New York’s 6,000-seat Radio City Music Hall could have been re-named Ellen DeGeneres Music Hall on Friday, with the 32nd annual Daytime Emmy Awards ceremony showering gold on the talk-show host and her program.
The Ellen DeGeneres Show swept the night: It took home five Emmys in all, including those for outstanding talk show and for talk-show host. DeGeneres, 47, who executive produces her program, won the show prize last year, but this was the first time she received the hosting honor from the TV group.
DeGeneres, who attended the show with girlfriend Portia de Rossi, 32, and her mother, Betty (whom Ellen wished a happy birthday to during one of her acceptance speeches), said backstage that she was overwhelmed by the recognition.
“That’s why I was crying when I won,” she said. “There are a lot of talented people who work very hard and have been doing this for a very long time.” As for any pre-show predictions that she might do so well at the ceremony: “When people say, ‘You’re a shoo-in to win for sure,’ I never think that way. I know that we love what we do and we’re proud of the show, but that doesn’t guarantee anything.”
Meredith Vieira, who does double-duty hosting (or, actually, co-hosting) The View and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, was nominated for both but scored an Emmy for the latter, as outstanding game-show host. It was her first victory in a race that also included The Price Is Right‘s Bob Barker and Alex Trebek, whose Jeopardy! was named outstanding game show for the 10th time.
Of her varied career, Vieira, 51, said backstage when asked if she hoped to branch out into hosting Barbara Walters-type specials: “I never think that far ahead. Who would’ve thought I’d be doing a game show when I was on 60 Minutes? I like the quality of my career. I’d never say no to pretty much anything.”
At last weekend’s pre-Emmy awards ceremony, the defunct Martha Stewart Living took the Emmy for outstanding service show, and its host (still under house arrest) was in attendance at Radio City on Friday. Still, she lost the service-show host award to two guys who tied: chefs Bobby Flay, 40, of Boy Meets Grill and Michael Chiarello, 42, of Easy Entertaining With Michael Chiarello, both of the Food Network.
Among daytime dramas, General Hospital was named outstanding series for a record eighth time. In other soap categories, Erika Slezak (Victoria Davidson on One Life to Live), 58, won for her sixth time as lead actress in a drama series; and first-time winner Christian Jules LeBlanc (Michael Baldwin on The Young and the Restless), 46, was named best lead actor in a drama series.
Primetime winner Stockard Channing, 61, who usually gets her Emmys for The West Wing, got a daytime award as outstanding performer in a children-youth-family special for her role in Showtime’s Jack. Meanwhile, former Happy Days actor Henry Winkler, 59, won the Emmy for outstanding performer in an animated program for his role in PBS’s Clifford’s Puppy Days.
And entertainment mogul Merv Griffin, 79, who created Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune and hosted his own talk show in the 1960s, received the lifetime achievement award.
Accepting his award, the legendary Griffin said to DeGeneres, who was standing in the wings: “I watch you every day.”