The Primetime Emmy Awards are awards presented by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences in recognition of excellence in American primetime television programming.
First awarded in 1949, they were originally referred to as just the "Emmy Awards" until the first Daytime Emmy Award ceremonies were held in the 1970s, and the word "primetime" was added to disambiguate between the two.
The Emmy Awards are administered by three sister organisations; the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, and the International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.
The Awards recognise excellence within various areas of the television industry, and are a symbol of peer recognition from over 12,000 members of the Academy, where each member casts a ballot for the category of competition in their field of expertise.
The Awards are divided into three categories - The Primetime Awards, The Daytime Awards and the L.A. Area Awards.
Only the Primetime Awards are screened in South Africa, which celebrate excellence in national prime-time programming, awarding top honours during the creative arts awards and the prime-time telecast.
The first Emmy Awards were presented on January 25, 1949 at the Hollywood Athletic Club. The name "Emmy" was a feminisation of "immy", a nickname used for the image orthicon tubes that were commonplace in early television cameras.
The Emmy Awards trophies are currently made by a private company with a manufacturing site at the maximum security El Dorado Correctional Facility, in El Dorado, Kansas.
The statuette of a winged woman holding an atom has since become the symbol of the TV Academy's goal of supporting and uplifting the art and science of television.
The wings represent the muse of art, and the atom represents the electron of science. It was created by television engineer Louis McManus, using his wife as a model.
The first five Emmy Award ceremonies were not broadcast on television (although they were covered live in the USA on radio). The sixth annual awards were the first to be televised, on a local California station (KCAL), in 1954. Since 1955 (the seventh edition) it has rotated among the big four networks (NBC, ABC, CBS and Fox).
The Primetime Emmy Awards previously aired live in South Africa on DStv's M-Net Movies 1 (formerly Movie Magic 1) channel, with a delayed broadcast on M-Net in primetime. From 2011-2013, the awards aired live on M-Net, with a repeat in primetime. The live broadcast moved to M-Net Movies Premiere in 2014, with the primetime broadcast on M-Net.
South African transmission times for all editions of the awards are incomplete, as TVSA only began in 2006.