The Daytime Emmys could become a lot less soap-centric next year as organizers -- faced with the prospect of ABC and CBS shunning the low-rated telecast -- entertain new ideas that could include shifting the show to cable.
The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences is sifting through bids from two broadcast networks and two cable channels to carry the awards telecast. NATAS president Peter Price said Tuesday a decision could be made by year's end.
He declined to name the networks, though ABC and CBS -- which have traditionally carried the ceremony on a Friday night in late May or early June -- aren't likely to be in the running. ABC, which carried the telecast this year, isn't interested in doing it again in 2009 after CBS dropped out (next year was supposed to be CBS' turn as the two generally alternate).
"We're still talking to CBS and ABC but it's more likely going to be another network," Price said. While the NATAS deal for the Daytime Emmys telecast was a license fee last time, it has been a license fee and revenue share in past years. It could be one or both next time.
The 2008 Daytime Emmys hit an all-time low ratings low with 5.3 million viewers when it aired June 20. It has been a tough climate for many awards shows; the Miss America Pageant moved to cable several years ago.
"It's sort of the way that ratings are going, especially on a Friday night," Price said.
He wouldn't categorize talks, but said that straight broadcast, straight cable and "some creative ideas" from both have been discussed. But if the show is not on ABC or CBS, the focus likely will move away from the soaps, a staple on those networks.
"If it's being aired by a network other than CBS or ABC, you'll probably find more (of an emphasis on) talk shows and children's programing," Price said.
Also up in the air: where the Daytime Emmys will be held. This year's event took place at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood.
One thing is for sure: Price said there was "an agreement in principle" to move forward with a Hispanic Emmys ceremony. A telecast on a Spanish-language network like Univision or Telemundo could come by the end of 2009.