By Alan Carter
Special to TelevisionWeek
First-time winners and youth were the big story at the 32nd Annual Daytime Emmy Awards held Friday evening at New York’s Radio City Music Hall and broadcast on CBS.
The awards, which acknowledge excellence in soaps, talk, game and children’s programming, saw a few upsets as younger performers beat favored veterans in many of the drama categories.
In the soap arena, big awards were spread all across the board with some of the more high-profile wins going to ABC’s “General Hospital” (best show, directing, supporting actress) and CBS’s “The Young and the Restless” (actor, supporting actor, younger leading actor).
Erika Slezak (“One Life to Live”) helped buck the youth and newcomer trend, winning her unprecedented sixth Emmy as outstanding actress. She won over last year’s winner, (the favored) Michelle Stafford (“The Young and the Restless”). Her “Y&R” co-star, Christian J. LeBlanc, said he wanted to say something profound on winning his first award as best actor, but laughed and said “I got nothing.”
Supporting actor and first-time nominee Greg Rikaart (“Y&R”) beat six-time winner Justin Deas (“Guiding Light”) and two-time winner Rick Hearst (“General Hospital”). Younger Leading Actor David Lago (who was let go from “Y&R”) bested previous winner Jacob Young (“All My Children”). Eden Riegel (ex-“All My Children”) won as younger leading actress and thanked the writers for creating her “exquisite character,” daytime’s first notable and prominent lesbian role.
First-time nominee Natalia Livingston (“General Hospital”) also won the her first award as supporting actress, beating veterans Jeanne Cooper (“Y&R”) and Ilene Kristen (“One Life to Live”).
Talk show host Ellen DeGeneres was an omnipresent presence on the show as well as a big winner. Her eponymous show won as best talk show (for the second year in a row) and she also copped the prize for leading talk show host. She also presented the Lifetime Achievement Award to former talk show host and game show creator Merv Griffin.
“Jeopardy!” won as oustanding game show for the 10th time in 24 nods. Meredith Vieira won as game show host for the first time in two tries beating the heavily favored Bob Barker.
Most of the craft awards (lighting, make-up, hair, costuming, special class writing) were handed out in ceremonies on May 14 on both coasts.
For a full list of winners, go to the National Academy Web site at http://emmyonline.com.