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Can Switch From NYC to LA Pump Up Daytime Emmys?

There will be something different, shinier about this year’s Daytime Emmys, which will air on ABC on April 28: For the first time, the ceremony will be in Los Angeles.

That’s because, in recent years, the awards show has lost a little of its luster and a lot of its audience. That prompted the New York-based National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences to work closer than it has in years with the Los Angeles-based Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, which handles the Primetime Emmys.

The two organizations have not had a perfectly harmonious co-existence, but the Daytime Emmy move “represents a continuing effort to work closer together than we have in our somewhat troubled, distant past,” says Peter O. Price, president/CEO of NATAS. He says shifting the Emmy show to L.A. has helped the relationship between the two organizations, which separated in 1977. This year, NATAS and ATAS will even co-sponsor a party for nominees the night before.

Nominations were announced last week, and CBS led all networks with 59 nods. The announcement was was made on ABC’s The View, and hot shows in the running include Dr. Phil, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Live With Regis and Kelly, and The View for outstanding talk show.

CBS’ As the World Turns, Guiding Light and The Young and the Restless and ABC’s General Hospital were nominated for outstanding drama.

Game-show nominees are Jeopardy! and Who Wants To Be a Millionaire. Hosts Alex Trebek and Meredith Vieira were also nominated.

Fans flocked to Radio City Music Hall when the show was held there last year, but only 7.6 million people tuned in to the CBS telecast, the smallest TV audience in Daytime Emmy history. (By comparison, it attracted 22 million viewers in 1993, its largest audience in the 15 years the show has been on in prime time.)

But ABC and NATAS need to build more excitement in Nielsen homes, so the show will get an amped-up pre-show push. ABC is preparing on-the-road promotion at malls across the country. ABC sister network SoapNet is hosting a party at L.A.’s Roosevelt Hotel. And there will be a party for fans the night of the show outside the Kodak Theatre.

“We’re always looking for ways to find new audiences and improve the show,” says Price. “If our ratings were going up the past couple of years, I’d like to think we’d be doing the same thing.”