daytime competition, which has been lacking."

In a statement to Soap Central, the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS) explains, "The core mission of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences is to honor excellence in television. Serving that mission has involved making every effort to preserve the integrity and distinction of the Emmy® Award through more than 60 years of technological and industry change."

"Following the 45th Daytime Emmy Awards in Pasadena, California, on April 27th and 29th, NATAS received a credible report that some entrants' submissions in two categories may have been in violation of the published guidelines for the competition. NATAS immediately commissioned a thorough internal investigation and determined that Patrika Darbo and Thomas Calabro, both of Amazon's The Bay, should have been deemed ineligible for consideration in Category 40 ("Outstanding Guest Performer in a Digital Daytime Drama Series") as they had each appeared in a prior season of the program.

"While the Daytime judges found each performance worthy of distinction, and the investigation determined that neither performer was involved in the selection of categories in which their performances were submitted, prior-season appearances are nonetheless a disqualifying violation of the guidelines for the category. Ms. Darbo's Daytime Emmy Award and nomination and Mr. Calabro's nomination have been withdrawn. Other nominations in the category will remain, but no Emmy Award will be presented in the category this year. Ms. Darbo has been nominated previously for a Daytime Emmy Award and was recognized with a Primetime Emmy Award in 2016.

"NATAS also investigated whether entrants in this or other categories violated guidelines limiting the number of program episodes from which submitted excerpts could be drawn. The questioned materials were often fleeting, representing only a single line of dialogue, and their inclusion was deemed not to have impacted the outcome of the competition. Further, in retrospect, the guidelines were not sufficiently reflective of current digital distribution trends, causing ambiguity regarding the submissions' qualification. The questioned entries will not be penalized for this ambiguity, and the guidelines will be updated for future competitions."

UPDATE (June 4, 2018): Jennifer Bassey and Patrika Darbo took to Twitter to thank friends, colleagues, and fans for their support during this extremely trying time. Fans' messages ranged from statements of support -- "My heart is broken for the both of you! It's completely unfair! Sending you both support and so much love!" -- to those critical of the process -- "The whole thing was handled poorly. You both deserved better. I hope this leads to NATAS overhauling and clarifying the submission process that caused confusion, but also the voting process that certain shows have abused for years. It's not right."

"@patrikadarbo & I just spoke, we are deeply upset with the recent decisions made by the TV academy," Bassey wrote. "We want to thank all of our loyal fans & friends for their support & words of encouragement."

Darbo, who is vacationing in Austria, took time out of touring Vienna to respond to tweets from fans.

"Soooo appreciate all the love and support #Emmy #womensupportingwomen #actorslife," Darbo wrote.

Over the weekend, Heather Tom, who has won Emmys in the Lead, Supporting, and Younger Actress categories, weighed in on the Emmy mixup.

"I feel I have to address the absolute debacle of the #Emmys awarded in the digital categories this year particularly the fact @patrikadarbo &subsequently @JenniferBassey1 (2women)lost their emmys while others who also had violations(men) didn't, Tom wrote. "TO BE CLEAR I'm NOT saying ANY1 should lose their Emmy-but seems to B a bit of a dbl standard that's if nothing else is seriously #tonedeaf. I wouldn't want to think that gender played a part in this, but it is hard to ignore. [I]t was repoted that @TheEmmys didnt by want 2penalize 'innocent' actors-somehow suggesting that @patrikadarbo and @JenniferBassey1 were not."

What do you think of how this matter was handled? Do you think there was a more equitable solution? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.

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