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The Emmy Award, often referred to simply as the Emmy, is a television production award, similar in nature to the Peabody Awards but more focused on entertainment, and is considered the television equivalent to the Academy Awards (for film), Grammy Awards (for music) and Tony Awards (for stage).

They are presented in various sectors of the television industry, including entertainment programming, news and documentary shows, and sports programming. As such, the awards are presented in various area-specific ceremonies held annually throughout the year. The best known of these ceremonies are the Primetime Emmy Awards, honoring excellence in Americanmarker primetime television programming (excluding sports), and the Daytime Emmy Awards, honoring excellence in Americanmarker daytime television programming.

Three related but separate organizations present the Emmy Awards:


The Los Angelesmarker-based Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (ATAS) established the Emmy Awards as part of an image-building and public relations opportunity. The name "Emmy" was chosen as a feminization of "immy", a nickname used for the image orthicon tubes that were common in early television cameras. To complement the name, the statuette was designed to depict a winged woman holding an atom, which 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.

The first Emmy Awards were presented 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, for Most Outstanding Television Personality, during that first awards ceremony.

In the 1950s, the ATAS expanded the Emmys into a national event, presenting the awards to shows broadcast nationwide. In 1955, the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS) was formed in New Yorkmarker as a sister organization to serve members on the East Coast, and help to also supervise the Emmys. The NATAS also established regional chapters throughout the United Statesmarker, with each one developing their own local Emmy awards show for local programming.

Originally there was only one Emmy Awards ceremony held per year to honor shows nationally broadcast in the United States. That changed when the Daytime Emmy Awards, a separate awards show specifically just for daytime programming, was first held in 1974. Other area-specific Emmy Awards ceremonies 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 ceremonies are listed along with the Primetime Emmy Awards in the ATAS' 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 shows.

Area-specific ceremonies

The Emmys are presented in various area-specific ceremonies held annually throughout the calendar year, with each having their own set of nominating and voting processes. Each ceremony also has its own set of award categories, and it is not uncommon for them to have some of the same names (e.g. Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series and Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series).

Primetime Emmys

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, CBS, NBC, and Fox networks.

Some award categories presented to behind-the-scenes personnel such as art directors, costume designers, cinematographers, casting directors, and sound editors are awarded at a separate Creative Arts Emmys ceremony held a few days earlier.

Daytime Emmys

The Daytime Emmy Awards, generally are held in 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.

Sports Emmys

The Sports Emmy Awards are presented 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 Citymarker.

Technology and Engineering Emmys

Technology & Engineering Emmy Awards are presented to individuals, companies, or to scientific or technical organizations in recognition for their significant developments and contributions to the technological and engineering aspects of television.

Regional Emmys

There are 20 total regional chapters located across the United States that conduct regional awards to recognize excellence in all the regional television markets, including local news programs and other locally-produced shows. Nineteen of them are chapters of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, while the Los Angeles-based Academy of Television Arts & Sciences acts as the regional chapter serving the Los Angeles area. The Regional Emmy Award is 11.5 inches (29 cm) tall with a base diameter of 5.5 inches (14 cm) and weight of 48 oz (1.4 kg), as opposed to the Prime Time Emmy, which stands tall with a base diameter of and weight of 88 oz (2.5 kg).

Regional chapter States in region
Boston / New England Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont; Most of Connecticut
Chicago / Midwest Parts of Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin
Heartland Colorado, Nebraska, Kansas, and Oklahoma; Parts of Wyoming
Lone Star Texas; Parts of New Mexico
Los Angeles (ATAS) Los Angeles only
Lower Great Lakes Parts of Indiana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania
Michigan Michigan
Mid-America Arkansas, Iowa, and Missouri; Parts of Illinois and Louisiana
Mid-Atlantic Deleware; Most of Pennsylvania; Parts of New Jersey and Ohio
Nashville / Midsouth North Carolina, Tennessee
National Capital / Chesapeake Bay Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.
New York New York; Parts of Connecticut and New Jersey
Northwest Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington
Ohio Valley Kentucky and West Virginia; Parts of Indiana and Ohio
Pacific Southwest Most of Southern California; Parts of Nevada
Rocky Mountain / Southwest Arizona and Utah; Most of New Mexico and Wyoming; Parts of Southern California
San Francisco / Northern California Northern California and Hawaii; Parts of Nevada
Southeast Mississippi and South Carolina; Most of Alabama and Georgia
Suncoast Florida; Parts of Alabama, Louisiana, and Georgia
Upper Midwest Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota; Parts of Nebraska and Wisconsin

International Emmys

The International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences presents the International Emmy Award to the best television programs produced, and initially aired, outside the U.S. There are fourteen program categories for the International Emmy Awards: Arts Programming; Best Performance by an Actor; Best Performance by an Actress; Children & Young People; Comedy; Current Affairs; Documentary; Drama Series; Interactive Channel; Interactive Program; Interactive TV Service; News; Non-Scripted Entertainment; Telenovela; and TV Movie/Mini-Series.

The awards are presented at the International Emmy Awards Gala. Held each year in November at the Hilton Hotel, New York City, the Gala attracts over 1,200 television professionals, who gather to celebrate excellence in television and network with their peers.

The three Interactive categories are awarded in a separate ceremony held during MIPTV in Cannesmarker.

Student Emmys

High school and college students can submit productions to their region's charter and receive recognition in the categories of News, Arts & Entertainment, Documentary, Public Affairs/Community Service/Public Service, Sports, Technical Achievement and Writing.The school or after-school program attached to the students then receives a plaque with the name of an adult advisor and the student film-makers. Up to one-hundred students are allowed to be attached to an award.

From there, a "blue-ribbon" panel judges the winners from each region and awards the National Student Television Award for Excellence.

However, in 2009, this program was suspended at a national level and competition went on only regionally. Per the website: "Partly as a result of the recent severe downturn in the nation’s economy, corporate and personal grants and donations that provided National Student Television (NSTV) with funds to conduct our annual competition have not materialized. There is no money to continue our operations."

Other Emmys

  • National TV newscasts and documentaries
  • Business and financial reporting
  • Public Service - for public service announcements and programming to "advance the common good"
  • The Bob Hope Humanitarian Award - awarded by the Academy Board of Governors
  • The Governors Award honors the achievements of an individual, company or organization whose works stand out with the immediacy of current achievement. It is the highest award presented by the Academy.

See also


  1. BBC Learning English | Emmy awards
  2. Emmys For Dame Helen/The Sopranos - Reality TV | Photos | News | Galleries
  3. 37th International Emmy Awards

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