At this year’s Daytime Emmys, “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” staged a comeback and was crowned the “Outstanding Talk Show (Entertainment) ending the two-year winning streak of “The Rachael Ray Show.” This marked only the third year for the award, introduced in 2008. That was when the Outstanding Talk Show category was split into two: Informative — for shows with a mission to educate viewers — and Entertainment — for shows that are lighter in tone and designed primarily to entertain the audience.
This year’s Entertainment race features a slew of shows including those two returning champs as well as perennial also-ran “Live with Regis and Kelly,” one-time winner of the old category “The View,” and its new rival “The Talk.” Those latter two chatfests may feature virtually identical formats of women from different backgrounds discussing topical issues in a roundtable format but they couldn’t be more different in tone.
Since debuting in 1997 as a light-hearted talker focused on women’s issues, “The View” has morphed into must-see viewing, with its bold and sensational coverage of political issues. The ladies of “The View” often make the headlines as they tackle topics with a frenzied enthusiasm that often leads to vigorous debates. Indeed, the lone conservative — Elizabeth Hasselbeck — is often left fighting back tears after having to fend off attacks from her more liberal co-hosts — grand slam awards champ Whoopi Goldberg, HLN star Joy Behar and comedian Sherri Shepherd. And in the middle of all this is the show’s co-creator, veteran journalist Barbara Walters.
While “The View” quintet addresses politics on head-first, unafraid to offend any group, “The Talk” is the polar opposite. This new CBS show has six hosts — Julie Chen, Sara Gilbert, Leah Remini, Sharon Osbourne, Holly Robinson Peete and Marissa Jaret Winokur — who discuss issues in a compartively calmer, more relaxed manner and never take themselves or their subjects too seriously.
This major differences between the two will be the deciding factor in which, if either of them wins the Emmy. While the scorching hot topics of the “The View” keeps them high in the headlines and ratings, that same controversial nature may have cost them the Emmy in the past. Think back to 2007 when the addition of Rosie O’Donnell to the panel sent the series into more serious waters and increased ratings by 27%. Despite being the frontrunner at the Emmys, “The View” lost both Talk Show and Talk Show Host to the kinder, gentler Ellen DeGeneres.
Emmy voters may be put off by the tension-filled bickering between the co-hosts and may not want to reward a show that often brings politics down to name calling and childish arguments. The lighter tone of “The Talk” may be the ticket to Emmy gold. By taking a more viewer-friendly approach to their show, “The Talk” could appeal to one-time viewers on the judging panel. However, to stand out from the competition, “The Talk” will have to enter just the right episode, one that makes the show appear to be much more important than it is and will be able to compete with these other series.
“The Rachael Ray Show” is known for submitting episodes that are off-format and feature Ray helping a community in need such as last year when the show went on-location to redesign a soup kitchen in a town dealing with 10,000 job losses after a plant shut down. These atyplical episodes helped Ray win both of her Emmys in this category, taking down perennial champ DeGeneres who bounced back with a fun-filled entry this year that proved to win over the judges.