Daytime Emmys Turns Spotlight on Fans

Daytime Emmys' executive producer Michael Levitt said he wanted to honor the fans with the 42nd annual Daytime Emmys, and that point of view was evident throughout the entire program, which aired Sunday, April 26 at 5 pm PT on Pop. In direct contrast to last year, when the show was only streamed online from the Beverly Hilton in late June, the Daytime Emmys again felt like the celebration that the hard-working denizens of daytime deserve.

The set, created on soundstage 16 on the Warner Bros. lot, looks like an awards set, with color-changing pyramids adorning the stage and columns of gold dangling from the ceiling. Host Tyra Banks kept the show moving and the awards -- along with supermodel Banks' clothes changes -- came fast and furious. Unlike recent years, talent was in the house in abundance, with such daytime stars as Family Feud's Steve Harvey and Jeopardy!'s Alex Trebek and the hosts of The Talk appearing on stage.

The awards show's producers created several campaigns to involve fans, and it wasn't just lip-service to interactivity, but was threaded through the entire program. Matt Lauer and Ellen DeGeneres kicked off the show with a video clip in which Lauer stripped down to his underwear (well, an edited version of Lauer was wearing someone's underwear) and said that he would contribute $1,000 to charity for each person who thanked him. Cue lots of "Thank you Matt Lauers!" 

The show also awarded fan favorites throughout the evening. The audience of CBS' The Talk was named favorite talk show audience, with members of that show's audience getting to attend the show. Other categories included Best Bitch Slap and Biggest Wedding Disasters (which really lived up to the category).

In another fun and original bit, the show invited a Southern California teacher and mom to appear on stage with Y&R's Daniel Goddard ("Cane Ashby") to present the award for Outstanding Supporting Actor, which went to General Hospital's Chad Duell. Duell took the moment to channel Matthew McConaughey ("alright, alright, alright") and then went on to thank God, his family and his girlfriend.

The show also managed to get two musical numbers in. Tessann Chin, winner of season five of The Voice, sang "What I Did For Love," set against a montage of favorite soap-opera scenes. And Babyface sang "Gone Too Soon" to accompany the so-called death montage, in which such daytime stars as Marcia Wallce, Beau Kazer, Dane Witherspoon, Ralph Waite, James Rebhorn and Sheila McRae were honored. The Daytime Emmys took that opportunity to honor Joan Rivers, who passed away unexpectedly in 2014, with her daughter Melissa Rivers appearing on stage. The only Emmy Rivers ever won came from her daytime talk show, which ran for five years. 

To honor Lifetime Achievement Award winner Betty White, 91, a panel of famous game-show panelists gathered to play a game with clues that all led to White. The panel included Marie Osmond, Regis Philbin, Charo and Fred Willard and was hosted by Dancing with the Stars' and America's Funniest Home Videos' host Tom Bergeron. That led into a video package that took the audience through White's long career as a favorite game-show guest and her marriage to beloved game-show host Alan Ludden. The panel also all offered little tributes to White.

The night’s first award went to Young & the Restless’ Amelia Heine for outstanding supporting actress in a drama, followed by Entertainment Tonight taking home the award for outstanding entertainment news program for the second consecutive year in a row, which is also the second year the category has existed.

Craig Ferguson, just finishing out his rookie year as the host of Debmar-Mercury’s Celebrity Name Game, managed to edge out presenters Harvey and Trebek as outstanding game-show host. Ferguson also gave a shout out to 91-year-old Betty White, who is being given a lifetime achievement award on Sunday night by the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS). NATAS went with an oldie-but-goodie, naming CBS Television Distribution's Jeopardy! Outstanding Game Show for the 15th time, more than any other game show.

CBS Sunday Morning was named outstanding morning-show program.

Spanish-language Daytime Emmys went to Telemundo's Un Nueva Dia for Outstanding Morning Program in Spanish for the second year in a row. Like Un Nueva Dia Entertainment Tonight, is a two-time winner of an award that's only existed for two years.

Freddie Smith, who came prepared with a strong speech, was named Outstanding Younger Actor for his role as Sonny Kiriakis on NBC's Days of Our Lives. Y&R's's Hunter King was named Outstanding Younger Actress. 

Harvey, while missing out on the award for outstanding game-show host, won the award for Outstanding Talk Show, Informative, for The Steve Harvey Show, the second year in a row that the show has won that category. Live's Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan won for outstanding host(s) of an entertainment talk show, while the hosts of ABC's The Chew won for hosts of informative talk show. Carla Hall and Daphne Oz, daughter of embattled Dr. Mehmet Oz, who also was nominated in this category, accepted the award on behalf of the show's cast.

CBS' The Bold and the Beautiful won for Outstanding Directing Team and for Outstanding Writing. The award for directing was given by Donna Mills, who literally does not look one day older and also won a Creative Arts Emmy on Friday night for outstanding guest star on a daytime drama for her stint on General Hospital. Mills also stars in Pop's Queens of Drama, which premiered right after the Daytime Emmys. CBS' head of daytime, Angelica McDaniels, won the de facto award for most-thanked executive who wasn't offering $1,000 per thank you.

ET's Frazier and O'Dell returned to the stage to give the award for Outstanding Culinary Program, which went to Food Network's Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics.

NBC's Days of Our Lives celebrated its 50th anniversary during the show, with Deidre Hall introducing the program with a clips montage that included people dying, rising again, being shot, levitating above their beds and lots and lots and lots of slaps.

And now for the major awards: Warner Bros.' TheEllen DeGeneres Show won its fifth Daytime Emmy as Outstanding Talk Show, Entertainment. (Note that DeGeneres herself no longer submits in the category of outstanding host of an entertainment talk show.)

General Hospital's Anthony Geary won his record-setting eighth Daytime Emmy as Outstanding Actor in a Drama. Criminal Minds' Shamar Moore, who started his career on Y&R, presented the award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama to General Hospital's Maura West.

Finally, Days of Our Lives and The Young and the Restless ended up in a rare tie as this year's Outstanding Drama Series.

Steve Harvey returned for one quick bit to close the show, asking "What is the best way to end the Daytime Emmys?" Of course, confetti is the answer. With glitz dropping all around, that's a wrap! Welcome back, Daytime Emmys!

Contributing editor Paige Albiniak has been covering the business of television for nearly 25 years. She is a longtime contributor to Next TV, Broadcasting + Cable and Multichannel News. She concurrently serves as editorial director for entertainment marketing association Promax. She has written for such publications as TVNewsCheck, The New York Post, Variety, CBS Watch and more. Albiniak was B+C’s Los Angeles bureau chief from September 2002 to 2004, and an associate editor covering Congress and lobbying for the magazine in Washington, D.C., from January 1997-September 2002.