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Digital, Linear Share Stage at Daytime Emmys

The Daytime Emmys is changing with the times. Just as its fellow TV-related awards shows have, it is now putting digital programming on equal footing with the networks.

In some cases, the NationalAcademy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS) has created separate categories to cover digital shows, such as one for outstanding digital daytime drama. But in many others, the digital shows are competing alongside broadcast and cable shows.

“We mainly do not differentiate and in the children’s categories it’s totally mixed in,” said David Michaels, senior vice president, daytime, NATAS, who is executive producing the show along with Michael Leavitt and David Parks.

For example, the nominees for outstanding preschool children’s series include Amazon’s Bookaboo, Nickelodeon’s Dino Dan and Mutt & Stuff, Sprout’s Sunny Side Up and HBO’s Sesame Street, which had 10 nominations overall. And the nominees for outstanding children’s or family viewing series are Amazon’s Androids, NBC’s Give, Pop’s This Just In, syndication’s Xploration DIY Sci and this year’s most-nominated show that’s not a daytime drama, PBS’ Odd Squad, which scored 14 nominations.

This year, the Daytime Creative Arts Awards will be held at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium on Friday, April 28, followed by the awards ceremony on Sunday, April 30, at the same venue. The ceremony again doesn’t have a broadcast or cable TV partner this year, but the Daytime Emmys will be live-streamed on at least one online outlet and possibly more.

NATAS is also taking greater advantage of digital promotion and distribution opportunities, even turning to digital outlets to promote the awards show, including producing several Facebook Live telecasts. One of those promotions featured actress Carolyn Hennesy, who’s nominated this year for her guest appearance on Amazon’s The Bay, and another one will have the cast of General Hospital.

“I love these,” said Michaels. “I’ve been moderating them from Facebook’s studio in Los Angeles. The questions come live from the fans and that’s a whole new way to do an interview.”

The Academy is also hoping to return to television as well as live-stream in coming years; talks toward that end are ongoing.

“The best of all worlds is to do both simultaneously,” Michaels said.

Extra’s Mario Lopez and The Talk’s Sheryl Underwood will host the show.

Below is a breakdown of some of the major categories:

The Daytime Emmys were once all about the dramas, and at its height in the early ’90s, the category had 12 shows competing. Today, the category has been trimmed to just four shows and all of these demonstrate the adage, “only the strong survive.”

Even though their numbers have been culled, the broadcast daytime dramas are still the stars of the Emmys show. The Young and the Restless is this year’s most-nominated show with 25 nods. Y&R is followed by The Bold and the Beautiful and General Hospital with 23 each, and Days of Our Lives with 22. Having two soaps in the competition gives CBS the edge, and the network leads all comers with 71 total nominations, followed by syndication with 50.

“We truly believe that the soap fans drive the audience and the social media,” said Michaels. “The soap stars bring the glamour to the red carpet.”

General Hospital took the crown in 2016, and Days of Our Lives and Y&R tied in 2015. CBS’ The Bold and the Beautiful won back-to-back awards in 2010 and 2011, but hasn’t won since.

Meanwhile, digital daytime dramas are making themselves known in a separate category. In 2011, NATAS introduced the award for “outstanding special class short format daytime.” The category has gone through several iterations since and in 2016 it was renamed “outstanding digital daytime drama series.”

Nominations this year are The Bay: The Series, which previously aired on before moving to Amazon, and won in 2015 and 2016; Amazon’s Red Bird and Tainted Dreams; and YouTube’s Tough Love and Venice the Series, which won in 2011 and 2014 and can be found on its own website at One wonders how long the separation will last.

“This is happening in primetime as well—digital shows don’t look different than network shows,” said Michaels. Chew and The Talk to single-talent-led programs such as Dr. Oz, Steve Harvey, Larry King Now, The Ellen DeGeneres Show and Maury. And Live with Kelly, typically hosted by a male-female pair, is currently being held down by Kelly Ripa and her endless parade of cohosts. NATAS separated the category into informative and entertainment in 2008, and separated the host categories in 2014.

All of the hosts of informative talk shows also were nominated, along with Chris Hedges, who hosts On Contact on English-language Russian news network RT. That’s not as true on the entertainment side, with Harry Connick Jr., host of NBCUniversal’s new talker Harry, Wendy Williams and the hosts of Warner Bros.’ The Real joining the hosts of The Talk, The View and Live’s Ripa.

Last year, The Talk and The Chew won their respective categories. For the past two years, Ripa and her former cohost Michael Strahan have been named outstanding entertainment talk show hosts, and this is the first year Ripa will be competing on her own. Last year, Oz took the award for informative talk show host.

Games are dominated right now by FremantleMedia North America, which produces four out of five of this year’s game show nominees, and also has three of the five nominees in the category of outstanding game show host, with Family Feud’s Steve Harvey, Let’s Make a Deal’s Wayne Brady and last year’s winner, Celebrity Name Game’s Craig Ferguson. Also nominated in the host category are vets Pat Sajak of Wheel of Fortune and Alex Trebek of Jeopardy!, who have won three and five Daytime Emmys, respectively.

“These are all really strong formats,” said Jennifer Mullin, coCEO of FremantleMedia North America. “One of the things our teams try to do is keep these formats true to their cores but also keep them fresh for audiences year after year.”

Whether or not FamilyFeud wins the Emmy, it’s by far the winner in the ratings, averaging a 6.9 in households season to date according to Nielsen and leading the games for almost a year straight now, toppling longtime game rating leader, Wheel of Fortune. Family Feud also leads all of syndication among daytime’s key demographic of women 25-54, and frequently leads all of syndication among households, going back and forth with Judge Judy.

Last year, the Price is Right, hosted by Drew Carey, won this category. One nominee, CelebrityName Game, will be canceled after this season.

A dedicated court category wasn’t introduced to the Daytime Emmys until 2008. Syndication ratings juggernaut Judge Judy, which debuted in 1996, didn’t win this prize until 2013, and won again last year.

The other two shows are relative newcomers. LaurenLake’s Paternity Court, produced in Atlanta, debuted in 2013 and is in its fourth season. Judge Judy spin-off, Hot Bench, has been nominated in this category for the past two seasons after debuting in 2014. In March 2015, Hot Bench moved to CBS owned and affiliated stations in top markets, and it’s currently the third-ranked show in daytime, typically behind only Dr. Phil and Judge Judy, and often beating such stalwarts as Disney-ABC’s Live with Kelly and Warner Bros.’ Ellen DeGeneres.

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.