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Apr 27, 5:25 AM EDT

Lauer, DeGeneres team for racy Daytime Emmys opening


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LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Matt Lauer and Ellen DeGeneres helped the Daytime Emmys make a gender-bending return to television with a comedy bit involving pasties and black stockings - and not worn by DeGeneres.

"General Hospital" and "The Young and the Restless" were the top winners Sunday with three trophies each, while the latter shared the best drama series award with "Days of Our Lives."

The ceremony opened with a pretaped segment in which Lauer and DeGeneres agreed to end their faux feud. The punchline: DeGeneres had sneakily edited the tape to put Lauer's head atop a man's chiseled body clad only in tasseled pasties, briefs and lace-topped stockings.

It was reminiscent of a previous DeGeneres prank on her talk show in which she doctored a Lauer "Fifty Shades of Grey" cast interview to show him in a similar outfit, whip and all.

The "Today" host, or his shimmying facsimile, agreed to donate a thousand dollars to an unspecified charity each time he was thanked by winners during the ceremony.

"CBS Sunday Morning" host Charles Osgood, whose show was honored as best morning program, offered a heartfelt shoutout to Lauer.

"Thank you for doing what you did because, God knows, I don't want to do that," said the 82-year-old Osgood.

The ceremony took a dignified turn when Betty White was honored with a lifetime achievement award.

"Hello, beautiful," she said to her trophy. "When I started in 1949 I had no idea that I'd still be around at this point, for one thing, or that I'd still be privileged enough to still be in this business. And it is such a privilege."

Tyra Banks hosted the ceremony that aired on the Pop cable channel. The Daytime Emmys, which once had a secure home on the broadcast networks, settled for streaming online last year after a two-year turn on the cable news channel HLN.

On Sunday, the Pop channel was forced to fend off the ceremony's unauthorized streaming after discovering its server had been hacked, a spokesman said. In a statement, the channel warned that any streaming was not sanctioned by the TV academy.

The issue apparently was resolved during the ceremony, the spokesman said.

The show's year-to-year change in location is a reflection of the dwindling daytime audience and programming shifts, but that didn't diminish the winners' enthusiasm.

A beaming Craig Ferguson, replaced by James Corden as host of CBS' "The Late Late Show," accepted the trophy for best game show host for "Celebrity Name Game."

"I never win anything. This is fantastic," Ferguson said, adding, "Thank you, Hollywood, for a job."

Freddie Smith was honored as best younger actor in a drama for his role as Sonny in "Days of Our Lives." His character and that of Will (played by Guy Wilson) were part of daytime TV's first gay wedding with two men.

Smith paid tribute to "the LGBT community for showing strength and courage. You're an inspiration to all of us."

The ceremony featured the reunion of Anthony Geary and Genie Francis, the former "General Hospital" couple of Luke and Laura, who presented the trophy for best drama series, a tie, to "Days of Our Lives" and "The Young and the Restless."

Geary was a winner as well, accepting his eighth Emmy for his "General Hospital" role, while fellow series star Maura West was named best lead drama actress.

Other winners included Amelia Heinle, best supporting actress in a drama series for "The Young and the Restless," and Chad Duell, best supporting actor for "General Hospital."

"Un Nuevo Dia" received the award for best Spanish-language morning program at the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences awards.

An in memoriam tribute was introduced by Melissa Rivers, who said her mother's career was reinvigorated by a daytime talk show after her late-night show was canceled. "The Joan Rivers Show" won a Daytime Emmy in 1990, the only Emmy her mother ever got, Melissa Rivers noted.

Among the winners Sunday were "Jeopardy!," best game show; Steve Harvey, host of an informative talk show; "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," entertainment talk show; "Entertainment Tonight," entertainment news program; Hunter King, younger actress in a drama series, "The Young and the Restless"; and Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan, entertainment talk show hosts, for "Live! with Kelly and Michael."

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Online:

http://emmyonline.com/daytime

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Lynn Elber can be reached at lelber(at)ap.org and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/lynnelber .

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