Show tries to revive with new network, venue

As a prank last year, “Days of Our Lives” actor Bryan Dattilo hopped onstage and mingled with performers from “General Hospital” when the hospital-themed sudser won top drama series.

At the Daytime Emmy Awards on Sunday, Dattilo may get close to the podium as a legitimate winner, as “Days” is one of three nominees in the category, along with “The Bold and the Beautiful” and “All My Children.” “All My Children” leads all shows with 19 nominations.

Some may say Dattilo is fortunate in even getting the chance.

The Daytime Emmys have been an awards stepchild for years and was on the verge of cancellation after CBS decided not to renew its contract.

In trying to remove itself from life support, the kudocast is making a major move this year from Hollywood to downtown Los Angeles. After much haggling with different venues and networks, the event is being held at the Orpheum Theater and will air on the CW at 8 p.m.

Before the netlet stepped in, there was even talk the Daytime Emmys might become a Web-only affair.

But the show goes on — at least for one more year — and “Ugly Betty” thesp Vanessa Williams has been tapped to host and will perform two musical numbers, including the show’s opener.

One theme of the evening will surely be the end of CBS’ daytime staple “Guiding Light,” which is departing after a 72-year run. Expect many presenters and nominees to pay tribute to the show that helped define daytime television.

CBS will replace “Guiding Light,” which goes off on Sept. 18, with a reworked edition of classic gameshow “Let’s Make a Deal.”

“As sad as we are that the show has ended, you have to be grateful and marvel at how long the show was able to survive,” says Grant Aleksander, who has appeared on “Guiding Light” on and off since 1982.

Although there were a slew of “Guiding Light” vets to introduce the tribute for the show, producers have selected TV institution Betty White to do the honors.

“(Betty’s) career is certainly analogous to ‘Guiding Light’ in that both have weathered a lot of different transitions,” says Aleksander.

Outside the sudser world, other genres will be looking for acclaim at the Orpheum.

“Rachael Ray” will seek to defend its entertainment talkshow title against “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” and “Live With Regis and Kelly,” while freshman strip “The Doctors” eyes the informative talkshow prize.

The broadcast will also include a human interest segment that documents daytime actors aiding children in Africa and bringing school supplies to students in Harlem.

“It’ll be an emotional peak,” says consulting exec producer Al Schwartz. “Like all awards shows, we’re going to try to have some surprises, too.”

“Grey’s Anatomy” co-star Sandra Oh will present the lifetime achievement award to “Sesame Street,” which celebrates its 40th anniversary.

TIP SHEET

What: 36th annual Daytime Emmys

When: 8 p.m. Sunday

Network: CW

Where: Orpheum Theater, Los Angeles

Web: emmyonline.org/daytime

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