The Primetime Emmy Award is an American award bestowed by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (ATAS) in recognition of excellence in American primetime television programming. First given out in 1949, the award was originally referred to as simply the "Emmy Awards" until the first Daytime Emmy Award ceremony was held in 1974 and the word "prime time" was added to distinguish between the two.

The Primetime Emmy Awards generally air in mid-September, on the Sunday before the official start of the fall television season. They are currently seen in rotation among the four major networks (ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC). The ceremony is typically moved to late-August if it is broadcast by NBC (such as in 2006, 2010, and 2014), so that it does not conflict with NBC's commitment to broadcasting Sunday-night NFL games (due to another conflict, this time with the MTV Video Music Awards, the 2014 ceremony was also shifted to a Monday).[1] However, the 2018 ceremony, to be broadcast by NBC, will be moved back to September and air on a Monday.

They are considered the television equivalent to the Academy Awards (film), Grammy Awards (music), and Tony Awards (stage). The awards are divided into three categories: Primetime Emmy Awards, Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards, and Primetime Engineering Emmy Awards.


Among the Primetime Emmy Award rules, a show must originally air on American television during the eligibility period between June 1 and May 31. In order to be considered a national primetime show, the program must air between 6:00 p.m. and 2:00 a.m., and to at least 50 percent of the country. A show that enters into the Primetime Emmy Awards cannot also be entered into the Daytime Emmy Awards or any other national Emmy competition. For shows in syndication, whose air times vary between media markets, they can either be entered in the Daytime or Primetime Emmy Awards (provided they still reach the 50 percent national reach), but not in both. For game shows that reach the 50 percent threshold, they can be entered into the Daytime Emmy Awards if they normally air before 8 p.m (including the former "access hour" from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.); otherwise, they are only eligible for the Primetime Emmy Awards. For web television programs, they must be available for downloading or streaming to more than 50 percent of the country, and like shows in syndication they can only enter in one of the national Emmy competitions.

Shows that are offered for pre-sale to consumers, whether on home video devices or via the Web, are ineligible if the pre-sale period starts more than 7 days before the show's initial airing. Also, a show that receives what the Academy calls a "general theatrical release" before its first airing (either via television or the Internet) is ineligible. The definition of this phrase excludes limited releases for the specific purpose of award qualification, such as screenings at film festivals or the one-week releases in Los Angeles (and, for documentaries, New York City as well) required for Oscar eligibility.[2]

Entries must be submitted by the end of April, even if a show is not scheduled to originally air until the following month when the eligibility period ends in May. Most award categories also require entries to include DVDs or tape masters of the show. For most series categories, any six episodes that originally aired during the eligibility period must be submitted (programs that were cancelled before airing their sixth episode are thus ineligible). For most individual achievement categories, only one episode is required to be submitted; if an episode is a two-parter, both parts may be included on the submitted DVD.

Ballots to select the nominations are sent to Academy members in June. For most categories, members from each of the branches vote 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, and is done by judging panels. In June, the Academy solicits volunteers among its active members to serve on these panels. All active members may serve on the program panels; otherwise they are restricted to those categories within their own branch.


Primetime Emmy Awards

The Primetime Emmy Award is awarded in the following categories:

Lead Actor
Lead Actress
Supporting Actor
Supporting Actress

Creative Arts Emmy Awards

The Creative Arts Emmy Awards are awarded in the following categories (some of which separately recognize work based on whether a single-camera or multi-camera setup was used):

Interactive Media
Lighting Design / Lighting Direction
Main Title Design
Picture Editing
Production Design
Sound Editing
Sound Mixing
Special and Visual Effects
Stunt Coordination
Technical Direction

Primetime Emmy Engineering Awards

The Engineering Emmy Award is given specifically for outstanding achievement in engineering. It is presented to an individual, company or organization for engineering developments so significant an improvement on existing methods or so innovative in nature that they materially affect the transmission, recording or reception of television. The award, which is Television's highest engineering honor, is determined by a jury of highly qualified, experienced engineers in the television industry.

  • Outstanding Achievement in Engineering Development (Primetime Emmy Statuette)
  • Engineering Plaque
  • Engineering Certificate

Retired categories

A number of awards have been retired throughout the years, including some that have been replaced by similar award categories in the Daytime Emmy Awards, Sports Emmy Awards, and other areas of recognition:


Overall wins by a performer, program, etc.

Overall nominations for a performer, program, etc.

See also


  1. ^ a b The fifth and final season of Breaking Bad was split into two parts. They are both considered the final season.


  1. ^ Hammond, Pete (August 20, 2014). "Emmygeddon: Can TV Academy Avoid Monday Night Traffic Nightmare?". Deadline.com. Retrieved August 22, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Criteria for Eligibility, Rule 10" (PDF). 69th Primetime Emmy Awards: 2016–2017 Rules and Procedures. Television Academy. March 17, 2017. Retrieved March 22, 2017. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba bb bc bd be bf bg bh bi bj bk bl "Facts & Figures for 2016 Nominations" (PDF). Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. July 14, 2016. Retrieved July 14, 2016. 
  4. ^ a b Dockterman, Eliana (September 18, 2016). "Game of Thrones Now Has the Most Emmy Wins Ever". TIME. Retrieved September 18, 2016. 
  5. ^ a b Beachum, Chris (September 17, 2017). "'Saturday Night Live' wins 4 more Emmys Sunday; extends mind-blowing Emmy series record for wins to 64". Gold Derby. Retrieved September 17, 2017. 
  6. ^ Sheehan, Paul (September 18, 2016). "Emmys 2016: 'Game of Thrones' sets new record as most awarded primetime series ever". Gold Derby. Retrieved September 18, 2016. 
  7. ^ "Boardwalk Empire". Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Retrieved September 20, 2016. 
  8. ^ Silverberg, Nicole (September 19, 2016). "This One Episode of Game of Thrones Just Won 7 Emmys". GQ. Retrieved September 19, 2016. 
  9. ^ Hughes, Sarah (September 19, 2016). "The Battle of The Bastards: Game of Thrones serves up TV's finest hour". The Guardian. Retrieved September 19, 2016. 
  10. ^ "'Game of Thrones' Episodes That Won Emmys: 'Battle of the Bastards' (2016)". Gold Derby. 
  11. ^ "The Handmaid's Tale". Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Retrieved September 17, 2017. 
  12. ^ "Transparent". Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Retrieved September 20, 2016. 
  13. ^ Whipp, Glenn (September 18, 2016). "Julia Louis-Dreyfus makes Emmy history". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 18, 2016. 
  14. ^ Andreeva, Nellie; Haithman, Diane (September 11, 2016). "'Making a Murderer' Sweeps Nonfiction Emmy Categories, Creators React To Brendan Dassey's Conviction Overturn". Deadline.com. Retrieved September 11, 2016. 
  15. ^ "Jon Stewart: Awards". IMDb. 
  16. ^ "Sheila Nevins: Awards". IMDb. 
  17. ^ Thurm, Eric (September 15, 2015). "Emmy Awards: Who's Won the Most? — Network With Most Emmy Wins: NBC". Rolling Stone. Retrieved September 15, 2015. 
  18. ^ Thurm, Eric (September 15, 2015). "Emmy Awards: Who's Won the Most? — Most Categories for a Single Nominee: 9". Rolling Stone. Retrieved September 15, 2015. 
  19. ^ "Lorne Michaels: Awards". IMDb. 
  20. ^ Miller, Julie (September 24, 2012). "Mad Men Sets the Saddest Emmy Record Ever". Vanity Fair. Retrieved September 24, 2012. 

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