Ellen DeGeneres made it two for two on Friday, winning a Daytime Emmy award for Outstanding Talk Show for the second consecutive year (the only two years the program has aired), then added another award for Outstanding Talk-Show Host. General Hospital won the Emmy for Outstanding Soap Opera for the eighth time, breaking the Daytime Emmys' record for the top drama award.
DeGeneres moved to daytime television after a moderate success with her prime-time sitcom Ellen, for which she won a writing Emmy, taking the top daytime honor for The Ellen DeGeneres Show in her very first year. But this year she was also named Outstanding Host. "Oh, man, I love my job," the comedian told the cheering audience at Radio City Music Hall. "It's just listening to people talk--it's like being a bartender," she said after paying special tribute to her fans by telling them: "I feel the love."
Another famous host, Martha Stewart, also picked up an Emmy for second consecutive Outstanding Service Show for Martha Stewart Living. But the lifestyle guru, who was recently released from prison after an insider-trading scandal, lost to Bobby Flay (Boy Meets Grill) and Michael Chiarello (Easy Entertaining), who tied for Outstanding Service-Show Host.
Top acting honors went to Erika Slezak of One Life to Live, who joined the cast in 1971 and won a record sixth Emmy on Friday as Outstanding Actress, while Christian Jules LeBlanc of The Young and the Restless was named Outstanding Actor in his first nomination in that category.
Veteran talk show host-turned-game show producer Merv Griffin, who created both Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune, was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Griffin, whose years as a host saw him interview top world leaders, entertainers, and athletes, called daytime television "the most inventive, wonderful, creative part of television." Outstanding Game Show went to Jeopardy! for the 10th time, while former journalist Meredith Vieira was named Outstanding Game-Show Host, her first win in the category, for the daytime version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.
Other noteworthy winners included Henry Winkler (of Happy Days fame), who was named Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program for Clifford's Puppy Days, and Stockard Channing, who won the Emmy for Outstanding Performance in a Family Special for Jack, lesbian writer-director Lee Rose's look at what happens to a family after the father comes out of the closet. (Christopher Michaud, via Reuters; additional reporting by Advocate.com)