Soapside: 's Guide to Daytime

BY Michael Fairman

July 02 2010 12:55 PM ET

I spent last weekend in Sin City, Las Vegas — where else would I be? The 37th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards marked the first time daytime soaps met slot machines and blackjack tables — where The Bold and the Beautiful’s ingenue Kim Matula (Hope Logan) could stand on the red carpet with the Blue Man Group. (You can see that moment Saturday on my Emmy microsite).

This year’s Emmys marked the first time the broadcast — which was saved from extinction by CBS and Associated Television International — wrapped the daytime genre around the theme of Vegas, in hopes of invigorating ailing ratings, which had been slipping for the last few years. Early reports are in, and the Nielsen numbers are up in total households from the last few years.

That said, many soap fans and followers of the genre were disappointed at the lack of clips of the nominated daytime soap opera performances and with the As the World Turns tribute package. At least there was one bright note for gay viewers of the ATWT package — it actually showed Luke and Noah kissing! And to answer many queries, no, I had nothing to do with the clip package this year, as I did last year for the now-infamously shortened Guiding Light tribute. As many know, I later put the full version online.

But the biggest disappointment of the night for many across the gay globe was Crystal Chappell not winning her predicted Lead Actress Emmy for her portrayal of Olivia Spencer on Guiding Light. Yes, hard to believe. Her scenes where Olivia professed her love for Natalia at Gus’s graveside have now become a soap classic. At the NBC after-party following the telecast, I think I was more upset than Crystal, and she spent more time consoling me. Not good.

Earlier that night on the red carpet, Crystal had this to say to me about the Otalia experience and her Emmy luck:

“I am a huge fan of the story they gave me. I am very lucky that my peers liked it. You know what? I had an experience a few years ago when I was nominated, when everyone came up to me, saying, ‘You’re going to win, you’re going to win.’ And I am going, ‘Oh, God.’ And I didn’t win, and then everyone was really embarrassed, and they kind of avoided me the whole night. So not only did I get screwed with the Emmy [laughs], I got ignored. So I take it with a whole grain of salt, and I am lucky to be here. I am lucky to have another job at this point, and I am a grateful girl, and somebody gave me a $25 Vegas chip.”

Crystal also talked about how much the support of LGBT viewers has meant to her.

“I said this before, but this came into my life for a reason, and while I have many gay friends, this was brought to me so I can learn what needs to be done, and it’s gotten me much more involved. And now I am fighting for the rights of not only the gay community, but my friends who never spoke to me before about it. [Laughs] It was really something I needed to learn about.”

Crystal lost her Emmy bid to As the World Turns’ Maura West, who in her final months (ATWT goes off the air in September) as Carly Tenney took home her second gold lady in her soap-tastic career.

Many of your other LGBT faves strutted their stuff and had some very interesting things to say on the Vegas carpet. First up, Eden Riegel — when she appeared the crowd went nuts inside the Las Vegas Hilton casino. Eden was one of the few soap stars to actually lift the red rope barricade and go over to say hello and take some pictures with her admirers. Now, that I thought was commendable and a bit risky.

In her new role as D.A. Heather Stevens on The Young and the Restless, it looks as though she has the hots for Chance (John Driscoll), who is the love interest of Riegel’s former All My Children gal pal and on-screen lover Elizabeth Hendrickson (ex-Maggie, AMC, now Chloe, Y&R). Add to this the arrival of past Emmy winner Jeff Branson as Ronan, and we can tell you there are some major, shocking changes coming. Riegel recounted the first time she, Driscoll, and Hendrickson all had a scene together. “The first scenes we had together, I was kind of making eyes at Liz, and there was sort of a sexual thing going on. I went, Uh-oh, wrong show, Eden. You got to put that under wraps. That was in rehearsal. So I said to myself, I have to look like I hate her. I have to look like I hate her. I had to look at her forehead and pretend she is somebody else. Now I am getting better at it, and I narrow my eyes and look like I don’t like her. I love Elizabeth. She is the best part of this whole experience, and we are incredibly close. We have been having a great time, and she helped me look for dresses for the Emmys. She is a fashonista! She knows what she is doing.”

Then I asked if Eden had watched Christina Bennett Lind, her replacement as Bianca on All My Children. Riegel, who had to make one of the most emotional decisions of her life to turn away from Pine Valley and head to Genoa City, expressed her admiration for Bianca 2.0. “Christina is phenomenal,” she said. “ I watched her whole first and second week. I was curious. It is a show I love and a character I love. I thought, What are they going to do? But she is perfect and has chops and owned it. I am thrilled with her as Bianca. I communicate with her and I can’t wait to meet her. She is a theater girl, so I know I am going to like her. She is doing a fantastic job at hitting it out of the park.”

Tags: television

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