"The Ellen DeGeneres Show" capped a successful rookie year with the Daytime Emmy award for best talk show, one of four awards overall.
"I should have been in daytime long ago," she told the audience Friday night at Radio City Music Hall. "I love this."
Her show's lighthearted blend of talk and music, coupled with the comedian's role as the voice of Dora in "Finding Nemo," completed a comeback for a career that stalled after she came out as a lesbian.
DeGeneres lost the best talk show host award to Wayne Brady, whose syndicated program had its plug pulled for poor ratings. So did other big name hosts such as "Dr. Phil" McGraw, Regis Philbin and Barbara Walters. Brady wasn't on hand for the awards ceremony, televised on NBC.
The legendary Anthony Geary of "General Hospital" won his fourth best actor award in a daytime drama. It seemed to take him by surprise.
"If I thought I had a shot at this I would have had someone do my hair," said Geary, whose gray locks spiked in all directions.
Michelle Stafford of "The Young and the Restless" won best actress in a daytime drama. Her character, Phyllis, had to deal with a son taken from her at childbirth reappearing as a teenager.
"I want to accept this in honor of all those kids who thought they were freaks in school and didn't fit in," said Stafford, who said she was a kindred spirit.
"The Young and the Restless" was honored as best daytime drama for the sixth time. The soap opera won four Daytime Emmys this year.
Bob Barker won best game show host for the lucky 13th time and his show, "The Price is Right," won its fourth award as best game show since coming on the air in 1972.
Martha Stewart's year got a little lousier. The convicted felon lost the Emmy for best service show, an award she's won four times, the same week "Martha Stewart Living" was placed on hiatus. Stewart, who is facing a possible prison sentence, was in the audience.
Financial adviser Suze Orman won the award. "For the first time in my life, I am seriously speechless," Orman said.
Al Roker, Meredith Vieira and Emeril Lagasse joined in an off-key musical tribute to "Sesame Street" on its 35th anniversary. The children's show is the most honored program in Daytime Emmy history, with 91 awards, and won another six during the creative and craft awards presentation last week.
Rick Hearst of "General Hospital" and Cady McClain of "As the World Turns" won awards for best supporting actors in a soap opera.
Chad Brannon of "General Hospital" won best younger actor in a daytime drama, and Jennifer Finnigan of "The Bold and the Beautiful" won best younger actress for the third year in a row.
Jeff Corwin of the Discovery Kids show "Jeff Corwin Unleashed" was honored as best performer in a children's series.
The Emmys are awarded by the National Television Academy and the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.