LOS ANGELES – Ellen Degeneres has no plans to stop with her fourth consecutive Daytime Emmy for talk show host.
DeGeneres picked up the honor Friday night during the 35th annual Daytime Emmy ceremony at Hollywood's Kodak Theatre. Rookie "Rachael Ray" cooked up a surprising win in the talk show category, beating veteran talk show winners "The View" and "The Ellen DeGeneres Show."
Would DeGeneres consider pulling an Oprah Winfrey and refrain from submitting herself for future honors?
"I'm not going to take my name out," DeGeneres deadpanned backstage. "Oprah has made so many bad choices. Look at her career."
"General Hospital," which celebrated its 45th anniversary this year, was honored with a record-breaking 10th drama Daytime Emmy. Anthony Geary, who plays Luke Spencer on the ABC show, took the lead actor honor, while Jeanne Cooper of CBS' "The Young and the Restless" won lead actress.
As host, DeGeneres again bested Regis Philbin and Kelly Ripa from "Live with Regis and Kelly" — as well as Barbara Walters, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, Joy Behar, Whoopi Goldberg and Sherri Shepherd from "The View," the 11th consecutive loss for the "View" ladies as hosts.
Other acting honors went to supporting actress Gina Tognoni of CBS' "Guiding Light"; supporting actor Kristoff St. John of "The Young and the Restless"; younger actor Tom Pelphrey of "Guiding Light"; and younger actress Jennifer Landon of CBS' "As the World Turns."
"I only made up my mind to come on Monday," said Cooper, who's been nominated for a lead actress trophy eight times but never won. "I'm glad I did."
Philbin, who's only won as talk show host once in the 20 years he's hosted "Live," took home one trophy, at least: the Lifetime Achievement Award. Jimmy Kimmel presented the award to the 76-year-old, whose career can be traced back to his days as an NBC page in the 1950s.
Kimmel joked that Philbin had logged 30 billion hours on TV as a host of talk, variety and game shows — and as the host of "Live" with his granddaughter Kelly.
"What a night," Philbin said during his acceptance speech. "Tyra Banks told me to kiss her big beautiful, and I found out that I'm older than the 'Guiding Light."'
Banks picked up the first ever Daytime Emmy for informative talk show. Banks, "Dr. Phil" and PBS' "A Place of Our Own/Los Ninos en su Casa" — a daily show about child care that has English and Spanish versions — didn't have to spar with DeGeneres, "The View" or Ray for talk show this year thanks to the new category split.
"I want to thank Oprah Winfrey for her inspiration," Banks said. "She is the queen and will always be the queen."
Also new this year was the legal/courtroom program Daytime Emmy, which was awarded to "Cristina's Court." Formerly, "Judge Judy" competed in a special class category against shows like "Trading Spaces" and "A Baby's Story." This year, the veteran TV judge was joined by "Cristina's Court," "Judge Hatchett Show," "The People's Court" and "Judge David Young."
The behind-the-scenes teams of ABC's "One Life to Life" won both directing and writing team awards.
ABC shook up this year's ceremony by adding a new interactive element and a Golden Globes-style seating arrangement at Hollywood's Kodak Theatre. The live broadcast was co-hosted by Sherri Shepherd from "The View" and Cameron Mathison from "All My Children."
Instead of sitting in the Kodak's stuffy theater seats, nominees gathered around their own banquet tables and were allowed to feast on food and sip booze from an open bar. Digital video cameras were placed at the tables, with footage uploaded to SoapNet.com throughout the broadcast.
"There was a few people enjoying the free booze," co-host Mathison said in the press room.
After plummeting to an all-time low of 6.1 million viewers in 2006, last year's Daytime Emmy Awards were watched by 8.3 million people, the ceremony's best ratings since 2004, according to Nielsen Media Research. That scaled-down, two-hour Daytime Emmys aired on CBS after a rebroadcast of Bob Barker's final "Price Is Right" episode and featured the game show host receiving his 19th Daytime Emmy.
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(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
APTV 06-20-08 2327EDT