Fun TV Fact: Emmy Awards Voting Process

The Emmy winners are chosen by a different system than other TV awards, like the SAG awards, Golden Globe Awards, Television Critics Choice awards, etc. In this edition of Fun TV Fact, there’s a explanation of the Emmy voting system,

The winners of the Emmys are decided by a small part of the 16,000 TV Academy members, that’s different from the Academy Awards, where all the 5,800 members vote for most of the categories.

In the TV academy, members get to judge two program awards, and three other categories related to their field. For example, actors vote for two program awards, plus three acting races.

After the nominees are announced, in case of the series acting categories, the nominees submit an episode (that is supposed to be their best work of the season) that the judges will watch to determine the winner. In case of the series categories, producers of the comedy and drama nominees submit six sample episodes, which are divided into three pairs, distributed randomly to three groups of voters. There are about 300 members in each group.

Once the judges watch the submitted tapes for each of the six nominees, they will rank the contenders with scores from 1 to 6, 1 being the highest, and sign an affidavit where they attest that they viewed the tapes required. After that, they mail their final ballots and affidavits to Ernest & Young, where the accountants will tally the votes to determine the winner.

To determine the winner in each category, the accountants total up all scores and the contender in each category with the lowest tally will win. If there is a tie, the nominee with most number one votes will win.

Here is the calendar of the Emmy Awards’ voting process.

  • Week of August 6
    Creative Arts Awards: At-home judging DVDs mailed
  • Week of August 13
    Telecast Awards: At-home judging DVDs mailed
  • August 24, 5:00 PM
    Creative Arts Awards: Deadline for returning ballots
  • August 31, 5:00 PM
    Telecast Awards: Deadline for returning ballots
  • September 15
    Creative Arts Awards and Ball
  • September 23
    ABC telecast and Governors Ball



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