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Daytime Emmys ready for primetime

Producers shape show to reach wide audience

Now that the Daytime Emmys have a new network home, producers want to make sure the CW can lure viewers who don’t know the difference between “Guiding Light” and “Grill It! With Bobby Flay.”

To that end, Grammy, Tony and Emmy nominee Vanessa Williams has been tapped as the show’s host.

“We’re very much trying to up the entertainment value of this program, and by bringing on Vanessa we hope to accomplish just that,” says Frank Radice, president of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

“She’s the whole package and was always on our shortlist,” says Jim Romanovich, president of Associated Television Intl., which is producing the two-hour kudocast Aug. 30.

Pending schedules, Radice anticipates that musical artists David Foster, Eric Benet and Dave Koz (who wrote a theme for “General Hospital”) are going to play together in a tribute to great soap couples past and present.

An “In Memoriam” tribute is planned to honor deceased daytimers from the last year including “One Life to Live” actors Phil Carey and Clint Ritchie. Since last year’s awards didn’t have a tribute, the late Beverlee McKinsey (“Another World,” “Guiding Light”), who died in 2008 and is hailed by many critics as one of the genre’s greatest actresses, may also be included.

Watch for tributes to 40-year-old “Sesame Street,” which will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award, and to recently canceled sudser “Guiding Light.” A segment from the documentary “Daytime Gives Back,” which covers the trip of daytime actors who went to Kenya as part of a Feed the Children initiative, is also set to air.

Certainly there will be presenters who appear on CW series to help familiarize viewers.

With sudsers taking a major plunge in ratings over the past few years and “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” and “The View” receiving plenty of headlines, there will be as much anticipation for best talkshow and talkshow host as for top drama series.

When it comes to winners making acceptance speeches, Radice feels producers should allow them more time, especially if the sentiment expressed is heartfelt and not a laundry list of thank-yous.

Radice also hopes to incorporate Web technology into the show to create a more interactive experience between winners and their fans.

“We could have people Twittering throughout the show or going to a blogger station if they want to thank someone (they forget to in their speech),” he says. “There are a lot of ideas in the hopper, none of which have completely percolated.”

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