The Daytime Emmys are aspiring to get a party started.
ABC is betting that new categories, new interactive elements and a new Golden Globes-style seating arrangement will shake up Friday's live Daytime Emmys show at Hollywood's Kodak Theatre (airing 8-10 p.m. ET). Honoring everything from soaps to talk shows to game shows, the ceremony will be co-hosted by Sherri Shepherd from "The View" and Cameron Mathison from "All My Children."
"This going to be a really fun show," said Brian Frons, president of daytime TV for the Disney-ABC Television Group. "I think Sherri is the funniest person who's ever hosted the Daytime Emmys. She's spontaneous and works well in front of a live audience. And I don't think people realize how much chemistry she and Cameron have either. It's going to be a warm, upbeat Emmys."
Instead of sitting in the Kodak's stuffy theater seats, nominees will be gathered around their own banquet tables and allowed to sip booze from an open bar. Digital video cameras will be placed at the tables and attendees will be asked to document their personal experiences during the show. The footage will be uploaded to SoapNet.com throughout the live ceremony.
"Viewers will be able to get inside the show in a way that hasn't happened before," said Frons.
After plummeting to an all-time low of 6.1 million viewers in 2006, last year's Emmy Awards were watched by 8.3 million people, the ceremony's best ratings since 2004, according to Nielsen Media Research. That scaled-down, two-hour Daytime Emmys aired on CBS after a rebroadcast of Bob Barker's final "Price Is Right" episode and featured the game show host receiving his 19th Daytime Emmy.
This year, Ellen DeGeneres is competing for yet another talk show host trophy — she's won three straight times — against the ladies from "The View" — they've lost 10 straight times — as well as Regis Philbin and Kelly Ripa from "Live with Regis and Kelly."
What about Oprah Winfrey? After several sweeps, she's been taking herself and her show out of Daytime Emmy contention since 1999.
"I've got my acceptance speech altogether," Shepherd, who's nominated with "View" co-hosts Barbara Walters, Whoopi Goldberg, Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Joy Behar, told The Associated Press at the Kodak Theatre on Thursday. "I'm just going to say 'This is for you, Joy!' And then I'm going to bust Ellen in her knees."
Lifetime Achievement Award for Regis
Philbin is guaranteed to take home at least one trophy. The 76-year-old talk show host, who's show-business career can be traced back to his days as an NBC page in the 1950s, will be presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award by Jimmy Kimmel. Philbin has only won the talk show host category once in the 20 years he's hosted "Live." Current co-host Ripa has never won the category.
For the first time, "Dr. Phil" won't have to fight Philbin or DeGeneres in the outstanding talk show category. That's because "Dr. Phil," "The Tyra Banks Show" and PBS' "A Place of Our Own/Los Ninos en su Casa" — a daily show about child care that has English and Spanish versions — will spar in a new separate category: informative talk show.
Also new this year is the legal/courtroom program Daytime Emmy. Of the nine syndicated arbitrators currently airing on TV, "Judge Judy," "Judge Hatchett Show," "Cristina's Court," "The People's Court" and "Judge David Young" will duke it for the first legal Emmy. Formerly, veteran "Judge Judy" competed in a special class category against shows like "Trading Spaces" and "A Baby's Story."
"People say it's nice to be invited to the dance, but I say it's even better to be the prom queen," first-time nominee David Young told the AP. "I think everyone who's nominated is incredibly talented and dedicated to the world of law and the justice system, but I think my approach is different from any other judge out there, so I think I've got a really great chance of winning."
CBS' "The Young and the Restless" leads the soap categories with 17 nominations. It will compete against ABC's "General Hospital," CBS' "Guiding Light" and ABC's "One Life to Live" for outstanding drama series. CBS netted the most nominations this year with 56 nods overall. In a surprising upset, each of the five lead actress nominees all hail from only CBS soaps.
Competition was put aside Thursday during SoapNet's "Night Before Party" at Hollywood nightclub Crimson & Opera. Soap stars and company sipped special cocktails, played "Wii Fit" and received hand massages during the celebration. Shepherd and "All My Children" diva Susan Lucci, who famously won her first Daytime Emmy in 1999 after 19 nominations, held court in a corner booth at the event.