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Posted at 08:31 AM ET, 06/20/2011

PBS wins big, Oprah a no-show, at Daytime Emmy Awards


Singer Gladys Knight performs onstage during the tribute to Oprah Winfrey. (Jeff Bottari - AP)
PBS won the most Daytime Emmy Awards over the weekend. Unfortunately, all 14 of its wins – eight for “Sesame Street” alone – happened during the non-televised portion of the two-day orgy of trophy dispensing. PBS’s wins included the Emmy best kids series (“The Electric Company”) and best pre-school series (“Sesame Street”).

What we saw during Sunday’s cheesetastic, Las Vegas Hilton-set Daytime Emmy broadcast, was “The Bold and the Beautiful” being named top soap, “Today” grabbing the win for best morning infotainment show, “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” named best entertainment talk show and “Dr. Oz” named best informative talk show.

Laura Wright, of ABC’s “General Hospital,” is this year’s best lead actress, and Michael Park of CBS’s “As the World Turns” is best lead actor.

Ben Bailey, star of Discovery’s “Cash Cab,” was named best game show host, but kept the studio audience and viewers at home, waiting for a long, uncomfortable spell, finally taking the stage and making it even more uncomfortable by explaining, “I was backstage urinating when I heard my name.”

Alex Trebek and Pat Sajak, hosts of “Jeopardy!” and “Wheel of Fortune,” respectively, shared this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award honors. Trebek thanked his hair and makeup people, without whom, he said “I would look like Muammar Gaddafi,” then walked off stage, leaving people in the audience at the Hilton wondering what they might have seen Gaddafi in.

The highlight of Sunday’s trophy show was supposed to be the bestowing of a brand new award on Oprah Winfrey. Oprah had already received the Daytime Emmys’ Lifetime Achievement Award – it’s highest honor. Those plucky kids at the TV academy fixed that – they created an even higher honor.

The Crystal Pillar Award.

About one hour into the trophy show, Gladys Knight came out to get things rolling, telling us “as the world knows, “The Oprah Winfrey Show” has come to an end. Oprah, you may be off the air for now but you will never ever be out of our hearts.”

Then she sang, “That’s What Friends are For,” while footage of Oprah played on screens behind her, including one of Oprah and Babs Walters in the particularly bad hair year of 1986.

Other clips featured:

*Bruce Willis with hair and a white “Miami Vice” suit

*Mel Gibson sporting flowing dirty-blond locks

*Demi Moore when her hair was short, she was a big star, and Ashton Kutcher was still in high school

*Jim Carrey licking Oprah’s hand

*Oprah lecturing Tiger Woods – presumably during his Stations of the Cross tour, after word got out he’d cheated on his wife

*Bono telling the world, “If you want to speak to America – speak to Oprah.”

Oprah protégé Dr. Oz came out and thanked her for being the Dean of Oprah University; another protégé, Dr. Phil, thanked Oprah for being so nice to his family and then named them all.

Barbara Walters was seen on tape, seeming to suggest that if the academy didn’t give her the next Crystal Pillar, she’d know what to do about it:

“Oprah we are always getting asked to present each other with awards – thank goodness. When it comes to the Emmys, I presented you with a Lifetime Achievement Award, and you presented me with my Lifetime Achievement Award. But now you are getting the Crystal Pillar Award because of your enormous contribution to daytime television…nobody deserves his award more than you -- my darling friend Oprah.”

Then they cut to Celine Dion, who was across town performing her Vegas show “Celine,” and who sang one of her standards, which she says is an Oprah fave.

This was followed by an old clip of John Travolta explaining to Oprah at her 50th birthday party that she injects spirit into our society and is a hero to mankind.

And, after this wind-up of 10-minutes -- an eternity in trophy-show time -- Oprah appears -- in a pre-taped video! She explained to us that her show – “a phenomenon that has exceeded anything and everything any of us could have imagined in our wildest dreams” -- served as a platform to enlighten, as well as entertain, her “millions of viewers around the world.”

Then she thanked her staff .

By  |  08:31 AM ET, 06/20/2011

 
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