Rachael Ray is keeping her eye on the ball, even as others come to -- and, in some cases, depart from -- the world of daytime talk.
In a television year that has seen her get such new competitors in weekday syndication as Katie Couric, Steve Harvey and the soon-departing Jeff Probst, "Daytime is constantly changing and growing and shifting," Ray tells Zap2it during her annual appearance to help raise funds for the Alumni Association of her alma mater, Lake George (N.Y.) Jr.-Sr. High School.
"I love Katie; she's a wonderful lady. I love Steve; he's a great guest. Jeff's been on our show more than anyone over the years, and he's always fun; we do funny 'Survivor' stunts with him. And all the folks at [ABC's] 'The Chew' ... these people are all my friends.
"When it comes to TV in general," Ray adds, "with shows like 'Downton Abbey' and 'The Following,' some of the best writing and acting out there is on the small screen now. And there's some of the best and worst in reality shows, and some of the best and worst in syndication. It's just a huge, broad spectrum of everything for everybody."
A benefit of knowing that, Ray says, is that "I don't go to work and worry about who's coming up next season, or who's going up or down this season. We're just grateful to still be here after seven seasons. Our whole team just goes to work every day trying to make the best show we can, with a little bit of information, a nice visit and a couple of laughs for people. Those are our goals, and that's what we focus on."
Now that "Rachael Ray" -- which has won two Daytime Emmy Awards for outstanding talk show (entertainment) -- has gotten a redesigned New York set, the host claims she's still adjusting to "that new studio smell. It's great, it's beautiful, but I still look in the wrong drawers. I still don't know where everything is yet. It's like moving into a new house."
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