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.
|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