Who Votes for the Emmys

The Emmys are voted on by a variety of organizations. When your favorite program is up for an Emmy, have you ever considered who gets the final vote on whether or not your program receives the coveted award? Maybe you could make more accurate Emmy predictions if you knew who was choosing the winners. To answer this question, you first need to know which Emmy ceremony you're considering.

Daytime and Prime-Time Emmys
There are two distinct Emmy award shows: the Prime-Time Emmys and the Daytime Emmys. The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, based in Los Angeles, hands out the awards for prime-time programs. The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, based in New York City, hands out the daytime Emmy awards.

The primetime Emmys focus on prime-time programming, generally shows that air after 7PM at night. The daytime Emmys include not only daytime shows but also news and documentaries.

Who's Eligible to Vote?
The members of either of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences or the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences vote for the Emmy winners. Both the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, founded in 1946, and the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, founded in 1955, have members who work in all facets of the television industry. In order to be a member of the Academy, you must work in one of the 26 different peer groups and pay a membership fee.

The groups are divided based on the different areas of expertise within the industry. For example, actors comprise one peer group, while makeup artists are another group. The 26 different peer groups include everyone from camera operators to hairstylists.

Choosing the Nominees and Winners
Each year the Academy's Awards Committee, which includes two representatives from each peer group, oversees the Emmy selection process. First, a show must be nominated. The cast and crew members are allowed to nominate their own show. There is an entrance fee to submit your show for consideration. 

The Awards Committee reviews the nominees for eligibility. The show must meet specific requirements, including its time of production and airing. After all the nominations are received and screened, they are sent to the proper peer group for review.

Individual peer group members vote for entrants in their specialty. Actors vote on fellow actors, stylists vote for stylists and so forth. All Academy members, regardless of peer group, vote for certain categories, including best drama series and best miniseries.

Based on the peer group votes, the pool of nominations in each category is whittled down to just five in most categories. In the acting categories, there can be six nominees, or seven in case of a tie.

Judges from each peer group perform the final judging of the five finalists. The judges are strictly volunteers and they must view each of the five finalist's performances and cast their vote for the one they deem as the best. The judges' votes are tallied, and the top vote-getters receive Emmy awards. 

Recent Changes
For several years, the Academy had a blue-ribbon panel that reviewed submitted episodes from the top 10 nominees in each category to choose the final 5 nominees. Advocates of this system said it gave a fair chance for less-watched cable television shows to compete with widely seen broadcast television programs. These blue-ribbon panels were eliminated in 2009, partly because the Academy considered them too expensive to run. The list of potential nominees is now decided strictly by popularity among the Academy's members.

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