NEW YORK — It took 19 noms, but thesp Susan Lucci has finally snagged a Daytime Emmy award — ending the longest-running real-life storyline in sudsland.
Lucci, who plays oft-devious Erica Kane on the ABC sudser “All My Children,” captured her first-ever Emmy statuette Friday, winning for outstanding lead actress in a drama. She had previously been nominated in the category 18 times, losing each year.
“I truly never believed this would happen,” a seemingly stunned Lucci said of her win as she waged a losing battle with her tear ducts.
The victory was greeted by an extended standing ovation from the aud attending the 26th annual ceremonies, telecast live by CBS from Gotham’s the Theater at Madison Square Garden. Some in the crowd, including multiple Emmy winner Rosie O’Donnell, could be seen shedding tears over Lucci’s long-delayed triumph.
Saga of Lucci and the Emmys stretches back to 1978, when the actress earned her first nom (and loss) for outstanding leading actress. After a three-year break, Lucci was nominated (and lost) again every year from 1981 to 1998, save for 1994, when she was ignored by voters.
The will-she-finally-win-it storyline gave visibility to a kudocast that might otherwise have been ignored by most media outlets. It also made Lucci one of the best-known thesps in daytime.
Lucci’s win somewhat overshadowed a triumphant evening for Alphabet sudser “General Hospital,” which won a leading eight Daytime Emmys on Friday, including best drama series and best writing team. Anthony Geary, who plays Luke Spencer on “GH,” was named best lead actor.
Among the major webs, ABC took home the most Emmys on Friday, scoring six statuettes, while CBS snagged three and NBC none. At the nontelevised portion of the Daytime Emmys earlier this month, NBC won six awards, ABC snagged five and CBS earned four.
‘Money’ cashes in
“Win Ben Stein’s Money” roused the usually sleepy gameshow category. The humorous quiz skein, produced by Buena Vista Television for cabler Comedy Central, defeated usual category winners “The Price Is Right” and “Jeopardy!” as well as new entry “Hollywood Squares.” Politico-turned-thesp Ben Stein won for best gameshow host.
Warner Bros.’ “The Rosie O’Donnell Show” was named best talkshow, while O’Donnell won her third straight victory for best talkshow host.
The 26th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards were presented by the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences in association with the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.
A complete list of Daytime Emmy winners follows:
General Hospital – Wendy Riche, executive producer; Julie Hanan Carruthers, senior supervising producer; Carol Scott, Lisa Levenson, Hope Harmel Smith, producers; Marty Vagts, coordinating producer; Shelley Curtis, consulting producer (ABC)
Game/audience participation show
Win Ben Stein’s Money – Andrew J. Golder, Al Burton, Byron Glore, executive producers; Terrence McDonnell, producer (Comedy Central)
Disney Presents Bill Nye the Science Guy – Erren Gottleib, James McKenna, Elizabeth Brock, executive producers; Jamie Hammond, Hamilton Mcculloch, coordinating producers; Bill Nye, producer (syn)
The Island on Bird Street – Tivi Magnusson, Rudy Cohen, producers (Showtime)
Children’s Animated Program
Arthur – Carol Greenwald, Micheline Charest, executive producers; Ronald A. Weinberg, Cassandra Schafhausen, supervising producers; Lesley Taylor, coordinating producer; Marc Brown, producer; Geoff Adams, producer (live action); Ken Scarborough, Joe Fallon, head writer; Peter K. Hirsch, Sandra Willard, writers; Greg Bailey, Debra Toffan, directors (PBS)
The Rosie O’Donnell Show – Rosie O’Donnell, Roni Selig, Hilary Estey McLoughlin, executive producers; Andy Lassner, supervising producer; Bernie Young, coordinating producer; David Perler, senior producer; Lauren Berlly, Rob Dauber, Corin Nelson, Mimi Pizzi, John Redmann, Sandra Aiken, Janette Barber, Rita Barry, Christina Deyo, Deirdre Dod, Judy Gold, David Lang, Terence Noonan, Liza Persky, Joan Petrocelli, Krysia Plonka, Lisa Rechsteiner, Ted Smith, Joy Trapani, producers (syn)
Lead actress in a drama series
Susan Lucci – “All My Children” (ABC)
Lead actor in a drama series
Anthony Geary – “General Hospital” (ABC)
Supporting actress in a drama series
Sharon Case – “The Young and the Restless” (CBS)
Supporting actor in a drama series
Stuart Damon – “General Hospital” (ABC)
Younger actress in a drama series
Heather Tom – “The Young and the Restless” (CBS)
Younger actor in a drama series
Jonathan Jackson – “General Hospital” (ABC)
Performer in an animated program
Rob Paulsen – “Steven Spielberg Presents: Pinky and the Brain” (WB)
Ben Stein & Jimmy Kimmel – “Win Ben Stein’s Money” (Comedy Central)
Talk Show Host
Rosie O’Donnell – “The Rosie O’Donnell Show” (syn)
Drama Series – Directing Team
The Young & the Restless – Heather H. Hill, Mike Denney, Kathryn Foster, Sally McDonald, directors; Betty Rothenberg, Dan Brumett, Noel Maxam, associate directors; Randall Hill, Don Jacob, Bret Warren, stage managers (CBS)
Drama Series – writing team
General Hospital – Robert Guza, Jr., head writer; Michele Val Jean, Patrick Mulcahey, Elizabeth Korte, Mary Ryan, associate head writers; Stephen Demorest, Garin Wolf, breakdown writers; Craig Heller, Bill Levinson, Michael Quinn, script writers (ABC)