GoldDerby had access to the sample episodes submitted to Daytime Emmy voters, and forums poster jcar thinks “Rachael Ray” will pull off a narrow victory for Best Talk Show (Entertainment) against last year's champ “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.”
The Best Talk Show race has historically favored repeat winners. “Donahue” won six times in nine years (1978-1981, 1985, 1986). Then “The Oprah Winfrey Show” prevailed a remarkable nine times between 1987 and 1997, losing only twice (to “Sally Jesse Raphael” in 1990 and “Good Morning America” in 1993). After “Oprah” removed her show from contention, “The Rosie O'Donnell Show” followed with five consecutive wins (1998-2002).
“Ellen” seem poised to dominate the category indefinitely, winning for its first four years (2004-2007).Then in 2008, the TV Academy split the talk show category into two separate races – one for entertainment shows (like “Ellen”) and another for informative programs (think any show with “Doctor” in the title) – and “Ellen” was upset by “Rachael Ray” which had lost the combined category the year before. The popular TV chef prevailed again in 2009 before “Ellen” exacted its revenge last year.
The TV chef whips up savvy episode submissions. While “Ellen” typically offered a standard hour of jokes, dancing, celebrities, and audience games, “Rachael Ray” has contended with special episodes that leave the studio to explore topical subjects. In one of her winning installments, she traveled to Alabama to plan a prom for a high school devastated by a tornado. This year is no different, focusing on a culinary arts teacher at a struggling Philadelphia school. Jcar calls it “a great episode with a great message and purpose. It has served Rachael well in the past to submit an inspirational episode so I wouldn’t be surprised if she walked away with another win.”
“Ellen” has wised up and also entered an impressive episode, in which she interviews First Lady Michelle Obama and Second Lady Jill Biden, and gives away a car to a woman whose husband is stationed overseas. Says jcar, “This was a pretty well rounded episode with the dancing, funny moments and heart warming moments with the military families.” Can a visit from America's political royalty trump “Rachael Ray's” heartwarming appeal for school vocational programs?
They compete against “Live with Regis and Kelly” and “The View.” “Live” submitted its Halloween episode, which features costumes, impressions, and taped comedy bits, but jcar ranks it dead last: “I think they have submitted the Halloween episode a few times and they can never seem to win with it. Regis doesn’t seem to know what is going on a few different times.”
“The View” submission is a special behind-the-scenes look at the making of the show, focusing on the show's producers and crew members instead of its hosts. Jcar enjoyed the hour but wonders “if some voters would have wanted to see a regular show” instead. “The View” has only won the award for Best Talk Show once, in 2003 (tied with “The Wayne Brady Show”), and it doesn't seem likely to repeat, at least not this year.