Won’t let go: Two shows have won the top Emmy for primetime series over four consecutive years: “The Dick Van Dyke Show” (1963-66) and “Hill Street Blues” (1981-84).
Like a handful of other shows, “All in the Family” has copped a hat trick of three back-to-back awards (1971-73) but in its first year it also scored a best new series Emmy, so the Norman Lear sitcom actually took home four top program awards over three years.
Emmy redux: On five occasions, the winners of the year’s top comedy and drama series Emmys have came back together in a later year. Three of those times have been consecutive: “The Dick Van Dyke Show” and “The Defenders” (1963, ’64); “Taxi” and “Lou Grant” (1979, ’80) and “Cheers” and “Hill Street Blues” (1983, ’84).
At the top: “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” (1971-77) still clings to the Emmy all-time record with 29 awards. “Cheers” (1983-93) made a valiant effort to topple “MTM” but came up two short, with 27 statuettes. “Hill Street Blues” (26 Emmys) and “The Carol Burnett Show” (25) round out the top four.
Good Show: “Hill Street Blues” won eight Emmys in 1981, a record for any series, dramatic or comedic. This feat was matched in 1995, when “ER” snared an octet of statuettes. (Incidentally, best drama series was not among the medical drama’s bounty. The show was upset by “NYPD Blue.”)
Eye web, aye!: In the year of the controversial “Super Emmys,” CBS set the record for most primetime Emmys won by a single web. The Eye network received 44 statuettes in 1974, bolstered by awards from “MASH,” “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” “The Carol Burnett Show” and the telefilm “The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman.”
Out of left field: Five years after winning cable’s first Emmys (two for “Dear America: Letter Home From Vietnam”) HBO shocked the broadcast networks by topping them in the final award count. The cabler won 17 Emmys in 1993, bettering by one the total of runner-up NBC. Contributing to HBO’s banner year were wins for “Dream On,” “Barbarians at the Gate” and “The Positively True Adventures of the Alleged Texas Cheerleader-Murdering Mom.”
… And growing: Cable programming notched its highest statuette count yet in 1996, amassing 26 Emmys spread among shows such as “Dennis Miller Live” (HBO), “Truman” (HBO), “The Heidi Chronicles” (TNT) and “Survivors of the Holocaust” (TBS).
Nielson, Meet Emmy: Nine top-rated primetime shows have won a best series Emmy as well as finished at least one season at No. 1: “Texaco Star Theater,” “I Love Lucy,” “The $64,000 Question,” “Gunsmoke,” “Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In,” “All in the Family,” “60 Minutes,” “The Cosby Show,” “Seinfeld” and “ER.”
Nielson, Part II: On the flip side, an unlucky 13 series have been crowned the top-rated show for a season and failed to take home a top Emmy: “Wagon Train,” “The Beverly Hillbillies,” “Bonanza,” “The Andy Griffith Show,” “Three’s Company,” “Dallas,” “Dynasty” and “Home Improvement” have been nommed, but failed to take the prize. Four series — “Happy Days,” “Laverne & Shirley,” “Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts” and “Roseanne” — never have gotten as close as the nomination tally.
Creme de la Creme: “L.A. Law” (wins in 1987, ’89, ’90, and ’91) joins “Hill Street Blues” as the series with the most best drama series wins.
In comedy, “All in the Family” (1971-73, ’78), “The Dick Van Dyke Show” (1963-66) and “Cheers” (1983-84, ’89 and ’91) are tied with four awards apiece for best series.
Two series have won the top Emmy for musical-variety program three times each: “The Andy Williams Show” (1963, ’66, ’67) and “The Carol Burnett Show” (1972, ’74, ’75).
A single bound: “NYPD Blue” set the record for most nominations for a single series in 1994 with 26 bids. The Steven Bochco-produced crime drama beat the number posted by another Bochco cop program, “Hill Street Blues,” which corralled 21 noms in 1981 and in ’82.
Overall, the miniseries “Roots” is the nominations leader, having scored 37 bids in 1977. The Alex Haley adaptation also holds the record for most miniseries Emmys, with nine (the relatively low number due in part to multiple nominations within several categories).
All are welcome: At 1948’s premiere Emmys, 10 programs were announced nominees for most popular television program, the most bids for any Emmy category since.
What a deal: In 1976, the telefilm “Eleanor and Franklin” hooked 11 Emmys, still a record for a TV movie. Interestingly, neither of the pic’s lead actors, Edward Hermann and Jane Alexander, won statuettes. The MOW’s sequel, 1977’s “Eleanor and Franklin: “The White House Years,” repeated top special program and director wins, as well as duplicating the snubs of the thesps in the title roles.
Diaper dandies: “Hill Street Blues” and “ER” are tied for most primetime Emmys for a series’ debut season, at eight apiece. “Hill Street’s” awards were in 1981, “ER’s” in 1995.
Sound and Fury: In 1955, consternation and confusion over Emmy’s quickly changing rules and categories led Jack Webb of “Dragnet” to withdraw his nomination for best director of a seg of the crime drama. Besides the nommed episode was a repeat from the previous season that the Acad hadn’t checked out for eligibility.
That same year, the first record of an individual refusing an Emmy occurred when scribe Paul Gregory, a winner for the teleplay for “Caine Mutiny Court Martial,” believed that at least part of the award should have been given to Herman Wouk, “Caine’s” author.
King of the Hill: Producer-director Dwight Hemion is atop both the first animated program and the first syndicated show to win an award, for top children’s show.
A year later, “The Flintstones” became the first, and to date only, animated series nominated for best comedy show.
Adding ads: Twice Emmy has seen fit to award companies for achievement in commercials. In 1949, Lucky Strike won the award for cigarette commercials.
In 1955, Ford Motor Co. won for its ad series, though the award was given off-air, perhaps due to the fact that Oldsmobile was the Emmycast’s chief sponsor. Other noms went to Bank of America, Chrysler, and a pair of beer manufacturers.
First top series winner not from one of the Big Three webs: “NET Playhouse” in 1969, off PBS precursor National Education Television. PBS won its first top prize with 1972’s “Elizabeth R.” Fox first took a program prize in 1989 for “The Tracey Ullman Show” (best variety/musical). The WB scored with top animated program, “A Pinky & the Brain Christmas” in 1996.