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Daytime Emmys Hopes (New) Life Begins at 40

Anniversary show will put soaps, talk and digital series in the spotlight 6/10/2013 12:01:00 AM Eastern

It's the 40th anniverary of the Daytime Emmys,
and the motto heading into the gala event—
to be broadcast live on Sunday, June 16, from the
Beverly Hilton hotel—has been “be prepared.”

Unlike last year, plans for this show have been in
place for months—although some segments were still
being planned at presstime last week—and the services
of cable network HLN were secured early.

“Last year, I didn’t sign the contract with HLN until
two or three weeks ahead of time. We put the show together
almost like a news event,” says Malachy Winges,
chairman of the National Academy of Television Arts &
Sciences. “This time, it’s going to be more entertaining.
It will be a completely different show from last year’s.”

The telecast, to be hosted by Good Morning America’s
Sam Champion and HLN’s own A.J. Hammer and Robin
Meade, will take a look at daytime’s past, present and future.
Soap operas comprise much of daytime’s past, and
soap fans remain daytime’s most rabid. The four remaining
shows, mixed in with a wide range of programming,
are in fact experiencing a ratings resurgence this season.

“Now the daytime community is everything from
game shows to culinary shows to court, talk and more
talk,” says Winges. “But if you witness the red carpet,
most of the screaming fans are soap opera fans.”

Talk shows—from rookies such as Disney/ABC Television’s
Katie and NBCUniversal’s Steve Harvey to vets
such as CBS Television Distribution’s Dr. Phil and Sony
Pictures Television’s Dr. Oz—are the genre’s present.
New entries such as Warner Bros.’ Bethenny and Sony
Pictures Television’s Queen Latifah are getting ready to
premiere; a few more—from NBCU’s Meredith Vieira
project to Twentieth’s with Kris Jenner to Warner Bros.’
The Real—are in active development and testing.

The future, as it is for much of TV, is digital, with
Prospect Park airing ABC’s former soap operas All My
Children
and One Life to Live online. This year, YouTube
earned three Daytime Emmy nominations, including
one in the outstanding new approaches category for online
series The Beauty Inside. PBS earned three nominations
for its three online-only series, Chuck Vanderchuck,
Design Squad Nation and Get the Math.

Among the major changes to this year’s show is the
addition of musical numbers. Meade, host of HLN’s
Morning Express With Robin Meade and an accomplished
country artist, will sing a medley of the best original
song nominees, including “This Day” by Sheryl Crow
(Katie’s theme song) and “Good Afternoon” by Little Big
Town, which serves as Good Morning America’s theme.

Teen Italian opera trio Il Volo will perform their song
“Mas Que Amor” during the show’s traditional In Memoriam
tribute. That’s expected to feature such departed
daytime talent as The Young and the Restless’ Jeanne
Cooper, who passed away in her sleep last month at
the age of 84. Cooper, whose son is the actor Corbin
Benson, played matriarch Katherine Chandler on the
show for nearly its entire run on CBS, having joined
Y&R in 1973.

Wayne Brady, current host of CBS’ Let’s Make a Deal,
will present a Daytime Emmys lifetime achievement
award to Monty Hall, who originated that game show.
Similarly, Betty White, a close friend of the late game
show producer Bob Stewart, will hand a lifetime achievement
award to Stewart’s son, Sandy, says David Michaels,
Daytime Emmy Awards senior executive director.

Other presenters include daytime’s unofficial rookie of
the year, Steve Harvey, as well as Kathy Griffin, Rachael
Ray, Dr. Drew Pinsky, Erika Slezak, Kristen Alderson,
Nancy Lee Grahn, Lindsey Morgan, Freddie Smith and
the ladies of CBS’ The Talk: Julie Chen, Sharon Osbourne,
Sara Gilbert, Aisha Tyler and Sheryl Underwood.

While the show won’t be as soap-heavy as it once
was, it will still shine a spotlight on the genre. All five
of the soap operas that were still on the air during the
eligibility period—ABC’s General Hospital, NBC’s Days
of Our Lives
, CBS’ The Young and the Restless and The
Bold and the Beautiful
and ABC’s One Life to Live (which
now airs exclusively online) were nominated for outstanding
drama series.

And like the Daytime Emmys themselves, The Young
and the Restless
is celebrating its 40th anniversary this
year. General Hospital, which has seen a 21% ratings
increase this season, is celebrating its 50th anniversary.

Overall, viewership for the Daytime Emmys has declined
significantly over the past few years. When the
show aired on HLN last year, it hit an all-time low of
912,000 viewers. The show averaged 5.5 million viewers
when it aired on CBS in 2010 and 2011, and 2.7
million viewers when it was on The CW in 2009.

Winges has high hopes for this year’s telecast, though.
“I’m glad it’s on a Sunday night this year,” he says. “Last
year, the show was on a Saturday, which is a night when
ratings are usually way down. I’m expecting double the
viewing audience this year, not only on television but
on social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, as well.”

Production company LocoDistro is producing the
40th Annual Daytime Emmys, with Gabriel Gornell
executive producing.

E-mail comments to palbiniak@gmail.com
and follow her on Twitter: @PaigeA

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