Shifts in priorities and setting aimed at widening audience

Moving to Sin City and adding more entertainment are major changes to this year’s Daytime Emmys.

Associated Television Intl., producing the two-hour show for the second year in a row, is aiming to attract both daytime fans and those unfamiliar with the genre by making the entertainment portions of the program universally appealing.

Cher, Barry Manilow and Cirque de Soleil are among the headliners being bandied about to appear, though deals were still being finalized at press time.

“Before we came on board, the Daytime Emmys seemed to be trying too hard to be current, rather just entertain people,” says Jim Romanovich, ATI president of worldwide media and entertainment. “Because we’ll be in Las Vegas, the entertainment value will be beyond anything seen before.”

The show’s all-star tribute to Dick Clark will also include appearances by Simon Cowell, Ryan Seacrest and Donny Osmond. Hiring fan favorite and nominee Regis Philbin (“Live With Regis & Kelly”) as host might also draw in non-daytime viewers.

“He’s the best,” says Romanovich. “He represents history, class and showmanship.”

“People aren’t really interested in viewing an industry awards event with a collection of talking heads, nor would we waste our time with that,” Romanovich adds. “That’s why the show was dead in early 2009. We and CBS agree this is an entertainment show first, an awards show second.”

Soap fans can count on a strong presence of daytime stars. The night’s final award is expected to go to the top dramatic serial. Before that, Susan Lucci (“All My Children”) will present the Lifetime Achievement Award to her soap’s creator, Agnes Nixon.

Shifting the show to Las Vegas has created a newfound sense of excitement within the daytime community.

“Everyone’s excited,” says talent manager Michael Bruno, whose clients include acting nominees Ricky Paull Goldin (“All My Children”) and Julie Pinson (“As the World Turns”). “Overall, there may be fewer people attending, but it’ll make it more fun for the people who are going. It’ll bring us closer.”

A rep for last year’s top daytime drama series, “The Bold and the Beautiful,” says that relocating the awards show hasn’t affected show attendees. Approximately 70 cast and crew will turn out to see if “Bold” will repeat last year’s victory. An ABC rep says viewers can expect to see a “robust” turnout of Alphabet stars.

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