BEVERLY HILLS— It’s survival of the fittest among the shrinking number of soap operas at the Daytime Emmy Awards.
Sunday’s ceremony pits the only four remaining soaps still airing on the broadcast networks against one that has found new life on the Internet.
Top-rated “The Young and the Restless” takes on last year’s winner “General Hospital,” ”Days of Our Lives,” ”The Bold and the Beautiful” and online refugee “One Life to Live” for best daytime drama honors.
Among daytime talk shows, “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” had a leading 11 nominations.
“Good Morning America” weather anchor Sam Champion, along with HLN network’s A.J. Hammer and Robin Meade, host Sunday night’s ceremony.
The 40th anniversary of the Daytime Emmys will be recognized with a past, present and future theme woven throughout the two-hour show airing live from the Beverly Hilton hotel in Beverly Hills.
Reflecting the current era of dwindling daytime audiences, network budget-cutting and the cancellation of some soaps, the awards show is being aired by cable news channel HLN, having lost its longtime home on the broadcast networks last year.
The Daytime Emmys moved back to Southern California last year after being in Las Vegas for two years, and its ratings, like many of the daytime shows it celebrates, have bounced up and down in recent years. Last year, HLN scored its highest numbers ever for a scheduled non-news broadcast when it aired the awards for the first time.
In an effort to liven up the proceedings, the night’s biggest winners will be chatted up on stage by celebrities right after their acceptance speeches.
CBS and PBS came into the night tied with a leading 13 creative arts Daytime Emmys from last Friday’s ceremony honoring technical and other behind-the-scenes achievements.
Kevin Clash, who played the Elmo character on “Sesame Street” before resigning last November, won three trophies, including outstanding performer in a children’s series.
Clash left the Public Broadcasting Service show amid allegations that he sexually abused underage boys. His attorney has said that related lawsuits filed against Clash are without merit.
He played Elmo for 28 years and has a total of 26 Daytime Emmy awards.
Ziggy Marley won for outstanding original song, writing the music and lyrics for “I Love You Too” for the Disney Channel show “3rd & Bird!”
Syndicated shows were second with nine creative arts trophies, followed by HUB Network and Nickelodeon with seven each. ABC received four awards, while Disney Channel and NBC had three each. In a sign of changing times, Facebook and YouTube each received a trophy.
Overall this season, CBS’ “The Young and the Restless” had a leading 24 nominations, while ABC’s “General Hospital” was next with 19.
“One Life to Live,” along with the venerable “All My Children,” ran for more than 40 years on ABC until both were canceled. Each has since been revived online with much of their casts intact, leaving just four soaps still airing on the broadcast networks compared to a dozen in 1991.
“General Hospital” is celebrating its 50th anniversary, while “The Young and the Restless” recently marked 40 years on the air.
“The Young and the Restless” co-stars Peter Bergman, Doug Davidson and Michael Muhney are up against each other Sunday night for best actor in a daytime drama, along with Jason Thompson of “General Hospital.”
Best daytime actress nominees are Susan Flannery, who has since retired from “The Bold and the Beautiful,” Peggy McCay of “Days of Our Lives,” Michelle Stafford of “The Young and the Restless,” and Heather Tom of “The Bold and the Beautiful,” who won the last two years.
Among the presenters are Alex Trebek, Dr. Drew, Kathy Griffin, Kris Jenner, Rachael Ray and Steve Harvey.
Meade, the HLN morning host, will show off her vocal chops by singing both best song nominees, with Sheryl Crow and Little Big Town vying for the trophy.
The show will pay tribute to Lifetime Achievement Award winners Monty Hall and the late Bob Stewart.
Now 91, Hall hosted the popular “Let’s Make a Deal” game show starting in the 1960s. He helped make the phrase “Door No. 1, Door No. 2 or Door No. 3″ part of the pop culture vernacular. Wayne Brady, who currently hosts a revived version of the show on CBS, will present Hall with his award.
Stewart, who died last year, created such game shows as “The Price is Right,” ”To Tell the Truth,” ”Password” and “The $10,000 Pyramid.” Betty White, enjoying a career revival at 91, will honor Stewart.
Jess Walton of “The Young and the Restless” and actor Corbin Bernsen will introduce the in memoriam segment, which will include his mother, Jeanne Cooper, the grand dame of “The
Young and the Restless,” who died last month at 84. Italian opera trio Il Volo will sing during the tribute.