Status of the Emmy Awards, 1949-1979

The very first Emmy Awards ceremony took place on Tuesday, January 25th, 1949 from the Hollywood Athletic Club in Los Angeles, California. The broadcast was carried on KTSL-TV (now KCBS-TV). Only programs produced in Los Angeles were eligible. For the next five years, the Emmy Awards ceremony was seen on a local Los Angeles/Hollywood station. Beginning with the 7th Emmy Awards ceremony–held on Monday, March 7th, 1955–national programs were eligible and the broadcast was seen on network television. Until 1965, NBC was the broadcast home for the ceremony. After that, it rotated between the networks.

The history of the Emmy Awards is complicated and involves two different organizations: the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (ATAS, founded in 1945 in Los Angeles) and the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS, founded in 1955 in New York City). The two groups worked together for many years to produce the Emmy Awards. In 1974 a daytime ceremony was established. In 1977 the organizations split, with ATAS keeping the primetime Emmy Awards and NATAS in charge of the Daytime Entertainment Emmy Awards, the Sports Emmy Awards, the Technology & Engineering Emmy Awards, the News & Documentary Emmy Awards and the Humanitarian & Public Service Emmy Awards.

(The International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, founded in 1969, oversees the International Emmy Awards

I’ve put together the following status guide for the Emmy Awards ceremonies broadcast between 1949 and 1979. The UCLA Film & Television Archive houses the collection of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation. It has copies of every awards ceremony dating back to the 6th Emmy Awards, broadcast in February 1954 on KHJ-TV (now KCAL-TV). Both the Paley Center for Media and the Library of Congress have copies of various ceremonies.

It’s possible that the first five ceremonies were recorded and kinescopes could be out there somewhere, even though they aired on just one station.

Net Ceremony Airdate Status
KTSL-TV 1st Emmy Awards 01/25/1949  
KFI-TV 2nd Emmy Awards 01/27/1950  
KLAC-TV 3rd Emmy Awards 01/23/1951  
KECA-TV 4th Emmy Awards 02/18/1952  
KLAC-TV 5th Emmy Awards 02/03/1953  
KHJ-TV 6th Emmy Awards 02/11/1954 UCLA
NBC 7th Emmy Awards 03/07/1955 UCLA
NBC 8th Emmy Awards 03/17/1956 UCLA
NBC 9th Emmy Awards 03/16/1957 UCLA
NBC 10th Emmy Awards 04/15/1958 UCLA
NBC 11th Emmy Awards 05/06/1959 UCLA/Paley/LOC
NBC 12th Emmy Awards 06/20/1960 UCLA
NBC 13th Emmy Awards 05/16/1961 UCLA/Paley
NBC 14th Emmy Awards 05/22/1962 UCLA/Paley
NBC 15th Emmy Awards 05/26/1963 UCLA/Paley
NBC 16th Emmy Awards 05/25/1964 UCLA/Paley
NBC 17th Emmy Awards 09/12/1965 UCLA/Paley
CBS 18th Emmy Awards 05/22/1966 UCLA
ABC 19th Emmy Awards 06/04/1967 UCLA
NBC 20th Emmy Awards 05/19/1968 UCLA
CBS 21st Emmy Awards 06/08/1969 UCLA
ABC 22nd Emmy Awards 06/07/1970 UCLA/Paley
NBC 23rd Emmy Awards 05/09/1971 UCLA/Paley
CBS 24th Emmy Awards 05/14/1972 UCLA
ABC 25th Emmy Awards 05/20/1973 UCLA
NBC 26th Primetime Emmy Awards 05/28/1974 UCLA
CBS 27th Primetime Emmy Awards 05/19/1975 UCLA
ABC 28th Primetime Emmy Awards 05/17/1976 UCLA
NBC 29th Primetime Emmy Awards 09/11/1977 UCLA/Paley/LOC
CBS 30th Primetime Emmy Awards 09/17/1978 UCLA/Paley
ABC 31st Primetime Emmy Awards 09/09/1979 UCLA/Paley/LOC

For the record, I’m not sure when the title was officially changed from Emmy Awards to Primetime Emmy Awards. The first Daytime Emmy Awards were broadcast in 1974 so that seems like a likely date for the switch.

Revised June 2nd, 2016

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3 Replies to “Status of the Emmy Awards, 1949-1979”

  1. The Television Academy would do fans a favor and release past Emmy shows on home video. I have a copy of the 11th Annual Emmy show on DVD purchased from Shokus Video (if I could sneak a plug in); it was not digitally remastered but was entertaining nonetheless. Although I have most of the recent Emmy telecasts on videotape (including the infamous 1983 show with Joan Rivers and Eddie Murphy), it would be nice to have all of them in my collection. Come on, Television Academy: Release the shows to the public and make some money at the same time!

  2. In addition to the ‘Emmy Awards’, I’d also purchase dvd’s of old ‘Academy Awards’ and ‘Tony Awards’ broadcasts.

    This could turn into a nice income sideline for all the various academies.

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