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NATAS President and Pop Network Chief Tease Daytime Emmys: Tight Show, Future Red Carpet Innovation

“We learned a lot about how not to do coverage on the red carpet and even more about how to do it right,” Bob Mauro tells TheWrap of last year’s streaming debacle

The Daytime Emmy Awards are returning to television, courtesy of Pop, the rebranded TV Guide Network.

“We’re all on the hook to reinvent this awards show,” Pop President Brad Schwartz told TheWrap. “It wasn’t on the air a year ago [and] the HLN broadcast the year before wasn’t that great.”

The 2014 Daytime Emmys streamed online, and an attempted red carpet reboot fired back in the faces of producers.

Schwartz’s executive partner in the Daytime Emmys effort is National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences President Bob Mauro, who told TheWrap that their joint mission starts by not letting the show run unreasonably long like the most recent Oscars, which aired for more than three hours and 45 minutes.

“This is going to be a two-hour, clean, crisp, entertaining show,” Mauro told TheWrap. “Anything that goes beyond that … gets long, it gets old.”

Schwartz and Mauro lavished praise on their other important partner, executive producer Michael Levin, who is responsible for the creative realization of the production and clearly has the complete confidence of duo.

Pop and NATAS are both going through somewhat of a rebirth by their own admission, making them natural allies and kindred spirits, their respective leaders told TheWrap. Plus, Pop knows the day part and genre that the show honors, aiding the fit.

After all, Pop, which is owned by CBS and Lionsgate, airs same-day reruns of “The Bold & the Beautiful” and “Young & the Restless,” two of the biggest and longest-running daytime shows around. And through CBS, Pop runs repeats of its parent network’s big awards shows, while also utilizing property “Entertainment Tonight” for all red carpet ventures.

“It kind of felt like a beautiful fit,” Schwartz said.

Both Schwartz and Mauro said the red carpet format is flawed. Coming off of last year’s red carpet disaster, this particular pre-show could use some help in its effort to reset.

For the online-only 2014 show, producers sought millennials with “strong entertainment news background and/or VERY strong social media following (300,000 followers minimum).” That paved the way for hostesses Brittany Furlan, Lauren Elizabeth, Jessica Harlow and Meghan Rosette — a quartet that was apparently chosen more for their social media draw than their entertainment news backgrounds.

The result was a disaster.

Throughout the red carpet pre-show, stream viewers blasted the hostesses, complaining that they weren’t familiar with the actors they were interviewing. (Furlan admitted as much in a behind-the-scenes video.)

When they weren’t oblivious, the hostesses veered into offensive territory. Many viewers — and more than one media outlet — took exception to Harlow referring to “The Bold and the Beautiful” actor Lawrence Saint-Victor as a “chocolate man” and asking him, “What’s it like to be a black man on soaps these days?” Co-host Furlan also warned “General Hospital” star Ryan Paevey, “We’re trying to get you away from us before we rape you.”

Mauro: “We learned a lot about how not to do coverage on the red carpet and even more about how to do it right. We are pursuing a partner that knows the importance of a red carpet to an awards show and how to treat the people who walk it with the respect they have earned. More to come.”

“Television is always about trying to reinvent and trying to find new things and trying to take risks,” Schwartz opined on more general red carpet complications that awards shows face in 2015. “One of the problems with some of the big awards show red carpets is, even if as a producer you want to do crazy, new, different things, you’re kind of tied to your little 8×8 box that you’re given by the Academy.”

That said, Schwartz said interviewers can and should ask different, more important questions than the traditional “Who are you wearing?” — and both men noted that “ET” is leading the charge. Schwartz said initiatives such as the #AskHerMore campaign has his network’s full support.

Don’t expect the format to stray too far from traditional setups this time around, however. This year’s effort is more one of revitalization for a once-proud awards show.

“Could we really change the game on the red carpet?” he pondered. “I don’t know if this is the year for us to do that. We want to focus on the show itself and put all of our money into the show and maybe not so much into the red carpet. But a year from now, we’d love to build to that.”

But again, for this one, don’t expect uninformed social media stars to have the microphones and the platform. Do expect an on-schedule party.

“We can figure out where the Daytime Emmys go from here in the years ahead,” Schwartz concluded. “But this year, it’s important to create a really, really fun show that people love to watch. The winners of the awards, I hope, aren’t even the reason you tune in.”

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