Daytime Drama: 5 Emmy Races to Watch

From left to right: Elizabeth Vargas, George Stephanopoulos, Tom Bergeron
From left to right: Elizabeth Vargas, George Stephanopoulos, Tom Bergeron
 ABC

This story first appeared in the April 5 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

No. 1: Morning Show

For more than two decades, NBC’s Today was top-rated in this category and always favored to win the Daytime Emmy, as it did again in 2012. This year, however, ABC’s Good Morning America has taken the ratings lead while Today has undergone several embarrassing personnel changes, making GMA a more potent contender. And, for once, one can’t rule out the reinvented CBS This Morning, which could emerge a surprise breakout competitor.

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No. 2: Informative Talk Show

Dr. Phil has dominated the ratings among talk shows this past season, which has been one of the host’s best. However, it has been a perennial Emmy loser: Despite annual nominations, the show never has won. The production company behind Dr. Phil also does The Doctors, the winner in 2010 and a nominee in 2012. Both lost to The Dr. Oz Show last year, but the latter’s ratings have gone flat and the show seems to have lost some of its buzz. The field seems ripe for an upstart spoiler.

No. 3: Entertainment Talk Show

While shows hosted by newbie Jeff Probst and the returning Ricki Lake tanked, Steve Harvey's emerged victorious. A hit among critics and the target female audience, his talk show will compete against series enjoying banner ratings years: Ellen and Live With Kelly & Michael, which won last year when Regis Philbin still ruled. And one can’t rule out CBS’ buzzy gabfest The Talk or Katie Couric, whose Katie was the year’s highest-rated new syndicated talk show.

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No. 4: Legal/Courtroom Program

After 14 straight nominations, Judge Judy dropped off this list in 2012 despite the highest ratings in syndicated TV (her recent bizarre legal dust-up with a producer’s ex-wife over china probably hasn’t helped repair her image). Last year’s winner, Last Shot With Judge Gunn, became the first court show to win after only one year on air and the first winner among nontraditional shows (mixing in reality-style footage), which could set up another year of surprises.

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No. 5: Drama Series

The biggest question might not be which show will win -- General Hospital did last year -- but which will be nominated. Could One Life to Live, a long-running series canceled by ABC but still eligible for competition, make the cut? Or will rising ratings for the four surviving network daytime soaps (down from a dozen two decades ago), including CBS’ The Young and the Restless and NBC’s Days of Our Lives, boost their chances of scoring Emmy gold? All My Children is not eligible because it ended prior to the deadline. 

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