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Daytime Emmys' Night Has Arrived

June 23, 1991|LIBBY SLATE

Daytime programming, long the Rodney Dangerfield of television, finally gets some respect this week. For the first time in their 18-year history, the Daytime Emmy Awards will be broadcast in prime time via tape-delay Thursday night on CBS.

The soaps account for 81 nominations in 20 categories. "Guiding Light" leads all with 16 nods, followed by "The Young and the Restless" with 12 and "All My Children," "As the World Turns" and "Santa Barbara" with 10 each. Other program categories include game/audience participation, talk/service, children's and animated shows.

The obvious question: After almost two decades, why air the Daytime Emmys--which the networks carry on a rotating basis--in prime time?

"Why not?" said Lucy Antek Johnson, vice president of daytime programs at CBS. "We think there's a large audience for those (daytime) programs, especially when it's that time of year when there is not a lot of programming to compete with and the viewers are ready for something special. It's a vote of confidence for this programming area. Daytime has arrived at a place where it has a dignity and appeal for a nighttime audience as well."

Produced by awards show veteran Dick Clark and hosted by Bob Barker, himself an Emmy nominee for "The Price is Right," the ceremony will have the high gloss of other evening-bestowed honors, Johnson says. "We're taking the same approach as we would to the Tonys or Oscars. The daytime ones had been luncheons at tables. This will feel like a prime-time gala."

"It's very exciting," said Emmy nominee William J. Bell Sr., co-creator and executive producer of "The Bold and the Beautiful" and "The Young and the Restless." "We'll have exposure to people not normally aware of us and our product. Since nighttime seems to be getting away from most of the continuing dramas, we are offering viewers an endangered species where prime time is concerned."

Said fellow nominee Felicia Minei Behr, executive producer of "All My Children": "More and more, people are taping daytime shows to watch at night when they get home from work."

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