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Daytime Emmy Shocker: NATAS Eliminates Younger Performer Category


NATAS has announced a major change in categories for the 51st Annual Daytime Emmy Awards: the elimination of the award for Outstanding Younger Performer in a Daytime Drama Series.

Last year, rule changes made only actors 18 and younger eligible for that prize, which was awarded to GH’s Eden McCoy (Josslyn). Since its introduction in 1985, the award has gone through many name changes, and originally, actors and actresses competed in separate categories. When the prize for actresses was first handed out (to Tracey E. Bregman as Y&R’s Lauren), it was called Outstanding Ingenue. Ellen Wheeler (ex-Marley/Vicky, ANOTHER WORLD), Martha Byrne (ex-Lily, AS THE WORLD TURNS) and Julianne Moore (Frannie/Sabrina, ATWT) were the subsequent victors before the category was rebranded in 1989 — the year Kimberly McCullough (ex-Robin, GH) won — as Outstanding Juvenile Female. Cady McClain (ex-Dixie, ALL MY CHILDREN) won in 1990. Then, in 1991, the category was renamed again as Outstanding Younger Actress, and the Daytime Emmy went to Anne Heche (ex-Vicky/Marley, AW). Hayley Erin (Claire, Y&R) was the last actress to win the prize with that name, for her work as GH’s Kiki in 2019. No such category name changes occurred on the male actor side; Brian Bloom (ex-Dusty, ATWT) was the first winner, and Nicholas Chavez (Spencer, GH) was the final winner (in 2022).

For the awards handed out in 2020, NATAS opted to eliminate separate prizes for actors and actresses and introduced the gender-neutral category, Outstanding Younger Performer, that it is now eliminating. Age requirements in the category have also shifted over the years; from 1985 to 2019, performers under the age of 25 were eligible. The age was lowered to 21 in 2020, and finally to 18 in 2023. Younger cast members are still eligible for Daytime Emmy consideration; however, they must now submit themselves in the Supporting Actor/Actress and Lead Actor/Actress categories.

The Daytime Emmys officially began accepting submissions for nominations on February 1, with judging set to begin on March 21 and end on April 11. The nominations will be announced the week of April 15.