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‘General Hospital’ Star Finola Hughes Talks Daytime Emmy Awards and What Drama Is Next for Her Character, Anna

She is nominated for lead actress in a drama series at tonight's 50th Annual Daytime Emmys Awards!

With the 50th Annual Daytime Emmys Awards finally set for this weekend, the nominees recently helped The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences celebrate the unveiling of a 2023 anniversary commemorative statue at The Hollywood Museum – and FIRST for Women caught up with General Hospital’s Finola Hughes Emmy nominee on the red carpet!

Hughes (who plays Anna Devane) took home Daytime Emmy gold in 1991, and before ever stepping into Anna’s heels in 1985, the Brit danced with John Travolta in Staying Alive and originated the role of Victoria the White Cat in the London production of Cats.

The daytime legend also played mom to the Charmed girls from 1998–2006. This year, the GH vet is once again nominated for Outstanding Lead in a Drama Series: Actress – alongside Sharon Case (Sharon, The Young and the Restless), Melissa Claire Egan (Chelsea, Y&R), Michelle Stafford (Phyllis, Y&R), and Jacqueline MacInnes Wood (Steffy, The Bold and the Beautiful).

With nothing but love for her competition, Hughes dishes the Daytime Emmys, as well as Anna’s emotional Port Charles storyline and a possible Anna/Sonny romance on GH. Plus, we have everything you need to know about how to watch 2023’s 50th Annual Daytime Emmys Awards.

Finola Hughes Talks Daytime Emmy Nominations

With 19 Daytime Emmys nominations on the line for General Hospital in 2023, Hughes is rooting for her home team – including nominees Maurice Benard (Sonny), Sonya Eddy (Epiphany), Brook Kerr (Portia), Kelly Thiebaud (Britt), Nicholas Chavez (Spencer), Chad Duell (Michael), Robert Gossett (Marshall), Jon Lindstrom (Kevin/Ryan), Eden McCoy (Josslyn), and Alley Mills (Heather Webber). And with the Daytime Emmys postponed in May due to the Hollywood strikes, the icon is more than ready for the in-person party to take place.

Related: ‘General Hospital’ Star Eden McCoy Talks Growing Up in Port Charles

“We’re actually doing it,” Hughes cheers. “The whole thing is just a nice celebration of our industry and what we do best. I always get very excited. I like to see everybody come together to celebrate the work that everybody puts in – from crew all the way up to the cast. It’s a tremendous amount of work that gets put in every year, and it’s nice to step back for a moment and celebrate that.”

For longtime actors like Hughes, the Daytime Emmys have also become a bit of a soap opera family reunion. With so much soap hopping and 50 years of award shows, the actors love running into old friends. They also get to hang out with their own casts – which happens less often than viewers might think.

“I get so caught up in seeing everybody,” Hughes says. “It becomes such a fun night. You just kind of get wrapped up in the excitement of the evening.”

Finola Hughes Takes Fans to the Daytime Emmy Lead Actresses Nominees Lunch

Over the course of her career, Hughes has earned 11 Daytime Emmy nominations and one statue. For the 50th Annual Daytime Emmys Awards, she’s honored to be in the company of co-nominees Case, Egan, MacInnes Wood and real-life pal, Stafford. 

“I’m forever surprised and humbled,” Hughes says. “It’s always a very moving experience to be nominated, because we go to work every day and we try our best… and then sometimes things really click. And that’s really lovely. So I’m thrilled!”

Hughes was also thrilled to break bread with her competitors and last year’s winner Mishael Morgan (Amanda, Y&R) at Redbird restaurant in Los Angeles – and she shared the fun with soap opera fans via Instagram.

“It’s a tradition started by the inimitable Susan Flannery,” Hughes posted, referencing the daytime veteran who played B&B’s matriarch Stephanie from 1987–2012. “The previous year’s winner throws a luncheon for the nominees. Yesterday was a very special lunch. Mishael Morgan raised the bar!

“The conversation was at once lighthearted and deep,” she continues. “This was an amazing group of women, supportive, funny, and caring. Thank you all for a brilliant few hours.”

Finola Hughes talks Anna, Valentin and the drama on GH

Finola Hughes Talks Anna, Valentin, and the WSB Drama on GH
Finola Hughes and Anna Devane (2021) ABC/Todd Wawrychuk

Since signing on to GH in the ‘80s, Hughes has seen decades of daytime adventure, romance and heartbreak. Her character is, after all, a retired World Security Bureau (WSB) spy who spent some portion of her youth as a double agent for the wrong side. And when Anna took a break from solving crimes and rescuing her daughter, Robin, in Port Charles, Hughes kept the drama going by introducing her twin sister Alex on All My Children (1999–2003).

With Alex a fantastically evil twin, Anna has always proven to be the hero — even when it’s meant killing her sister. Those early WSB days, however, seem to haunt her and recently, GH has been forcing her to recon with her past, anew. 

“There is a time in your life when you do start looking back on everything that you’ve done,” Hughes says. “I’m at that place in my own life, and it’s really nice to reflect that in my character.”

In classic GH form, Anna did get to enjoy a bit of a romantic lull after she and Valentin saved the world together – but there’s no such thing as happily ever after in Port Charles.

“It’s difficult to sustain that sort of niceness,” Hughes concedes. “We are a soap opera and drama does push the story along.”

James Patrick Stuart, Finola Hughes, Scarlett Fernandez
James Patrick Stuart, Finola Hughes, Scarlett Fernandez (2023)Disney/Christine Bartolucci

These days, the drama is coming in fast, again. After Valentin’s father Victor exposed her past as a double agent, Anna became the victim of not one, but two stalkers. Even worse, when Valentin realized his daughter trashed Anna’s home and might be an arsonist, he proved as untrustworthy as all the Cassadines.

The result? Anna accidentally shot Charlotte — a child! — which has left her wracked with guilt and, as mentioned, questioning her past decisions.

“It’s a difficult story,” Hughes shares. “But I have to say that it’s been very interesting to play and explore.”

At the same time, it turns out GH’s beloved WSB has fallen under the control of Pikeman Security Group and someone’s been gunning for Anna – and Sonny! While Anna simply knows too much, the mob boss with a heart of gold has always protected Port Charles, making them both targets of the town’s newest bad guy.  

“It’s been a very intelligent storyline,” Hughes says. “And the whole Pikeman situation, and this idea of trading arms, is a quite interesting portion of it.”

Finola Hughes Considers an Anna/Sonny Pairing on GH

All this new WSB action has Hughes working with old friends like legacy players Tristan Rogers (Scorpio) and Kristina Wagner (Felicia). It’s also strengthened Anna’s growing connection to Maurice Benard’s Sonny.

Sharing a common enemy may not be fun for the spy and the mobster, but it makes for good story – and it even has some fans shipping a romance between Anna and Sonny, of all people.

“I’m down for that,” Hughes says with a grin. “It’s been lovely to work with Maurice.”

As the Daytime Emmys approach, Hughes confesses that after almost three decades of soapy good fun, she’s not immune to nerves – but those nerves are less about nominations and parties than the day-to-day work of being a longtime soap heroine. 

“Sometimes you read things in a script, and you’re like, ‘Well, I hope I’m up to this.’” Hughes admits. “There’s self-doubt, for sure. But I think it’s actually important, that feeling of anticipation. The trouble is at this point, you’re in competition with yourself. You just don’t ever want to be walking in that car park, going ‘Damn!’”

How to Watch the 50th Annual Daytime Emmys

How to Watch the 50th Annual Daytime Emmys
Finola Hughes Emmy AwardsDaytime Emmy Awards

The Daytime Emmys are known for the big televised show, but there are actually four ceremonies, and fans can stream them all — and the gala brunch — live on and via The Emmys® apps for iOS, tvOS, Android, FireTV, and Roku (full list at  

Here’s the line-up:

First, Finola Hughes and the stars of General Hospital, The Young and the Restless, The Bold and the Beautiful, Days of Our Lives, and The Bay will join nominees in the Talk Show and Entertainment News Series categories in the televised 50th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards.

All My Children legend Susan Lucci will receive her Lifetime Achievement Honors at the gala – which takes place Friday, December 15, at 6 PM in Los Angeles and will air 9:00-11:00 PM, ET/delayed PT on CBS and stream on Paramount+ (live and on demand for Paramount+ with SHOWTIME subscribers, or on demand for Paramount+ Essential subscribers the day after the episode airs).

50th Annual Daytime Creative Arts & Lifestyle Emmy Awards (Lifetime Achievement Honoree Maury Povich) are Saturday, December 16 at 3PM ET/12PM PT.

The 2nd Annual Children’s & Family Creative Arts Emmy Awards are Saturday, December 16 at 11PM ET/ 8PM PT.

The 2nd Annual Children’s & Family Emmy Awards  are Sunday, December 17 at 8PM ET/5PM PT.

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