In 2008, the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS) divided the Daytime Emmy Award for talk show into two categories — entertainment and informative. The idea was to ensure that series competed against those that were similar in tone and subject matter. Yet, more than a decade later, there is some crossover. “The View,” for example, submits in the entertainment subcategory, despite featuring daily Hot Topics segments that focus on politics and news and undoubtedly end up educating some of its viewers. And “Rachael Ray,” which won in entertainment in 2008 and 2009, is now on the informative ballot.
“By design, our show crosses over through both categories,” says Janet Annino, senior executive producer at “Rachael Ray.” “On a given day, we’ll have a celebrity sitting at the table, Tony Bennett singing, or we’ll devote an entire hour to tips and tricks. If asked to define our show, people here may say it’s a daytime variety show.”
The decision to switch categories, Annino says, was made because “as the landscape changed, it felt like it was time for a fresh evaluation of where our show fell on the scale.” Included in one of “Rachael Ray’s” Daytime Emmy submissions this year is a segment featuring the North Shore Animal League rescuing puppies from a mill; it demonstrates an informative aspect.
“A real passion of Rachael’s is where people get to learn something, but they’re also entertained,” Annino says.
Similarly, Facebook Watch’s “Red Table Talk,” a freshman series and therefore complete newbie in the awards race, went informative because the series explores topics such as mental health, race and domestic violence. Guests have included TV stars Ellen Pompeo (“Grey’s Anatomy”) and Justin Baldoni (“Jane the Virgin”), but the celebrities usually come on to chat about social issues — not their latest projects.
“Bringing communities together around issues that matter and sharing different viewpoints is what our show is about, which is why we went with the informative category,” says Ellen Rakieten, executive producer of “Red Table Talk.”
Meanwhile, joining “The View” in the entertainment category are nominees “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” “A Little Help With Carol Burnett,” “The Real” and “The Talk.”
John Redmann, who executive produces “The Talk,” says the two categories really are “apples and oranges. You’re comparing a show that primarily makes you laugh versus one that’s educational. I’m glad they split them.”