"I never take this for granted," said DeGeneres, clutching her shiny statuette. "I know every single year people joke about it." Besides acknowledging her show staff and partner Portia de Rossi, DeGeneres also thanked her show's fans, "amazing, amazing people."
In something of a surprise, however, instead of Ellen's winning a fifth consecutive Emmy as best talk show (entertainment), the accolade went to Rachael Ray. "Holy cat. That is exciting," said the cooking host. "I really can't breathe."
With Hollywood's Kodak Theatre divided up into dinner tables in the style of the Golden Globes, Banks shined center stage early on during the two-hour ceremony.
The supermodel, whose Tyra Banks Show won in the new category of informative program, was first shown in a clip delivering her TV tirade about her shape and size, which ended with her telling her detractors to kiss her behind.
In her thank-you, she reprised the message, saying that no one should ever listen to naysayers.
Banks also thanked her mother ("My mama is crying like a baby," she exclaimed on the podium) and Oprah Winfrey, "for being the queen."
Daytime Drama AwardsThe night's first winner was supporting actress in a drama series Gina Tognoni, of The Guiding Light, who noted the show is 71 years old this year. "I am proud of daytime," Tognoni said, "and I pray it goes on for a million more years."
The top drama series Emmy went to General Hospital, which also claimed Emmys for its lead actor Anthony Geary – his sixth Emmy.
Other winners included The Young and the Restless's lead actress Jeanne Cooper (a first-time winner) and its supporting actor, Kristoff St. John (his second Emmy); Guiding Light's Tom Pelphrey, as best younger actor (his second Emmy); and As the World Turns's Jennifer Landon, as younger actress (her third consecutive Emmy).
Regis RecognizedRegis Philbin received a lifetime achievement award, introduced by Jimmy Kimmel, who referred to Kelly Ripa as Regis's granddaughter. Diane Sawyer, Anderson Cooper, Don Rickles and Pat Sajak also chimed in with sentiments.
Cristina's Court was honored as the best show with a gavel-pounding judge, another new category.