General Soap Operas

Soap Opera History: The Long Road To The First Daytime Emmy Show

Daytime Emmys Special ReportDaytime Emmys Special Report

With a history stretching back four decades, many fans would be forgiven for calling the Daytime Emmys old. But the real truth is that compared to its award show brethren, the yearly ceremony is still a mere babe.

Take for instance the Academy Awards presented in February. That glitzy celebration of the best in film marked the programs 91st anniversary. Even the Primetime Emmys, from which the Daytime Awards spawned, has been awarding statuettes for over 70 years.

The very first time a soap opera performer found themselves nominated for an award was during the 1962 program when Search For Tomorrows Mary Stewart found herself one of five actresses in the Outstanding Continued Performance by an Actress in a Series category. She lost to Shirley Booth.

Between 1966 and 1971, two new categories were added to the Emmy ballots: Outstanding Achievement in Daytime Programming for Individuals and Program. No soap opera was ever nominated in the Program category and, despite some nominations, no actor ever received the Individual award.

However, in 1972 during the 24th annual ceremony soap operas finally got their due. Soap operas The Doctors and General Hospital duked it out in the brand new Outstanding Achievement in Daytime Drama – Program category and The Doctors emerged victorious!

The next year, The Edge of Night won in the same category and Mary Fickett (Ruth Martin, All My Children) was awarded a statuette in a new category: Outstanding Achievement as an Individual in Daytime Drama.

Finally, in May 1974, the seemingly impossible happened. A televised program dedicated to the best and brightest in daytime made its debut on NBC with a ceremony hosted by Barbara Walters and Peter Marshall — and broadcast from the Rockefeller Plaza in New York City.

At the 1st Annual Daytime Emmy Awards, there were five categories devoted to soap operas — Outstanding Daytime Drama Series, Best Actor, and Best Actress, Best Individual Director, and Best Writing.

During that first ceremony, The Doctors …continue reading on the next page —>

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