The Primetime Emmy Awards generally air in mid-September, on the Sunday before the official start of the fall television season. They are currently seen in rotation among the four major networks (ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC). The ceremony is typically moved to late-August if it is broadcast by NBC (such as in 2006, 2010, and 2014), so that it does not conflict with NBC's commitment to broadcasting Sunday-night NFL games (due to another conflict, this time with the MTV Video Music Awards, the 2014 ceremony was also shifted to a Monday). However, the 2018 ceremony, broadcast by NBC, was moved back to September and aired on a Monday.
Among the Primetime Emmy Award rules, a show must originally air on American television during the eligibility period between June 1 and May 31 of any given year. In order to be considered a national primetime show, the program must air between 6:00 p.m. and 2:00 a.m., and to at least 50 percent of the country. A show that enters into the Primetime Emmy Awards cannot also be entered into the Daytime Emmy Awards or any other national Emmy competition. For shows in syndication, whose air times vary between media markets, they can either be entered in the Daytime or Primetime Emmy Awards (provided they still reach the 50 percent national reach), but not in both. For game shows that reach the 50 percent threshold, they can be entered into the Daytime Emmy Awards if they normally air before 8 p.m (including the former "access hour" from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.); otherwise, they are only eligible for the Primetime Emmy Awards. For web television programs, they must be available for downloading or streaming to more than 50 percent of the country, and like shows in syndication they can only enter in one of the national Emmy competitions.
Shows that are offered for pre-sale to consumers, whether on home video devices or via the Web, are ineligible if the pre-sale period starts more than 7 days before the show's initial airing. Also, a show that receives what the Academy calls a "general theatrical release" before its first airing (either via television or the Internet) is ineligible. The definition of this phrase excludes limited releases for the specific purpose of award qualification, such as screenings at film festivals or the one-week releases in Los Angeles (and, for documentaries, New York City as well) required for Oscar eligibility.
Entries must be submitted by the end of April, even if a show is not scheduled to originally air until the following month when the eligibility period ends in May. Most award categories also require entries to include DVDs or tape masters of the show. For most series categories, any six episodes that originally aired during the eligibility period must be submitted (programs that were cancelled before airing their sixth episode are thus ineligible). For most individual achievement categories, only one episode is required to be submitted; if an episode is a two-parter, both parts may be included on the submitted DVD.
Ballots to select the nominations are sent to Academy members in June. For most categories, members from each of the branches vote to determine the nominees only in their respective categories. All members can however vote for nominations in the best program categories. The final voting poll to determine the winners is held in August, and is done by judging panels. In June, the Academy solicits volunteers among its active members to serve on these panels. All active members may serve on the program panels; otherwise they are restricted to those categories within their own branch.
Primetime Emmy Awards
The Primetime Emmy Award is awarded in the following categories:
The Primetime Engineering Emmy Awards are given specifically for outstanding achievement in engineering. They are presented to an individual, company, or organization for engineering developments so significant an improvement on existing methods or so innovative in nature that they materially affect the transmission, recording, or reception of television. The award, which is television's highest engineering honor, is determined by a jury of highly qualified, experienced engineers in the television industry.
Outstanding Achievement in Engineering Development (Primetime Emmy Statuette)
Charles H. Jenkins Lifetime Achievement Award
Outstanding Achievement in Engineering Development
A number of awards have been retired throughout the years, including some that have been replaced by similar award categories in the Daytime Emmy Awards, Sports Emmy Awards, and other areas of recognition: