By Tom Rose
Rachael Ray looked genuinely stunned at the Daytime Emmy Awards. Her syndicated talk show managed to overcome some stiff competition by beating out “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” and “The View.” Every contest has a long shot, so it makes for a much more entertaining evening when the underdog takes the top prize. Here’s a list of some other Emmy winners who’ve managed to hit the jackpot, despite the odds.
2008: Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series: Jeanne Cooper on The Young and the Restless
The venerated actress (and mother of Corbin Bernsen) scored a long-overdue victory – this was her ninth daytime nomination.
2007: Outstanding Comedy Series: 30 Rock
Although a Critic’s favorite from the start, the show’s producers nonetheless held out little hope for a win. Tina Fey accepted the prize and commented “I myself am going to celebrate by overeating.” Works every time.
2006: Outstanding Drama Series: 24
Not only did 24 win the Series award, but its star, Kiefer Sutherland, won the Emmy for Best Actor – his first victory after five straight nominations.
2005: Outstanding Drama Series: The Young and the Restless
The joyous win was marred by the recent death of William Joseph Bell, the Emmy award-winning daytime TV soap writer, producer and co-creator of Y&R, as well as The Bold and the Beautiful.
2004: Outstanding Younger Actress in a Drama Series: Jennifer Finnigan on The Bold and the Beautiful
By scoring this prize again, Jennifer was the first person ever to win three consecutive Daytime Emmy Awards for her role as Bridget Forrester.
2003: Lead Actor in a Comedy Series: Tony Shalhoub on Monk
Tony Shalhoub should have been celebrating after scoring an upset win over veteran performers by nabbing the award, but instead of enjoying his achievement, he was preoccupied with a personal tragedy: his beloved 34-year-old nephew in Wisconsin had died suddenly the day before of undisclosed causes. The next day, colleagues were still recalling his emotion-charged acceptance speech, “He was really glad he was able to pay that tribute. It’s something his family will always remember.”
2002: Lead Actor in a Drama Series: Michael Chiklis on The Shield
The John Belushi lookalike scored a real upset and showed the popularity of the upstart corrupt cop drama. The award was widely believed to be sewn up by the more well-known Martin Sheen of “West Wing” or even going to the newcomers of “Six Feet Under.” “It vindicates us tremendously,” Chiklis, told People Magazine. “I always said from the beginning, if this were something vacuous and shocking for shock’s sake, I wouldn’t have done it.”
2001: Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series: Late Show With David Letterman
After gigs as a weatherman, news anchor and standup comic, the gap-toothed wiseguy finally scored in the ’80s with his off-beat late-night talk show on NBC. His signature bits (“Top 10,” “Stupid Pet Tricks”), made him a hit with critics and viewers alike. Although his show had won numerous writing awards, this winning effort validated his stature as a bona fide American Icon.
2000: Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series: James Whitmore on The Practice
The highly regarded actor has been performing since the 1940s and was nominated for Oscars twice in his career. He is one of the few who have scored a Tony, Grammy and the well deserved Emmy for his recurring role as Raymond Oz.
1999: Outstanding Drama Series: The Practice
This legal drama created by David E. Kelley centered on the partners and associates competing for the top prizes at a Boston law firm. The show spawned the spin-off series Boston Legal, and pioneered the use of the now familiar crossover vehicle with shows like Ally McBeal and the short lived Gideon’s Crossing.