5 amazing facts about the first Emmy Awards!

5 amazing facts about the first Emmy Awards!

We really enjoyed the Emmy award 2020 ceremony. It was a huge success despite going “virtual”. Jimmy Kimmel hilariously presented the awards, pulling it off with effortless charm and many funny moments, despite all the social distancing restrictions.  It was a massive effort in logistics but so entertaining and original that the show really deserved to win a historical Emmy itself! If you have ever wondered how an Emmy is won keep reading to find out all the secrets behind this prestigious and legendary award.

  • In 1946 Sid Cassidy founded the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences and the first president was Edgard Bergen.  They had five charter members. It’s much bigger these days with 29 peer groups representing specific professions and 22,400 members in the judging panels.
  • The first Emmys ceremony took place in 1949 with six categories awarded. Louis McManus was awarded for the design of the statuette that represents the muse of art.
  • The tickets to the event cost $5 at the Hollywood Athletic Club in Los Angeles. 
  • The first Emmy award went to American ventriloquist Shirley Dinsdale and her doll "Judy Splinters" for Outstanding Television Personality.
  • In 1960 Harry Bellafonte was the first African American to win an Emmy.

So you must be wondering how nominees are selected? Well, to be nominated shows, actors and individual craft must be submitted, and you can even submit yourself!

Shirley Dinsdale & Judy Splinters at the first Emmy ceremony

When the submissions are in the voting begins. All academy voters may vote on program categories but those 29-peer groups vote on categories specific to their profession, such as performers, directors, casting, make-up, etc. Then ballots are tallied. Ernst & Young Accountants check those ballots. In spring the nominees are announced.

A few weeks after the nominations are released the final round voting opens. Academy voters watch submissions, vote on programs and their peer group category. Over the years voters watch nominated programs at local hotels or on DVDs at home for blue ribbon panels and now they watch online. The final round ballots are balanced and checked by Ernst & Young Accountants.

Then the names of winners are revealed to the director of the ceremony as the show is airing! So it just goes to show that a lot of behind the scenes efforts goes into making The Emmy awards so memorable and entertaining. I can’t wait for next year’s awards already!

Corey Robertson

Corey Robertson is an American journalist and writer. She has over 20 years experience in the movie industry. A pretzels fan who loves Hollywood romantic comedies and a walk in the park. + info

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