Sunday, August 29, 2021

Seven Things to Know About the Emmy Awards

1. The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences awarded the first Emmys in 1948. However, the first winner for Best Dramatic Show was not bestowed until 1950. That honor went to Pulitzer Prize Playhouse, which featured 60-minute adaptations of Pulitzer Prize-winning works such as You Can't Take It With You, The Magnificent Ambersons, and Mary of Scotland. The series aired on ABC and was sponsored by the Joseph Schlitz Brewing Company.

2. Kelsey Grammer is the only actor to be nominated for playing the same character in three television series. He first appeared as Dr. Frasier Crane in Cheers and was twice nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series. He earned another nomination for playing Frasier in a guest-starring role on Wings in 1992. He capped it off with ten nominations and four wins for playing the title role in his Frasier TV series from 1993-2004. (And for the record, Kelsey also won for Outstanding Voice-Over Performance for The Simpsons in 2006.)

The Mary Tyler Moore Show cast.
3. The Mary Tyler Moore Show was nominated for each of its first four years, but failed to win an Emmy thanks to All in the Family and M*A*S*H. However, it then won three consecutive times for Outstanding Series--Comedy. By the time it finished its seven-year run in 1977, it had racked up an amazing 41 wins in various categories. That was the record for the most Emmys won by a single TV series until Frazier passed it 25 years later.

4. Television shows developed for streaming services and cable networks dominate the prime time Emmys these days--but it wasn't always that way. The Sopranos became the first cable TV series to win Outstanding Drama Series in 2004. It was nominated in 1999, 2000, and 2001--losing to, respectively, The Practice and The West Wing (twice).

5. Harry Belafonte was the first Black performer to win an Emmy. His episode "Tonight with Belafonte" on The Revlon Revue won for Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program in 1960 (see photo at the bottom of this post). Belafonte and Sammy Davis, Jr. were the first Black actors to be nominated for an Emmy in 1956. The first Black actress to win an Emmy was Gail Fisher for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for Mannix in 1970.

6. As Erica Kane on All My Children, Susan Lucci was nominated 21 times for the Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. She finally won an Emmy with her 19th nomination. It was her only win out of 21 total nominations. Don't feel sorry for her, though, as Susan Lucci became daytime television's highest-paid star in the early 1990s, earning $1 million annually.

7. Dick Van Dyke once said: "I've won several Emmys, a Tony and a Grammy so maybe somebody will let me have an Oscar, and then I'll have a full set."

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  1. Those numbers for Frasier and Mary Tyler Moore show us that sometimes quality does win.

    Bonus fun fact: Maverick is the only program awarded an Emmy in the one-time-only category of Best Western Series in 1959.

    1. That is a fun fact...and nice that a memorable Western won the award.

  2. Is there any way to find Pulitzer Prize Playhouse? They did an adaptation of a novel that didn't win the Pulitzer Prize, but was by a recent Prize Winner. The Just And The Unjust was by James Gould Cozzens. It was also notable for being Richard Kiley's first important roe, as an idealistic small-town ADA.