CW, Daytime Emmys in cliffhanger

Will awards show find time on network?

The CW is in talks to telecast this year’s Daytime Emmy kudocast, the network confirmed Wednesday.

No deal is in place yet, and insiders said the kudofest could still end up on a cable home (with SoapNet believed to be in the running).

But news of the CW talks settled fears that the show might not go on. CBS had the option to air this year’s Daytime Emmys, but passed. ABC, which aired the kudofest last year and had been rotating with the Eye in airing the show (NBC dropped out after 2004), opted not to step in and take it over.

Since then, the New York-based National Academy of TV Arts and Sciences, which administers the daytime awards, has been looking for a new home.

It had been the latest setback for the awards show, which two years ago was moved out of the May sweeps and dumped into the dead zone of June.

Last year, the Daytime Emmys posted its lowest rating yet, attracting just 5.4 million viewers and a 1.2 rating/4 share among adults 18-49.

Now, with talks still ongoing in late March, the Daytime Emmys aren’t expected to take place until late summer, pushing them right up next to the Primetime Emmy Awards, held in September by NATAS’ Los Angeles-based rival, the Academy of TV Arts and Sciences.

According to the L.A. Times, which broke the story, Aug. 31 is being eyed for the event, which would be held at the Orpheum Theater in downtown Los Angeles.

That would mean the kudocast would move to Monday, which could help improve the show’s paltry numbers; the Daytime Emmys has seen its fortunes dramatically decline since moving to Friday in 1998.

Reps for National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences were unavailable for comment. But insiders said that this week’s announcement that NATAS and ATAS had resolved their recent legal skirmish — and would start looking for new ways to work together — could wind up improving he fate of the Daytime Emmys. It’s too late for this year, but ATAS likely once again will start assisting NATAS in coordinating the Daytime Emmy kudofest, particularly if it remains on ATAS’ home Los Angeles turf.

ATAS actually had started collaborating with NATAS on the Daytime kudos, but the two sides — which have sparred almost continuously since the 1977 divorce that separated them into two — renewed their hostilities earlier this decade. After that, the cooperation on the Daytime show disappeared.

Now, should talks prove successful, the Daytime Emmys would rep the first major awards franchise to land on CW.

“It looked like the show was flatlining, and now it has a second wind, and the best place to get a second wind is on a youth-oriented network,” said reality TV producer Jonathan Reiner, who won a Daytime Emmy for producing “Starting Over.”

It’s unclear how much of a license fee, if any, the Dub Net will be paying to broadcast the show. But it’s likely the network will get the telecast for a relatively inexpensive fee, and as a result, it could serve as a cheap original event to air on the eve of the launch of the fall season.

For NATAS, having the Daytime Emmys on the CW would allow the org to save face, as it means the kudocast would remain on a broadcast net. Meanwhile, because CW doesn’t air any soap operas, the show may have an easier time attracting presenters from all three nets.

Plus, the kudofest could showcase young stars from CW’s primetime shows.

(Michael Maloney contributed to this report.)

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