The Emmy Awards, one of the most prestigious awards in television, kicked off its first season in 1949 with Syd Cassyd, founder of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Tickets to the Emmys show were a measly $5 and only six awards were presented.

Now, the award show pulls in millions of viewers at home and celebrates television across 16 categories. There are different types of Emmy Awards for which nominations are given out every year, including Primetime Emmys, Sports Emmys and Daytime Emmys. 

Here is a deeper look into the award ceremony, its history and the most award-winning shows and talent.


A close-up view of an Emmy Award

The Emmy Awards recognizes those in the television industry. (ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)

  1. How are the Emmys different from the Oscars?
  2. How does a Golden Globe differ from an Emmy?
  3. What does Emmy stand for?
  4. What qualifies a show for an Emmy?
  5. Who has won the greatest number of Emmys?
  6. What is the Emmy statue holding?

1. How are the Emmys different from the Oscars? 

The prime difference between the Emmys and Oscars is that Emmy Awards are received by television stars and shows while Oscars are awarded for film.

Emmy Awards, or Emmys, are accorded by three different organizations. Primetime Emmy Awards are administered by the Television Academy. The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences awards daytime TV and talent including sports, news and documentaries. The International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences is responsible for allocating International Emmys. 

Oscar nominees and winners are chosen by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, or The Academy.

Categories for Emmy Awards include best comedy, best drama, best limited series and best actor and actress for various genres. For the Oscars, categories include best picture, best directing, best actor, best screenplay and best cinematography. 

2. How does a Golden Globe differ from an Emmy? 

The Golden Globes commenced with film-related awards like The Oscars. Today, during a Golden Globes ceremony, there are awards provided for both film and television. The Globes award 14 film-related categories and 13 categories for television. 

Golden Globe Award statue

The Golden Globes give out awards in both television and movie categories. (Michael Buckner/Variety/Penske Media via Getty Images)


The Golden Globes are voted on by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.

On the other hand, Emmy Awards are only given to those in the television industry and movies are not at all involved. 

3. What does Emmy stand for? 

“Emmy” does not stand for anything and refers to the award that is given. It was Harry Lubcke, the third Academy president, who came up with the name. Lubcke suggested the name “immy” initially which came from the nickname of the image orthicon camera, according to the Emmy Awards website. For the first Emmy Awards ceremony in 1949, it was modified to a more feminine name, “Emmy” as we know it today.

4. What qualifies a show for an Emmy?

In order for a show to qualify for an Emmy, the show must have an air date on American television between June 1 and May 31 of the previous year. A “premiere” of the show must occur within this time period, according to the Emmy’s website. 

There are several categories that a show can qualify for, including daytime, children’s & family, international, news & documentary and sports. 

The cast of "Saturday Night Live" at the Emmys

“Saturday Night Live” has been nominated for over 300 Emmys and has won 82 awards. (Dan MacMedan/WireImage)


5. Who has won the greatest number of Emmys?

American actress and comedian Julia Louis Dreyfus has won 11 awards and has been nominated 26 times. 

Dreyfus was nominated for many Emmys for her portrayal of Elaine in the popular ’90s sitcom “Seinfeld,” and won an Emmy for the role in 1996. She won an Emmy in 2006 for “The New Adventures of Old Christine,” and scored most wins from the sitcom “Veep.” 

Dreyfus won nine Emmys for “Veep” and was inducted into the Emmys Hall of Fame in 2014. In regard to overall acting wins, Dreyfus and American actress Cloris Leachman are tied. The two have each been awarded eight Emmys for acting.

“Saturday Night Live” is the most-nominated series in Emmy history. The show has received 305 Emmy nominations and has won 82 Emmy Awards. 

6. What is the Emmy statue holding?

The Emmy statue that is given to winners is a gold-winged woman. The woman is holding an atom, which represents the science associated with television while the wings represent the art, according to the Emmys website. 

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