This year's Outstanding Writing Team win featured a couple of full-circle moments that fans might not have known about. The award was presented by Ted King, a multi-soap vet who won his first Daytime Emmy last week in the Outstanding Guest Performer category. As King opened the envelope to announce the winner, he smiled and remarked, "This man used to write beautiful storyline for me."
That man was Days of our Lives head writer Ron Carlivati, who had previously served as head writer of One Life to Live when King played Tomas Delgado.
Carlivati took the stage and thanked NBC execs' "supportive and enthusiastic" support as well as the support at Peacock, the exclusive streaming home of DAYS and its Emmy-nominated spinoff Beyond Salem.
Carlivati also thanked the "amazing [and] talented cast and crew, especially Bill Hayes, our 97-year old cast member who let us put glowing contact lenses in his eyes so the devil could come back to Salem and possess Marlena." Carlivati dedicated the win to "friend and colleague Betsy Snyder" who passed away following a brief illness last year. "We love you, and we miss you every day," Carlivati shared.
The show's other full circle moment involved a member of its writing team, Jamey Giddens, who earned his first Daytime Emmy. Giddens, a life-long soap opera fan, previously shared his love of soaps on the Daytime Confidential podcast and web site.
Asked backstage if he feared that submitting both Days of our Lives and its spinoff Beyond Salem for Emmy consideration would cancel each other out, Carlivati shared that he had spoken to NATAS about that very issue.
"I talked to people at NATAS to confirm that we could submit both, and I said, 'Can we cancel each other out?' and he said, 'No, each show is judged on its merit, so, it's not like you're voting for Beyond Salem over Days of our Lives,'" he said.
Carlivati also discussed how a tweet brought Jackée Harry to the show.
"The way it happened was over a year ago, or two years ago probably now, I saw her live tweeting, it was like the American Music Awards or the Grammys or something, and she said that, who was it? Bonnie Raitt and Maggie Horton, we were seeing them in the same room at the same time or something, because they look so alike," Carlivati recalled. "So, I sent something back to her, like, 'Come to Salem,' and then like a year later, we were bringing on the, you know, this family, the Carver family and bringing Chanel onto the show, I was like, 'What about Jackée for the mom?' And luckily it worked out, and it's been such a great addition to our show."
This was Days of our Lives' fourth writing win, its second under Carlivati.
Just like the Outstanding Writing category, the Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series category had a new entrant with Days of our Lives' Peacock spinoff Beyond Salem joining DAYS, General Hospital, and The Young and the Restless. Sadly, for the first time since 2009, The Bold and the Beautiful did not receive a nomination in this category.
For fans, it may be seen as easier to pick an acting winner than a winner in the directing category. What exactly goes into picking the episodes to submit for this category?
"We submitted a special sort of bottle episode that Phideaux Xavier here directed, featuring Nancy Lee Grahn, who's played Alexis Davis for many years at this point, and sort of her facing her past, her childhood trauma [can't hear] into therapy, as well as an episode that featured a production on our rooftop as well as some stairwell, we got to do some unusual stuff with that [where Peter fell down the stairs]," Allison Reames Smith said backstage.
"And he lived to tell about it, after two medical professionals on the scene pronouncing him dead," Phideaux Xavier joked.
Xavier then added that the "self-contained" episode involving Alexis "was a wonderful experience because it was a self-contained tale all taking place within one day. It also told the story, as Allison pointed out, of her childhood trauma that she hadn't ever really wanted to confront, and in that process, the writers were so generous to allow us to kind of personalize it for Nancy, and there was a scene that had been in the script but we all felt that it would be wonderful for her to be able to speak directly to her younger self. And it's the sort of thing where I'm pretty moved to tears when I read it, when I directed it, when I watch it; I think so many people, we're living life so quickly, we don't get a chance to reflect on what we've gone through and to be able to take time out of time and really show a person coming to terms with abuse, and in her case, it was a privilege because I think members of our audience, and any audience, they may have similar experiences. A lot of people said that. Even though the specifics of that storyline were not exact to them, that they found themselves weeping just watching a person so vulnerable and catering, or consoling, this young woman, and the young girl that played the part was just incredible."
General Hospital's Directing Team also received the Emmy last year and the year before. The show has now won a lucky 13 Emmys for directing, dating back to its first win in 1981.»PART FIVE: LEAD ACTOR AND LEAD ACTRESS