Despite 15 nominations for Best Drama over the years, “Days Of Our Lives” manged to win just once — in 1978. The show, which was snubbed this year, last contended in the top race in 2009 losing to “The Bold & The Beautiful,” which claimed the first of two consecutive victories. Prior to that, it had been a full decade since “DOOL” was last nominated. Recognition for the series comes in batches: the first from 1974 to 1989, then for three years beginning in 1983 and again from 1995 to 1999.
Greg Meng, the executive in charge of production, says the reason for this poor track record is that, “we haven’t historically produced shows to be Emmy shows,” He is referring to those episodes designed to appeal to Emmy voters. “B&B” won both of their Best Series bids for such episodes; last year’s focused on the death Ann Douglas, played by guest star Betty White. For Meng, the aim of “DOOL” has been to always produce episodes with multiple layers.
Being an actor on “DOOL” is no guarantee of awards glory either. In the 37-year history of the Daytime Emmys, only eight cast members have won. The only Best Actress win was for Susan Flannery in the first year of the awards back in 1974 and MacDonald Carey claimed Best Actor trophies in 1974 and 1975. Two actors won Younger Actor two decades apart — Billy Warlock (1989) and Darrin Brooks (2009). And three women won Supporting Actress categories where it took home wins in , and , for Suzanne Rogers (1978), Leeann Hunley (1986) and Tamara Braun (2009).
No performers contended from 1992-1996, in 2001 and 2002, and from 2005 to 2007. The most notable names among the Emmy also-rans are leading ladies Deidre Hall (Dr. Marlena Evans), Eileen Davidson (Kristen Blake, Susan Banks, et all) and Kristian Alfonso (Hope Williams Brady). Hall was nominated three times — first for Supporting Actress in 1980 and then for Best Actress in 1984 and 1985 — Alfonso contended in 1985 for Best Ingenue (a pre-cursor to Younger Actress) and Davidson was nominated as Best Actress in 1998. Peter Reckell, who has played Bo Brady on and off since 1983, has only one Best Actor bid in 2009. And Alison Sweeney (Sammi Brady) has yet to be nominated.
Meng was stymied as to why the cast has failed to find favor with the Emmys. Indeed, he admitted, the creative team “has been scratching our heads since 1998” when Davidson lost her Best Actress bid. While the series reaped four acting nods in 2008 and five in both 2009 and 2010, it only earned two this year — Best Actor for James Scott (EJ) and Younger Actor for Chandler Massey (Will).
Meng, who has worked for Corday Productions for 20 years, co-authored “A Celebration in Photos” to commemorate the 45th anniversary of “DOOL” last year. Click the arrow below to hear my interview with this daytime drama veteran.