Rosie O'Donnell wins sixth _ and last _ Daytime Emmy for best talk show host

Saturday, May 18th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

NEW YORK (AP) _ Rosie O'Donnell ended her reign as queen of daytime television with a sixth consecutive Daytime Emmy award for best talk show host.

O'Donnell took home the award at the 29th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards ceremony at Madison Square Garden on Friday night, just days before the farewell edition of ``The Rosie O'Donnell Show.''

``I don't feel sad at all,'' she said backstage. ``I have had the most amazing six years of my life creatively. I didn't want to continue doing it just because I could.''

O'Donnell was named best talk show host every year she was nominated, sharing the award with Oprah Winfrey in 1998 and Regis Philbin in 2001.

O'Donnell said it was ``overwhelming'' to hear her name called for a sixth time. ``I thought it was going to be (Live with Regis and Kelly),'' she said. ``They've been number one in the ratings. I really thought they were going to win.''

Earlier Friday, ``The Rosie O'Donnell Show'' was named best talk show for the fifth year in a row. The host said she is leaving daytime television to raise a family and pursue other interests.

``I have enough money and when you have enough money and you miss out on your family, then you're missing the whole point of life,'' she said.

ABC's ``One Life to Live,'' which has been on the air since 1968, was named best daytime drama for the first time.

``We are stunned and amazed,'' said Gary Tomlin, the show's executive producer.

In an awkward moment for CBS, the camera cut to ``All My Children'' actress Susan Lucci after announcing the best actress award. But it was Susan Flannery of ``The Bold and the Beautiful'' who actually won.

Lucci, who has been nominated 21 times and won once, appeared shocked and confused for a few moments until Flannery walked onstage to receive her award.

Peter Bergman of ``The Young and the Restless'' won best actor in a daytime drama, his third award and first since 1992.

It was a night of firsts for several soap opera stars as Josh Duhamel of ABC's ``All My Children'' won best supporting actor and Crystal Chappell of ``Guiding Light'' won best supporting actress.

Duhamel rushed into the back of the audience to hug his parents. Fighting back tears backstage, Duhamel told reporters, ``I didn't think I was going to win. I was this kid back in North Dakota just two years ago.''

Jennifer Finnigan of ``The Bold and the Beautiful,'' who won best younger actress, also thanked her parents.

``You have supported me for my entire life. This is for you,'' she said, clutching her trophy. ``But I'm keeping it.''

``Sesame Street'' was named outstanding preschool children's series. The PBS children's show has won a staggering 79 Daytime Emmys.

LeVar Burton, who has worked on PBS' ``Reading Rainbow'' since 1983, won his fifth Daytime Emmy as best performer in a children's series.

``Proof positive if you hang around long enough, good things happen to you,'' he said.

``Jeopardy!'' was named best game show for the eighth time. Veteran Bob Barker, who was host of the Daytime Emmy ceremony, was named best game show host for the 12th time. A few years ago he boycotted the ceremony because he felt game shows weren't getting enough attention.

The mood of the night was partly patriotic, with several references to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. ``All My Children'' actress and ``Live with Regis and Kelly'' co-host Kelly Ripa was joined onstage with a New York City firefighter, police officer and a Port Authority officer to present the award for outstanding performer in a children's special.

Actress Melody Thomas Scott of ``The Young and the Restless'' opened the show wearing a billowing gown adorned with the stars and stripes. Asked backstage what designer made her dress, Scott joked, ``America made it. Betsy Ross made it.''

The Emmys are given out by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.