Daytime Emmys letting loose at Kodak Theater

The Daytime Emmy Awards, set for June 20 at the Kodak Theater, may share the same venue as the Oscars, but this year’s ceremony is going to look and feel more like the irreverent Golden Globes than the Academy Awards.

In organizing the kudofest, Disney daytime president Brian Frons, White Cherry Prods. and the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences are going to place nominees not in traditional auditorium seats but rather at banquet tables to help create more of a party atmosphere.

“It’s going to be a unique configuration,” says NATAS prexy Peter Price. “The VIP dinner will take place with the theater audience. It’s not quite theater-in-the-round, but that’s the concept.”

ABC will provide video cameras at the tables, allowing nominees to record the proceedings. Content will be available at either ABC.com or its sister website, the recently relaunched SoapNet.com. “Fans will be able to go to their computers and get footage of the party while it’s going on,” Frons says.

In an attempt to draw more than just soap opera fans to the broadcast, producers plan to give focus to non-daytime drama categories, including a newly created one that will give a statuette to the top syndicated TV court program.

Soap fans who tune in won’t be disappointed, however. In addition to several categories dedicated to daytime dramas, Frons says the broadcast will include tributes to sudsers “General Hospital,” “One Life to Live,” and “The Young and the Restless,” which are celebrating their 45th, 40th and 35th anniversaries, respectively.

ABC was still firming up deals with a host and a musical act.

“We have an offer out to a host who is very much in the vein of trying to broaden viewer interest in the show,” Frons says. “We also have an offer out to a musical guest, as well, who has a slight connection to our world, but who also has a fan base of his or her own.”

One star that will be there without question is Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Regis Philbin.

“We’re excited about that,” Frons says. “Regis has reached out to some really interesting people to do the presentation.” Adds Price: “He’s so easy. I think we could have done it around the corner in a cafe and he’d still be delighted.”

Executives wanting to attract future audiences for Daytime Emmy broadcasts may consider creating (or rejuvenating) awards show categories that would draw more mainstream entertainment viewers.

In 1987, for example, five actors were nominated for guest performer in a drama series. If enough high-profile actors did daytime stints (such as Shirley Jones’ turn on “Days of our Lives” in January or Betty White in “The Bold and the Beautiful”), that celebrity-driven category could be revived.

“If we do add that for next year, it would be decided by October,” says Brent Stanton, NATAS’ exec director of daytime. “It would certainly add some luster to the Daytime Emmy show.”

TIP SHEET

What: 35th annual Daytime Emmys

When: June 20

Where: Kodak Theater

Who: Regis Philbin will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award.

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