04/29/2006 AT 9:30 AM ET
Ellen DeGeneres proved the darling of Friday night’s 33rd annual Daytime Emmy ceremony, taking home the award for best talk-show host for the second time and the top prize for best talk show for the third year running.
“This means a lot of me,” DeGeneres said on the stage of Hollywood’s Kodak Theater (this year’s three-hour show marked the first time ever the event was held out West). She also addressed her partner, actress Portia de Rossi, sitting in the audience and said, “I love you.”
Backstage, DeGeneres said, “I feel lucky. I found something that I feel comfortable doing and people seem to like what I do,” the Associated Press reports.
Also lucky: Rosie O’Donnell, who, as expected, was named to the enviable job as Meredith Vieira’s replacement on The View when Vieira becomes Today co-host in September (while Katie Couric moves to the CBS Evening News). The View’s co-creator and star Barbara Walters made the announcement with Rosie standing beside her.
“Well, thank God,” cracked O’Donnell, “because it was either that or Celebrity Fit Club.” Added Walters, “We’re so lucky to have her.”
Former ’80s teen idol Rick Springfield, who recently returned to General Hospital after 23 years, opened the show in an outdoor fan zone singing a medley of his hits before moving inside and concluded with “Jessie’s Girl.”
Other winners included Jeopardy!’s Alex Trebek, who beat Who Wants to Be a Millionaire’s Vieira for the Emmy as best game-show host, and Caroll Spinney (a.k.a. Big Bird), who won a lifetime achievement award for his work on Sesame Street – which was also named best pre-school children’s series.
In terms of the awards for soap operas, Guiding Light won four Daytime Emmys, including actress Kim Zimmer as lead actress (her fourth career trophy). The show also had three first-time winners: Gina Tognoni (supporting actress), Tom Pelphrey (younger actor) and Jordan Clarke (supporting actor).
General Hospital was named best drama and directing, bringing the ABC soap a record nine trophies in the drama category. The show’s Tony Geary (who plays Luke Spencer) won his fifth Daytime Emmy as lead actor. His first was in 1982.