On September 17 of last year, “As the World Turns” signed off for the final time after an astounding 54 year-run. The daytime drama was axed due to shrinking ratings and expanding budgets. The beloved soap left behind a legion of devoted fans and an enviable legacy at the Daytime Emmy Awards: four victories as Best Drama Series and 24 individual acting wins.
This year, “ATWT” is certain to contend one last time in several top races, including Best Actress. Defending champ Maura West could well repeat although her co-star Colleen Zenk could be a formidable challenger. Zenk, a industry veteran, played the role of Barbara Ryan Montgomery on the series since 1978. She earned Best Actress bids in both 2001 and 2002; she lost the first time to co-star Martha Byrne and then to Susan Flannery (“The Bold and the Beautiful”).
Among the leading men on the show, Michael Park, who won the Best Actor prize last year, could contend once again. He plays the kind-hearted cop Jack Snyder. His strongest competion could be co-star Jon Lindstrom, who is likely to earn a second consecutive nod for his work as the evil and manipulative Craig Montgomery. Although he has only played the role since 2008, he has worked on soaps since the early 1980s. His most notable roles have been as Mark McCormick on “Santa Barbara” (1985-1986) and as both the murderous Ryan Chamberlain and his kind-hearted brother, Dr. Kevin Collins on “General Hospital“ and its spin-off “Port Charles” (1992-2003). Lindstrom quickly made the role his own, despite the legacy of the two other actors to play the part — Scott Bryce and Hunt Block.
Among those who could reap a Supporting Actor bid are Emmy-favorite Trent Dawson, a three-time nominee for his comedic turn as con-man Henry Coleman (2006-2008). Eric Sheffer Stevens, who joined the series just last January, won over fans as a doctor who falls for Luke Snyder but is soon killed off. Stevens did the near impossible by becoming a viable love interest for Luke who had been linked with Noah Mayer for years.
Supporting Actress nominees could include Lesli Kay who, as Molly Conlan, won an Emmy in 2001; she also competed in 2008 for her work as Felicia Forrester on “The Bold & The Beautiful.” Kay returned to “ATWT” in November 2009, while continuing on “B&B,” and stayed until the final episode. As Katie Perett, Terri Conn excelled as a good girl who picks bad boys. In the last three years, her character became a formidable force. She has competed only once for a daytime Emmy award, losing the 2001 Younger Actress race to Adrienne Frantz of “The Bold and The Beautiful.” Julie Pinson won this award last year for her work as Janet “Juicy” Ciccone. As the sassy ex-girlfriend of Jack Snyder, she went into labor just as he was marrying his true love, Carly Tenney Snyder.
Surprisingly, some of the leading lights of “ATWT” did not submit their names for consideration in this, its final year of eligibility. Kathryn Hays, who has played Kim Sullivan Hughes since 1972, was the central figure in the series final episodes. As Luke Snyder, Van Hansis earned Younger Actor nominations in 2007, 2008, and a Supporting Actor nod in 2009. He had very strong material this year as Luke fell in love for the first time since Noah, only to see his new love killed by a train.
Don Hasting is destined to leave daytime television with no compeitive Emmy to his name. Despite appearing on the series since 1960, he was never nominated. However, he did receive a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2004. That ceremony was a lowpoint for the Daytime Emmys as Hasting and the other nine honorees were allowed only to wave from the stage as their names were announced. Among these 10 vets were two other long-time “ATWT” players who never won an Emmy: Eileen Fulton (Lisa Miller Grimaldi) and Helen Wagner (Nancy Hughes).