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Cable Eyes Daytime Wins

4/21/2006 8:00 PM Eastern

Los Angeles— To most viewers, the Daytime Emmy Awards are all about the soaps, which air on broadcast television.

But cable networks get nominated, too, and they’re hoping that some strategic decisions (that have little in common with the extensive campaigning that occurs for Primetime Emmy Awards) could lead to some wins in prestige categories, like outstanding service show or host.

Cable networks were nominated for 36 of the 236 awards handed out on April 22 (in the crafts categories) and that will be telecast in primetime from Hollywood on April 28. The overall number of cable nominations has been trending down, from 53 in 2005 and 54 in 2004.

Cable’s Daytime Emmy Nods
Nominations received by basic programmers:
*Produced to air on NBC.
Source: National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences
Network Nominations
Discovery Kids 7*
Food Network 7
SoapNet 3
Cartoon Network 3
Nickelodeon 3
A&E Network 2
Nick Jr. 2
Showtime 2
WE 2
AMC 1
Discovery Health 1
Disney Channel 1
TLC 1
Travel 1

'STILL A MIRACLE’

“We’ve never campaigned — that’s something the bigger, richer networks do,” SoapNet general manager Deborah Blackwell said. The fact that her network’s in the running for three awards, including best talk show hosts (SoapTalk’s Lisa Rinna and Ty Treadway), “is still a complete miracle for us.”

Cable shows and personalities are slowly working their way into higher-profile categories in the daytime competition. Credit goes to good programming-strategy decisions and to the personalities themselves, for raising their level of exposure in different media, executives said.

Lisa Rinna added fans by participating in ABC’s Dancing With the Stars. While she’s been nominated before in her category, the extra visibility could help nudge her closer to a win, SoapNet executives said.

Food Network TV personalities “do it on their own” to break through the clutter, said Bob Tuschman, senior vice president, programming and production. Food shows and stars are nominated for seven daytime Emmys, tying them with Discovery Kids Network for tops among cable channels this year.

Stars Emeril Lagasse and Rachael Ray were both nominated as best service-show host and their programs are competing as best service show. Tuschman says the two chefs, and other Food Network stars, such as Paula Dean, have made themselves part of the pop-culture landscape through stints in movies, commercials and other television appearances.

As for good programming decisions, Rainbow Entertainment Services president Ed Carroll nominates AMC’s Sunday Morning Shootout, with Peter Bart and Peter Guber. The show was created as counterprogramming, a kind of Meet the Press for film fans. A sign of its success is its nomination for best sound mixing.

Nominations and wins don’t necessarily attract new advertisers, but certainly reaffirm the value of shows advertisers already support, executives said.

Pleased with being a nominee, SoapNet executives are more interested in translating the awards competition into ratings and expanded opportunities for advertisers.

EXTRA PROGRAMMING

Each Saturday, SoapNet has scheduled marathons backing soap stars’ Emmy candidacies. Last week they comprised four soaps nominated for best series, including The Young and the Restless, providing a platform for promoting the launch of repeats next month; and Guiding Light and As the World Turns, series not normally seen on SoapNet.

Last year, SoapNet’s red-carpet show, ahead of the awards in New York, was the biggest ratings grabber of the year, Blackwell said. That strategy will be repeated this year, along with a post-show wrap up featuring Rinna and soap star Linda Dano.

Longtime advertiser Sears Brands LLC will sponsor Emmy-related programming, as will Dr. Scholl’s, JC Penney and Unilever, Blackwell said.

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