The first Emmy Awards show took place at the Hollywood Athletic Club in 1949. Hosted by Walter O’Keefe, tickets to the show were $5, and just six awards were handed out—one of which went to a ventriloquist.
Named after the image-orthicon camera tube, or “immy,” which was instrumental in capturing images for television, the Emmys were created by the Television Academy to award excellence in the television industry. The Emmy Award statue was designed to be a winged woman, representing the arts, holding up an atom, representing science. It was modeled after television engineer Louis McManus’ wife Dorothy McManus. As time went on, the Emmy Award gained acclaim and grew into one of the most prestigious awards in the entertainment industry.
In celebration of the Emmy Awards, Stacker compiled a comprehensive ranking of the best Emmy-nominated shows based on IMDb user ratings, with ties broken by votes. Data was sourced in May 2022. All drama, comedy, competition, variety, anthology, and limited series that have been nominated for at least one Emmy and have over 2,500 IMDb user votes were considered in the ranking. Nature documentary series were not considered in this list.
Over the years, the Emmys have become an awards show where anything might happen. From an impromptu make-out between “Veep’s” Julia Louis-Dreyfus and “Breaking Bad’s” Bryan Cranston to an unsuccessful prank to steal Betty Thomas’ award to Viola Davis’ powerful speech on diversity in the entertainment industry—the Emmy Awards have always brought together visionaries and artists with diverse perspectives.
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