By Libby Slate
Special to TelevisionWeek
Melody Thomas Scott and Eric Braeden, who play Nikki Reed Newman and Victor Newman on CBS’s “The Young and the Restless,” have shared almost as many peak experiences off-screen as they have in character-entertaining 10,000 fans at an appearance in Dayton, Ohio; dining with Prince Albert in Monaco; and attending a party given by the Turkish prime minister in Istanbul, to name a few.
But the one scene Ms. Thomas Scott said she will never forget was hosting “The Daytime Emmy Awards” with Mr. Braeden in 1996. “The sound of the fans screaming was something you could not anticipate,” she said of their entrance. “Standing on stage at Radio City Music Hall and hearing 8,000 fans screaming for Eric and me-it was a key moment of my life.”
Such experiences come with portraying one of the most enduring couples in soap opera history-the ex-stripper and the business mogul who come together and tear apart, marry others but inevitably wind up in each other’s arms.
Mr. Braeden also has Emmy memories forever etched in his brain. One memorable occasion came just last year, when his fun, event-filled Emmy week in New York ended in unexpected fashion. “After the ceremony, I was walking to [the CBS party at] the Waldorf-
Astoria,” he said. “Suddenly a police car pulled up, sirens screaming. I thought, ‘What the hell did I do?’
“The back door opened, and there was [‘Days of Our Lives’ star] Deidre Hall. She said, ‘Hi, Eric. Do you want a ride?’ So we both rode, cramped in the back seat.”
Mr. Braeden and Ms. Thomas Scott, first paired by show creator Bill Bell in 1981, have been a popular couple on-screen with the network as well as off-screen with fans. “They are the cornerstone of the show,” said Barbara Bloom, senior VP of daytime programs for CBS. “I’m in the business of love stories. Everyone at ‘The Young and the Restless’ and CBS is grateful for the contribution of the Nikki-Victor love story to this daypart.”
Both actors were pre-nominated by “Y&R” this year for Emmy consideration, but neither snagged a nomination. Six-time nominee Mr. Braeden won one statuette, in 1998. “It feels wonderful when you win, and it sucks when you lose,” he said. “You’re nominated when you least expect to be. It’s an acknowledgement, and to be recognized by your peers feels wonderful.”
Ms. Thomas Scott was nominated in 1999-the year Susan Lucci finally snapped her losing streak-but has never won. Nevertheless, she is surrounded by Emmys at home. The actress’ husband, Edward Scott, has won four as producer of “Y&R,” and the late father of her daughter Alex, “Y&R” makeup artist Carlos Yeagy, earned three.
“We’re humble to a fault about them,” Ms. Thomas Scott said. “You get very superstitious in the car on the way over to the ceremony-the things you say, do you have a speech prepared …
“It’s always fun when you win,” she said. “It’s a great moment. And when you lose, you know the cameras are on you, so you have to be happy.”
Memory: John Smith
Co-executive producer/co-head writer, The Young and the Restless”
I knew Bill Bell [“Y&R’s” co-creator and former head writer] had a great sense of humor. So when he called me the day after we were given the writing award in 1986, and he said, “Uh, Jack, I have to tell you something-we really didn’t win. ‘Guiding Light’ did; there was an accounting error.” I’m laughing, and I’m thinking, “Good one, Bill! Ha ha ha, such a joker!” But I hear he isn’t laughing.
I say, “You’re not kidding, are you?” Wow. It’s a great anecdote-now. But I can’t say I found it all that funny then. I still have that Emmy. I never gave it back. It’s in my house, hanging upside down.
Memory: Ken Corday
Executive producer, “Days of Our Lives”
To be honest, I go to the Emmys only to support the people on the show when they are nominated. I’ve been here for 25 years, and I think the last time we were up for best show was … well, it was years ago. I find that somewhat disturbing. I don’t get it. We get the People’s Choice Award every year. We win the TV Guide fan poll every year. Hollywood loves us. But never Emmys. This isn’t sour grapes, it’s just fact.
Personally, I’ve won Emmys [for composing]. My awards were given out at Universal. You know, the technical awards-the nonprime-time show. All I get to remember was the bad chicken dinners.
Memory: Jill Farren Phelps
Executive producer, “General Hospital”
I always say the best day we get in this business is the day the nominations for Emmys are announced. Win or lose, the joy of being nominated is there. Already I’m hearing, “Jill, this is your show’s year.” I have to be honest-I hate hearing that. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard that and gone home empty-handed.
On years I’ve heard we don’t have a chance, that’s when we’ve won. Go figure. I remember the first time winning at “Santa Barbara.” We were the lowest-rated show. No one, I mean no one, thought we would win. There were 21 seconds of pure jumping up and down and screaming and hugging before anyone got to the stage. It was crazy, a huge rush. We were out of our minds. I could win 100 more Emmys, and I will never forget that moment for as long as I live.