National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences president and CEO Adam Sharp hopes that spreading the Daytime Emmys out over three nights this year will give more winners their due — and the audience a chance to breathe.
The 47th Daytime Emmy Awards will take place June 12-14 at the Pasadena Convention Center, adding an extra day to its usual two-day presentation — similar to how the L.A.-based Television Academy expanded its Creative Arts Emmys in recent years.
“You can expect one night that is very similar to the traditional creative arts, technical crafts format; one night that will be very focused on the dramas and talk shows and some of those traditional mainstays of daytime; and then one night that is focused on those categories in which we’ve seen explosive growth over the last several years, particularly fueled by streaming categories such as young adult, children’s programming, travel, culinary and so on,” Sharp says.
The “manageability” of the Daytime Emmys had become an issue, particularly as the evening devoted to more creative arts awards crept into 70-plus categories, Sharp adds.
“I think by cramming so many categories into one night with a single creative arts ceremony, a lot of people did not get that spotlight because we were going through three times as many categories in the same amount of time,” he says. “And so, while the pacing will be a bit different for each night, I think all the winners and nominees will have a little bit more opportunity to have their moment in the sun.”
Beyond that, NATAS has merged its young actor and young actress categories into a single, gender-neutral younger performer award, and also clarified its policy allowing performers in gendered categories to enter the one they felt best suited their identity.
“This is going to be an ongoing dialogue with the community, with GLAAD, with others, to see how this pans out in the competition, what we can learn from it and how we can keep improving upon it year to year so that we are being as inclusive and representative as possible for the community and every individual in it,” Sharp says.
Also, a new young adult category for programming targeted at the tween and teen audience reflects the growth in that genre, particularly thanks to streaming services.
“Previously the distinction had just been children and adults, and we started to see a lot of new programming where more and more mature topics were being addressed, but it still wasn’t an adult show,” Sharp says. “They didn’t seem to fit sitting next to ‘Sesame Street,’ but also didn’t seem to fit sitting next to ‘General Hospital.’”
According to Sharp, this year’s Daytime Emmys, which closed submissions at the end of January, received more than 2,700 total entries — more than a 10% uptick from last year. More than a quarter of all categories will be expanding to two rounds of judging to accommodate this increase.
Sharp, who took over NATAS in 2018 in the midst of a voting scandal, has instituted new procedures during his tenure, including a transparency report that looked at last year’s awards. As part of the report, conducted by accounting firm Lutz & Carr, NATAS said it planned to focus on expanding its judging pool for the 2019-20 awards cycle.
And indeed, Sharp says the org required membership in either NATAS or the L.A.-based Television Academy in order to judge in key categories. The Television Academy helped generate more than 300 new judges that hadn’t participated in the Daytime Emmys judging before.
“This is certainly the closest coordination between the academies on adjudicating the Daytime Emmys that we’ve seen in a very long time,” Sharp says. “The conclusions page of the transparency report specifically laid out that the No. 1 goal going into this year was increasing the number and diversity of judges and to reach out to the Television Academy to do that. And we’re very proud to say we have fulfilled that promise.”