Emmy Award, often referred to simply as the Emmy, is an American 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) and the Grammy Awards (for music).
They are presented in various sectors of the television industry. As such, the awards are presented in various area-specific ceremonies held annually throughout the year. The two ceremonies that usually receive the most media coverage are the Primetime Emmys and the Daytime Emmys, primarily recognizing excellence in American primetime and daytime entertainment programming, respectively. Other notable Emmy Award ceremonies include those honoring national sports programming, national news and documentary shows, national business and financial reporting, shows that are produced and initially aired outside the United States, and technological and engineering achievements in television. In addition, Regional Emmy Awards are presented throughout the country at various times through the year, recognizing excellence in local and state to state television.
Three related but separate organizations present the Emmy Awards: the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (ATAS), the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS), and the International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Each is responsible for administering a particular set of Emmy award shows.
The Los Angeles-based Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (ATAS) established the Emmy Awards as part of an image-building and public relations opportunity. 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 York 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 States, with each one developing their own local Emmy awards show for local programming. The ATAS still however maintained its separate regional ceremony honoring local programming in the Los Angeles Area.
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.
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 TV Academy rejected a total of forty-seven proposals before settling on McManus' 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, Academy 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 therefore Academy members wanted something more unique. Finally, television engineer and the third academy president, Harry Lubcke, suggested the name "Immy", a term commonly used in the early image orthicon cameras. After "Immy" was chosen, it was later feminized to Emmy to match their female statuette.
Each Primetime Emmy statuette weighs six pounds, twelve-and-a-half ounces, and is made of copper, nickel, silver and gold. The statue stands 15.5 inches (39 cm) tall with a base diameter of 7.5 inches (19 cm) and weight of 88 oz (2.5 kg). The Regional Emmy Award statuette 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). Each takes five-and-one-half hours to make and is handled with white gloves to prevent fingerprints. The statues are manufactured by R.S. Owens Company based out of Chicago, Illinois who is also charged with manufacturing the Academy Award statues.
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 after one year after the award is presented.
The Emmys are presented in various area-specific ceremonies held annually throughout the calendar year, ranging from honoring nationally televised shows to regionally- and locally-produced programs. Each ceremony has their own set of nominating and voting procedures, along with different rules regarding voting committees. Also, the various ceremonies each have 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).
Regardless of which area-specific ceremony one wins an Emmy, all winners still may be generally 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, 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.