An Emmy Award, or simply Emmy, is a trophy presented at one of the numerous annual American events or competitions that each recognize achievements in a particular sector of the television industry. The Emmy is considered one of the four major entertainment awards
, the others being the Grammy
), the Oscar (Academy Award)
), and the Tony
). The two events that receive the most media coverage are the Primetime Emmy Award
s and the Daytime Emmy Award
s, which recognize outstanding work in American primetime and daytime entertainment programming, respectively. Other notable Emmy events include those honoring national sports programming
, national news and documentary shows
, and technological and engineering achievements
in television, including the Primetime Engineering Emmy Awards
. Regional Emmy Awards
are also presented throughout the country at various times through the year, recognizing excellence in local and statewide television. In addition, the International Emmy Award
s honor excellence in TV programming produced and initially aired outside the United States.
The Emmy is named after "immy", an informal term for the image orthicon tube
that was common in early television cameras. Although the weight and dimensions of the statuette may vary among the Emmy events, the basic design depicts a winged woman holding an atom.
Three related, but separate, organizations present the Emmy Award: the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences
(ATAS), the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences
(NATAS), and the International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences
(IATAS). The ATAS first awarded the Emmy in 1949 to honor shows produced in the Los Angeles
area before it became a national event in the 1950s to honor programs aired nationwide. Over the next two decades, the ATAS, the NATAS, and the IATAS expanded the award to honor other sectors of the TV industry, with each organization responsible for administering a particular set of Emmy events.
The Los Angeles–based Academy of Television Arts & Sciences
(ATAS) established the Emmy Award as part of an image-building and public relations
The first Emmy ceremony
took place on January 25, 1949, at the Hollywood Athletic Club
, but solely to honor shows produced and aired locally in the Los Angeles area. Shirley Dinsdale
has the distinction of receiving the very first Emmy Award for Most Outstanding Television Personality, during that first awards ceremony.
The term "Emmy" is a French alteration of the television crew slang term "Immy", the nickname for an "image orthicon
", a camera tube once used in TV cameras.
In the 1950s, the ATAS expanded the Emmys into a national event to honor shows aired nationwide on broadcast television
. In 1955, the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences
(NATAS) was formed in New York City as a sister organization to serve members on the East Coast
. While the ATAS maintained a separate ceremony to honor shows aired locally in the Los Angeles area,
the NATAS established regional chapters throughout the rest of the United States, with each one developing their own local Emmy ceremony for local programming.
Originally, there was only one Emmy event held per year to honor shows nationally broadcast in the United States. In 1974, the first Daytime Emmy
ceremony was held to specifically honor achievement in national daytime programming. Other area-specific Emmy events soon followed. Also, the International Emmy Awards, honoring television programs produced and initially aired outside the U.S., was established in the early 1970s.
Meanwhile, all Emmys awarded prior to the emergence of these separate, area-specific events are listed along with the Primetime Emmy Awards
in the ATAS's official records.
In 1977, due to various conflicts, the ATAS and the NATAS agreed to split ties. However, they also agreed to share ownership of the Emmy statue and trademark, with each responsible for administering a specific set of award events.
There was an exception regarding the Engineering Awards (those honoring individuals, companies, or scientific or technical organizations in recognition of significant developments and contributions to the engineering and technological aspects of television): The NATAS continues to administer the Technology & Engineering Emmy Award
s, while the ATAS holds the separate Primetime Engineering Emmy Awards
With the rise of cable television in the 1980s, cable programs first became eligible for the Primetime Emmys in 1988, and the Daytime Emmys in 1989. In 2011, the ABC Television Network
cancelled the soap operas ''All My Children
'' and ''One Life to Live
'', and sold the two shows' licensing rights to the production company Prospect Park
so they could be continued on streaming television
; this prompted NATAS to create a new Daytime Emmys category for the 2013 ceremony to honor such web-only series. The ATAS also began accepting original online-only streaming television
programs in 2013.
The Emmy statuette, depicting a winged woman holding an atom, was designed by television engineer Louis McManus
, who used his wife as the model. The ATAS rejected forty-seven proposals before settling on McManus's design in 1948. The statuette "has since become the symbol of the TV Academy's goal of supporting and uplifting the art and science of television: The wings represent the muse of art; the atom the electron of science."
When deciding a name for the award, ATAS founder Syd Cassyd
originally suggested "Ike", the nickname for the television iconoscope
tube. However, "Ike" was also the popular nickname of World War II
hero and future U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower
, and the ATAS members wanted something unique. Finally, television engineer and the third academy president Harry Lubcke suggested the name "Immy", a term commonly used for the image orthicon tube
used in the early cameras.
After "Immy" was chosen, it was later feminized to Emmy to match their female statuette.
The weight and dimensions of the Emmy statuette vary among the events. Each Primetime Emmy statuette weighs , and is made of copper, nickel, silver, and gold. The statue stands tall with a base diameter of and weight of . The Regional Emmy Award statuette is tall with a base diameter of and weight of . Each takes five and a half hours to make and is handled with white gloves to prevent fingerprints. The Primetime Emmy statues are manufactured by R.S. Owens & Company
based in Chicago, Illinois
, which was also charged with manufacturing the Academy Award statues until 2016, when AMPAS
switched to Polich Tallix in Walden, New York
The Regional Emmy Awards are made by both R.S. Owens & Company and Society Awards
, a New York-based company that also makes the Golden Globe Awards
As its trademark owners, the ATAS and the NATAS hold firm rules on the use of the "Emmy" image as well as its name. For example, the Emmy statuette must always appear facing left. Any copyright notice for the statue should read "ATAS/NATAS", listing both academies. Academy members must also obtain permission to use the statue image or name for promotional uses even though they are winners of the award. Furthermore, DVDs of Emmy-winning shows may reference the fact that they received an Emmy, but cannot use the statue image unless it is capable of being removed from all copies one year after the award is presented.
Emmy events and competitions
Various Emmy events competitions are held annually throughout the calendar year, ranging from honoring nationally televised shows to regionally and locally produced programs. Each event has its own set of award categories, nominating and voting procedures, and rules regarding voting committees, among others. It is not uncommon for one event to have some of the same category names that another event uses. (e.g. ''Primetime'' Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series
and ''Daytime'' Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series
A show that enters into one of the Emmy events generally cannot also be entered into any of the others. For example, syndicated shows
whose air times vary between media markets may be eligible for both the Daytime and Primetime Emmys, but cannot enter in both.
In general, a show is considered national if it reaches more than 50 percent of U.S. households; programs that do not reach at least 50 percent of the country may enter into the Regional Emmys instead. Streaming television
shows are treated similar to syndicated shows: they must be available for downloading or streaming by more than 50 percent of the US national market to be eligible in one of the national Emmy competitions, and they can only enter into one of those national Emmy ceremonies.
And a primetime show that is a co-production
between U.S and overseas companies might be eligible for both the Primetime and International Emmys, but also cannot enter in both.
Regardless of which area-specific competitions in which one wins an Emmy, all winners are called an "Emmy Winner".
The Primetime Emmys
are presented in recognition of excellence in American primetime television programming. Ceremonies generally are held in mid-September, on the Sunday before the official start of the fall television season, and are currently broadcast in rotation among the ABC
, and Fox
Some award categories presented to behind-the-scenes personnel such as art director
s, costume designer
s, casting directors
, and sound design
ers are awarded at a separate Creative Arts Emmys
ceremony held a few days earlier.
The Primetime Emmys are run and voted on by members of the ATAS. For most categories, members from each of the ATAS's branches vote around June to determine the nominees only in their respective categories. All members can however vote for nominations in the best program categories. The final voting to determine the winners is held in August.
The Daytime Emmy Award
s, generally held in May or June, are presented in recognition of excellence in American daytime television
programming. The first daytime-themed Emmy Awards were given out at the primetime ceremony in 1972, but the first separate awards show made just for daytime programming was not held until 1974.
Like the Primetime Emmys, a separate Creative Arts Emmy ceremony is also held a few days earlier to honor the behind-the-scenes personnel working in daytime television.
The Daytime Emmys are run and voted on by members of the NATAS. Voting is done by peer judging panels. Any active member of the NATAS who has national credits for at least two years and within the last five years is eligible to be a judge. Depending on the category, voting is done using either a ratings score criteria or a preferential scoring system.
All the drama acting categories have an additional preliminary voting round called the pre-nominations, where one or two actors from each show is selected to then move on and be considered for the primary nominations for the awards.
The Sports Emmy Awards are presented by the NATAS for excellence in sports programming
. The awards ceremony takes place every Spring, usually sometime in the last two weeks in April or the first week in May, and is held on a Monday night in New York City.
Voting is done by peer judging panels. The NATAS solicits anybody with significant experience in national sports production to serve as judges. The panels are organized so that they only have one representative from each corporate entity (i.e. ViacomCBS
, Fox Corporation
etc.) Most categories only have a single voting round using preferential scoring system. The top 5 entries in each category are announced as the nominations, and then the top entry is announced as the Emmy winner later at the awards ceremony.
News and Documentary Emmys
The News & Documentary Emmy Awards are presented by the NATAS for excellence in national news
and documentary programming. The awards ceremony takes place every fall.
Voting is done by peer judging panels. The NATAS solicits anybody with significant experience in national news or documentary reporting or production to serve as judges. Most categories have two voting rounds, with separate judging panels in each round. The top entries in each category are announced as the nominations, and then the top entry is announced as the Emmy winner later at the awards ceremony.
The Primetime Engineering Emmy Awards
presented by the ATAS and the Technology & Engineering Emmy Award
s presented by the NATAS are two separate competitions that honor individuals, companies, or to scientific or technical organizations in recognition of significant developments and contributions to the engineering and technological aspects of television.
Generally, the NATAS's Technology & Engineering Emmys ceremony is held in January, while the ATAS's Primetime Engineering Emmys are presented in October.
Each academy has its own separate panel of highly qualified, experienced engineers in the television industry to determine their respective award recipients. Among the ATAS's Engineering Emmy Award repertoire is the Philo T. Farnsworth Award
, given to honor companies who have significantly affected the state of television and broadcast engineering over a long period of time.
There are 20 regional chapters located across the United States that each conduct regional awards to recognize excellence in all the regional television markets
, including state to state programming as well as local news
and locally produced shows
. Nineteen of the regional chapters are affiliated with the NATAS, while the Los Angeles-based ATAS acts as the regional chapter serving the Los Angeles area.
In general, a show is considered regional if it does not reach more than 50 percent of U.S. households; programs that reach more than 50 percent of the country must enter into one of the national Emmy competitions instead.
The Regional Emmys are essential in helping NATAS and ATAS honor the works of deserving individuals in local TV through a regional outreach. Like the national awards, each region goes through their own rigorous nomination and voting procedures. Committees are formed to review entries for eligibility and high standards. Once accepted, each entry goes before different review committees, and their votes are cast to determine the final nominees. The final votes are then calculated by certified accounting firms within each region. Regardless of winning on a national or regional level, all recipients are Emmy Award winners.
Originally, each Regional Emmy Awards ceremony primarily focused on only honoring individuals in local news programming.
The regionals have since been expanded to encompass all locally and state to state-produced shows that receive less than fifty percent of the country's viewing audience.
The International Emmy Awards recognizes excellence in TV programming that is produced initially outside the United States. They have been presented annually by the IATAS since 1973.
The award ceremony generally takes place in November in New York City
In general, any non-U.S. organization or individual (such as a network, a local or regional television station, producer, director, or writer) may submit a program, regardless of whether they are a member of the IATAS. For shows that are co-produced
between U.S. and foreign production companies, they may be eligible if they initially aired outside of the U.S., or if their broadcast dates were within a few days of each other. A program that enters into the international competition cannot also be entered into any of the domestic ones.
The College Television Awards are presented by the ATAS in recognition of excellence in college student-produced works. College students nationwide can submit productions and receive recognition in such categories as Comedy, Documentary, Drama, Music, Newscasts, and Series. Entries are first judged by members of the ATAS specializing in each respective field. Winners are then selected by Blue Ribbon Panels. Any work submitted must include a form signed from a faculty advisor to verify that it was produced for a school related group, project, or class.
Similarly, the National Student Production Awards are presented by the NATAS in recognition of excellence in high school student-produced works. High school students nationwide can submit productions and receive recognition in news, craft and programming categories.
Highest achievement Emmys
*The Governors Award, the highest award presented by the ATAS, honors the achievements of an individual, company or organization whose works stand out with the immediacy of current achievement.
*The Trustees Award, the highest award presented by NATAS, honors the unusual or enduring achievements of an individual.
* Public Service, for public service announcement
s and programming to "advance the common good"
* The Bob Hope Humanitarian Award
, awarded by the ATAS Board of Governors to an individual in the industry whose humanitarian work have a lasting impact on society.
* List of Daytime Emmy Award winners
* List of Primetime Emmy Award winners
* List of International Emmy Award winners
;Other similar awards
* List of American television awards
* British Academy Television Awards
* Golden Globe Award
* National Television Awards
* Screen Actors Guild Award
* Streamy Awards
* Directors Guild of America Award
* Producers Guild of America Award
* Writers Guild of America Award
* TCA Awards
* Canadian Screen Awards
—film and television industry awards in Canada
* Logie Awards
—television broadcasting industry awards in Australia
* CableACE Award
—defunct award for Cable-based programming
Category:American television awards
Category:Performing arts trophies
Category:Awards established in 1949
Category:1949 establishments in the United States