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Daytime Emmys Looking to HLN, AOL for June Show

The Daytime Emmy Awards are trying a different tack this year in an attempt to stay on the air in the face of daytime TV’s drastic changes.

This week, the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS) is expected to announce that Time Warner-owned HLN will be this year’s telecast partner for the annual Daytime Emmy Awards, according to several sources.

NATAS’ board of directors also is working to secure AOL as its social media partner for the awards, said sources who asked not to be identified prior to the announcement.

Neither NATAS, HLN nor AOL would comment on the negotiations. But NATAS execs did acknowledge they were looking for something new.

“We’re trying to do something completely different this year than in the past and get more eyeballs,” said Malachy Wienges, chairman of NATAS’ board and president of Sedona Broadcasting. “If you stick with a traditional broadcast partner, you’ll get maybe 3 or 4 million viewers. But if you go with a social media partner, you have the possibility of 100 million. People watch TV differently these days. The main screen is now your iPad or your iPhone.”

AOL is increasingly positioning itself to acquire and broadcast entertainment events. In February 2011, the portal acquired The Huffington Post. Last month, AOL introduced the AOL On Network, which reaches nearly 60 million consumers across 14 curated online video channels.

Nominations for the Daytime Emmy Awards were expected to be released last Friday, May 4, but at press time had been put off until Wednesday, May 9, in order to close the new media deals first.

The awards, taking place on Saturday, June 23, at the Beverly Hilton, are having an increasingly tough time staying relevant as daytime’s onceglamorous and popular soap operas are being cancelled and replaced by talk shows.

For the past two years, the Daytime Emmys have aired on CBS and been produced by Associated Television International. ATI leased the broadcast time on CBS and sold ads and product placement in the show in an attempt to turn a profit. That production met with criticism from viewers who felt the show was too much like an advertisement for Las Vegas, where the show was produced, and for the show’s commercial partners. Production companies, however, say that such commercial efforts are required if the show is to remain financially viable.

As a result of those conflicting viewpoints, ATI and NATAS could not agree on terms this year and chose not to move forward. All of the broadcast networks also passed on airing the ceremony. The CW, which aired the telecast in 2009, could not pick the show up this year because the ceremony is taking place on Saturday night, when The CW is dark.

With its new partners, Wienges hopes to leave the product placement behind and return the awards show to its more traditional roots. “It’s going to be the same type of venue as the Golden Globes,” Wienges said.

Insiders are hoping that while NATAS is figuring out how to handle this year’s broadcast, the organization will also lock in next year’s broadcast so it won’t face this much uncertainly this close to airtime.

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