Rachael, Ellen, G.H. win Daytime Emmys

June 20, 2008 7:39:00 PM PDT
Ellen Degeneres won a fourth consecutive Daytime Emmy on Friday night, and she has no plans to stop there. DeGeneres picked up the outstanding talk show host honor while "Rachael Ray" cooked up a surprising win in the outstanding talk show category during the 35th annual Daytime Emmy ceremony at Hollywood's Kodak Theatre. Rookie "Rachael Ray" beat veteran talk show winners "The View" and "The Ellen DeGeneres Show."

As host, DeGeneres again bested Regis Philbin and Kelly Ripa from "Live with Regis and Kelly" as well as Barbara Walters, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, Joy Behar, Whoopi Goldberg and Sherri Shepherd from "The View." It's the 10th consecutive loss in the host category for "The View" ladies. Philbin has only won the talk show host category once in the 20 years he's hosted "Live."

Would DeGeneres consider pulling an Oprah Winfrey and refrain from submitting herself for lauds in the future?

"I'm not going to take my name out," DeGeneres deadpanned backstage. "Oprah has made so many bad choices. Look at her career."

Philbin took home one trophy, at least, and it was a big one: the Lifetime Achievement Award. Jimmy Kimmel presented the award to the 76-year-old talk show host, who's career can be traced back to his days as an NBC page in the 1950s. Kimmel joked that Philbin had logged 30 billion hours on TV as a host of talk, variety and game shows - and as the host of "Live" with his granddaughter Kelly.

"What a night," Philbin said during his acceptance speech.

"Tyra Banks told me to kiss her big beautiful, and I found out that I'm older than the 'Guiding Light."' Banks picked up the first ever Daytime Emmy for informative talk show. Banks, "Dr. Phil" and PBS' "A Place of Our Own/Los Ninos en su Casa" - a daily show about child care that has English and Spanish versions - didn't have to spar with Philbin or DeGeneres for outstanding talk show this year thanks to a new category split.

"I want to thank Oprah Winfrey for her inspiration," Banks said. "She is the queen and will always be the queen."

Also new this year was the legal/courtroom program Daytime Emmy, which was awarded to "Cristina's Court." Formerly, "Judge Judy" competed in a special class category against shows like "Trading Spaces" and "A Baby's Story." This year, the veteran TV judge was joined by "Cristina's Court," "Judge Hatchett Show," "The People's Court" and "Judge David Young" in the new category.

ABC's "General Hospital, which celebrated its 45th anniversary this year, was prescribed a record-breaking 10th outstanding drama Daytime Emmy. Executive producer Jill Farren Phelps used part of her acceptance speech to recognize Iowa's flood victims. Meanwhile, the behind-the-scenes teams of "One Life to Life" won both outstanding directing and writing team awards.

Outstanding acting winners were lead actress Jeanne Cooper of CBS' "The Young and the Restless"; lead actor Anthony Geary of ABC's "General Hospital"; supporting actress Gina Tognoni of CBS' "Guiding Light"; supporting actor Kristoff St. John of "The Young and the Restless"; younger actor Tom Pelphrey of "Guiding Light"; and younger actress Jennifer Landon of CBS' "As the World Turns."

"I only made up my mind to come on Monday," Cooper, who's been nominated for a lead actress trophy eight times but never won, told reporters backstage. "I'm glad I did."

ABC shook up this year's ceremony by adding a new interactive element and a new Golden Globes-style seating arrangement at Hollywood's Kodak Theatre. Honoring everything from soaps to talk shows to game shows, the live broadcast was co-hosted by Sherri Shepherd from "The View" and Cameron Mathison from "All My Children."

Instead of sitting in the Kodak's stuffy theater seats, nominees gathered around their own banquet tables and were allowed to feast on food and sip booze from an open bar. Digital video cameras were placed at the tables and attendees documented personal experiences during the show. The footage was uploaded to SoapNet.com throughout the live ceremony.

After plummeting to an all-time low of 6.1 million viewers in 2006, last year's Emmy Awards were watched by 8.3 million people, the ceremony's best ratings since 2004, according to Nielsen Media Research. That scaled-down, two-hour Daytime Emmys aired on CBS after a rebroadcast of Bob Barker's final "Price Is Right" episode and featured the game show host receiving his 19th Daytime Emmy.