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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, May 14, 2010

No Oprah, Ellen in Emmys

 •  Rocking middle school runway

By David Bauder
AP Television Writer

NEW YORK Between them, Oprah Winfrey and Ellen DeGeneres have won 11 Daytime Emmy awards as best talk show host. They won't add to that total this year, by their own choice.

DeGeneres took herself out of consideration for the award for the first time since starting her show.

"I feel my steroid use gives me an unfair advantage," DeGeneres joked in a statement on her website Wednesday.

Winfrey hasn't submitted her work since winning her seventh Emmy and a lifetime achievement award in 1999.

There may be generosity behind the gestures, to give fellow entertainers the chance to stand on stage holding an award. It could also water down the award's meaning, with the knowledge that National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences members are not truly evaluating all the best in the field.

This year's talk show nominees are Rachael Ray, Bonnie Hunt, Dr. Mehmet Oz, Regis Philbin and Kelly Ripa and the five stars of "The View."

Bill Carroll, an expert on the daytime market for Katz Television, said the withdrawals of Winfrey and DeGeneres were gracious and don't cheapen the prize. "I understand why Oprah and Ellen have made the decisions they made," Carroll said. "Does that lessen the value? Not really."

Winfrey dominates the daytime talk market, her ratings often twice those of the nearest competitor. She has said her show will end next year, as she leaves to concentrate full time on a new cable network that will bear her name.

"The Ellen DeGeneres Show" is considered one of the shows most likely to pick up viewers in Winfrey's absence.

The host of the second-most popular talk show, Dr. Phil McGraw, was not nominated this year despite submitting an entry.

There is precedent in the prime-time Emmys for not participating after a series of wins: Candice Bergen did not enter the competition for best comedy actress after winning for "Murphy Brown" five out of seven years.

Generosity might not be the only thing these women are thinking about in not submitting for individual awards, said Tom O'Neil, an expert on awards shows at www.TheEnvelope.com. They may sense they've peaked with voters, he said.

Winfrey won every year from 1991 to 1995 but not again until 1999, when she shared the award with Rosie O'Donnell.

DeGeneres had a four-year winning streak from 2005 to 2008, but "The View" team of Barbara Walters, Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar, Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Sherri Shepherd won last year.

"It's not a case of either one of them stepping away at the height of victory," O'Neil said.