The 37th Annual Daytime Emmys will not happen for another several hours (CBS, 9/8c), but I feel confident in saying: it’s going to be 100 times better then last year’s. Granted, The 36th Annual Daytime Emmys were the Bataan Death March of award shows. But this is a huge improvement.
Saturday morning, as I finished packing for the Daytime Emmys, I started to get that old feeling that I used to have back when the awards were in New York: like I was about to embark on a crazy adventure where anything could happen. Initially it seemed like entirely the wrong kind of adventure. My flight to Vegas was not only delayed but turbulent. That appeared to be a bad omen. My arrival at the Las Vegas Hilton did not improve my outlook. The old hotel is the opposite of the hip, gleaming strip. The small lobby — a tobacco-scented island of tile in a sea of slot machines — is a mess. The line to check-in stretched almost as long as the Apple Store’s on the day the IPhone 4 came out. Half of the check-in booths were unmanned. Conrad Hilton, who I choose to believe was exactly as portrayed on ‘Mad Men‘, must have been turning over in his grave. In the Hilton’s defense, the hotel has put up a huge Daytime Emmy banner outside and has signs promoting it all over the casino. Woo hoo! Daytime Emmy pride! We’re back on a major network now, haters! Unfortunately, the hotel’s neon billboard proclaims that tickets are still available, just one day before the show. Ouch.
It appeared that the rumors were true. Everyone who is gainfully employed on daytime shows, from actors to production staff, was splurging on the best that the strip has to offer while sad bloggers waited in the line, far from the action. Then I saw an Emmy-nominated performer wandering through the lobby, looking bemused and confused. It turns out that the Hilton has gifted all nominees with free rooms. Many had accepted. So the highest and lowest members of the daytime food chain were united in an uncool hotel.
Hours later, after a lousy meal, an unplanned cab trip to a shopping center that was definitely not intended for Vegas tourists, loaning my toothpaste to another soap journalist who found himself without thanks to a luggage mishap, and finagling my way into a couple of parties I technically may not have been invited to, I was having an amazing time. It was not quite New York, with its receptions hosted by Mayor Bloomberg and after hours clubs filled with European investment bankers. Nor, happily, was it downtown Los Angeles in September, with everybody counting down the minutes until they could leave. It was Vegas, baby, Vegas. And it was awesome. The music was pumping, the booze was flowing, and anyone who had anything to do with daytime was bonding, aware that this could be very last time the industry celebrates on this scale. Bring on the Daytime Emmys. Even if a misguided plan to “broaden” the show’s appeal means that Tony Orlando gets more face time than Tony Geary, at least everyone in attendance was having a good time. Which hopefully means that everybody who tunes in will too.
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