New Emmy category for morning crew

Will 'Live' be honored with latest prize?

The Daytime Emmys’ new category honoring the best morning program might as well be subtitled “The Regis and Kelly Award”– or so it would seem.

Kudo is designed to honor an a.m. show that excels in programming that revolves around human interest stories, pop culture and entertainment. And its creation follows nearly two decades of the National TV Academy snubbing the Regis Philbin-hosted “Live,” which — despite numerous noms — hasn’t been able to win a best talkshow Emmy.

It didn’t even matter if Kathie Lee Gifford or Kelly Ripa was Reege’s co-host: The show has kept losing.

So when longtime “Live” exec producer Michael Gelman heard about the new morning show category, “I started thinking that it looks like this category was meant just for us,” he says.

In fact, though “Live” did get nominated, the rules for the category indicate that it also may have been created for the network breakfastcasts, such as fellow nominees “Today” and “Good Morning America.”

“In the past, morning programs such as ‘Today’ and ‘GMA’ were only able to enter segments or stories into the News and Documentary Emmy Awards,” explains Brent Stanton, exec director of the Daytime Entertainment Emmy Awards.

But while the new category might not have been created for “Live,” there’s still a shot the show could benefit from the change.

For one thing, it will now be competing against shows with similar formats. Talkers such as “Ellen,” “Dr. Phil” and “Rachael Ray” are highly produced shows that tape in advance of broadcast, allowing for more planning and editing.

Those skeins achieve “a level of perfection you don’t achieve during a live show,” Gelman says. “Our show is more about having a good time and going with the flow.”

Academy gave “Live” (and other shows, including “The View”) a choice of whether to enter in the new category or the traditional talker competition. Gelman says that while the morning show category “may be skewed a little toward news,” he ultimately decided it was a better fit with the “Live” format.

“I think we should be in a category where we compete against other live shows,” he says.

So will “Live” finally end its Susan Lucci-like losing streak and pick up an Emmy? Gelman, perhaps channeling Reege’s legendary pessimism about honors, isn’t so sure.

“I’m not that optimistic,” he admits. “We don’t have a history of winning, and the category is ambiguous.”

Of course, losing does have an upside.

“It’s another year of material for Regis,” Gelman laughs.

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