Daytime Emmys haven't undergone a big shift yet

Category changes led to surprising nominations

This year's Daytime Emmy Award nominations, announced April 30, have made a couple of things clear: Voters are willing to take chances on struggling shows and shut out veterans. Nothing is guaranteed.

CBS continued its reign over daytime serials, but NBC's "Days of Our Lives" made a surprise grab for four acting awards. The syndicated "Judge Judy" finally got a category to call her own, while Discovery Channel's "Cash Cab" has joined hallowed company alongside a series of long-running game shows. The second year of the morning show category saw a new entry from CNN, and even syndies like "Dr. Phil" and "The Tyra Banks Show" are set to duke it out in the new informative talk show ring.

"The fact that there are new categories for the first time in a long time suggests a broadening, or an including, on the academy's part," says

T.L. Stanley, editor of The Hollywood Reporter's year-round awards blog Gold Rush. "In the past, there were people and shows who couldn't compete or got lost in their categories, so this addresses the varied aspects of television programming."

Here's a breakdown of some of the main categories, and who's likely to take home awards on the telecast program, which airs on June 20 at 8 p.m. on ABC, broadcast from the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood.

Drama

When it comes to soaps, CBS is the HBO of daytime. The network's "Guiding Light" and long-running "The Young and the Restless" are up for the top drama trophy, paired against ABC's "General Hospital" and "One Life to Live." Meanwhile, the Tiffany Network's soap stars occupied seven of the 10 lead acting nominations, including all five slots for lead actress.

Just as noteworthy is the handful of acting noms for "Days." The last of NBC's soaps -- "Passions" is officially gone -- hasn't seen much awards recognition in the past decade and is at risk of being canceled for poor ratings. The nominations give the series prestige, but Stanley remains dubious as to whether they can save the show: "Do networks care about a show's nominations if the ratings are low? It really is a matter of dollars and cents when it comes down to it."

Thirty-five-year "Y&R" grand dame Jeanne Cooper landed her umpteenth nod for lead actress and will be looking for a first-ever win. Last year's nominees "As the World Turns'" Maura West, "GL's" Crystal Chappell and "Y&R's" Michelle Stafford also compete. "GL's" Nicole Forester fills in the vacancy likely left by co-star and four-time winner Kim Zimmer, who withdrew from this year's running.

On the men's side, "All My Children" vet David Canary and "General Hospital" star Anthony Geary will seek a tiebreaker -- each has won the award five times -- while "Days'" Thaao Penghlis and "Y&R's" Peter Bergman and Christian LeBlanc hope to end the ABC vets' streaks.

Talk Show

Did splitting the talk show category into two this year shake up the nominees? Not really: Last year's candidates simply got sorted into new headings.

"The Ellen Degeneres Show," which has won the talk award for the past two years, "Rachael Ray" and ABC's "The View" will compete for the entertainment talk show prize, while "Dr. Phil" and "The Tyra Banks Show" will vie for best informative talk show. PBS' Peabody Award-winning series "A Place of Our Own" (and its Spanish counterpart, "Los Ninos en Su Casa") the genre's only newcomer, rounds out the informative race.



In the morning show battle, NBC's "Today" and ABC's "Good Morning America" will get some competition from CNN's "American Morning," an interesting addition considering that CBS' "The Early Show" didn't make the cut for outstanding morning program.

The most notably absent would-be series contender was "Live With Regis and Kelly," which managed a nomination in last year's debut morning show race. This year, however, the duo submitted in entertainment talk show and came up empty. The pair are up for the talk show host award, alongside Degeneres and the ladies of "The View," but multiple-host nominees historically get snubbed.

Children

New faces showed up in the children's series category, with kid kingpin PBS garnering nominations for "Design Squad" and "Postcards From Buster," while Discovery Channel's science guy scored with "Greatest Inventions With Bill Nye," as did the latest from Jack Hanna, "Jack Hanna's Into the Wild." Ditto the preschool competition, save for the category's sole winner, PBS' "Sesame Street." It will be joined this year by a first-time nominee from Nickelodeon's Noggin, "Jack's Big Music Show"; Nick Jr. franchise "Blue's Room"; and a pair from PBS, "Between the Lions" and "Super Why!"

Brit import "Charlie and Lola," about the friendship between 7-year-old Charlie and his kid sister, and Disney's "Little Einsteins" will contend in the animated race with return nominees "Arthur" (PBS), "Curious George" (PBS) and "Peep and the Big Wide World" (Discovery).

... And the Rest

The new courtroom/legal series race will see veteran shows "Judge Judy," "The People's Court" and "Judge Hatchett" (up for its swan song season) face off with new kids on the block "Cristina's Court" and "Judge David Young." Voters will likely favor the top-rated "Judy" or "People's Court," which is widely considered the pioneering show in the genre. (But odds are good on "Judy," which has been nominated 10 times in the special class categories.) Passed over were longtime decisionmakers "Judge Joe Brown," "Judge Alex" and "Divorce Court."

Martha Stewart pulled an Oprah this year, electing not to submit at all, having long dominated the lifestyle and service categories. But recent years have shut her out of wins, and experts say that her camp feels the hybrid nature of "The Martha Stewart Show" might be beyond categorization. (Take that, Emmy!) Instead, a glut of food-themed shows -- Food Network's "Everyday Italian" and "Nigella Express," and PBS' "Gourmet's Diary of a Foodie" and "Lidia's Italy" -- will contend with DIY Network rookie "Witch Crafts." Perennial nominee (and sometimes winner) "This Old House" (PBS) found itself ignored.

"Cash Cab" also made inroads, bumping "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" from the game/audience participation show race -- other nominees are "Jeopardy" and CBS' "The Price Is Right" -- and a second nomination for host Ben Bailey. New "Price" emcee Drew Carey didn't make the host cut, so Bailey instead will go up against Alex Trebek and Pat Sajak.

And in the special class section, MTV's in-college network mtvU scored recognition for its series "Cause Effect," while MTV proper's "Made" will once again be up for the award (which it won in the past). Growing channel the Style Network came up with two contenders as well in "Instant Beauty Pageant" and "Split Ends." Travel Channel's "Samantha Brown: Passport to Latin America" also competes.



5 Things You Didn't Know About This Year's Awards....

1. This year for the first time, both nominees and winners in the Daytime Emmys were determined by a single round of judging -- but only nominees have thus far been announced.

2. The titular judge of "Judge Hatchett" serves on the board of the Atlanta Falcons.

3. As a budget analyst for the White House, Ina Garten (host of Food Network's "Barefoot Contessa") wrote policy papers for Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter.

4. If ABC's "General Hospital" wins the top drama prize, it will break its own record. The show has won the award nine times, more than any other soap.

5. The cast and crew of CBS' "The Young and the Restless" have consumed more than 166,250 gallons of coffee on set over the last 35 years.
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