5 Records that could be broken at the Emmy Awards

Last year, Game of Thrones broke the record for most Emmy Award wins for a primetime show. The show has won 38 awards over the course of its first six seasons, beating the record once set by Frasier, which earned 37 awards over the course of its 11-season run. Game of Thrones also holds the record for most Emmy wins for a single season.

Because the seventh season of the HBO drama aired late this summer, the show isn’t eligible for any awards this year, but that doesn’t mean that other long-standing Emmy records won’t be broken in its absence.

In fact, Saturday Night Live has already broken its own record for the most Emmy nominations for a television program. The show, which earned 22 nominations this year, has now earned 231 Emmy nominations in its lifetime.  

Here are a few other Emmy records that could be broken this year.

Most wins for an actor or actress playing one character: For the past five years, Julia Louis-Dreyfus has won best actress in a comedy series for her work on the HBO comedy Veep. Since the show launched in 2012, the actress has won the award every year.

In 2016, Louis-Dreyfus set a new record for the most Emmy wins for best actress.

This year, she could set a new record for Emmys won by a performer for playing a character. The Veep star is currently tied for the record with Candice Bergen and Don Knotts, who won five Emmys for their respective work on Murphy Brown and The Andy Griffith Show. If Louis-Dreyfus wins her sixth award this year, she’ll officially hold the record.

Check out our interview with Emmy-nominated Veep writers David Mandel and Billy Kimball here.

Most wins for a series in its first season: In 2000, The West Wing won big during its first year at the Emmy Awards. The show won nine awards including best television drama, best casting for a television drama, best supporting actor (Richard Schiff), best supporting actress (Allison Janney) and outstanding writing. That record has stood for nearly two decades.

There will be stiff competition for the record this year though with several new shows garnering Emmy attention. Freshman dramas This is Us, Westworld, Stranger Things, The Crown and The Handmaid’s Tale each have multiple nominations. Not all of those shows can beat the record, but Westworld or Stranger Things have the potential to topple it. Each of those shows won five awards at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards, meaning that four wins on Sunday could tie the record and five would beat it.

Check out our interview with Carmen Cuba, the Emmy-winning casting director of Stranger Things here.

Youngest Emmy winner: One of the standout performances in Stranger Things was the brilliant supporting turn by Millie Bobby Brown. The young actress played the psychic youngster Eleven on the Netflix drama.

The thirteen year old is one of the youngest performers to receive an Emmy nomination, and if she wins, she’ll be the youngest Emmy winner ever. As Entertainment Weekly points out “If she wins, she’ll beat Roxana Zal (who was 14 when she won the Emmy for Something about Amelia in 1984) to become the youngest Emmy winner of all time.”

Most wins for an online-streaming series: Over the course of two seasons, Transparent has won 8 Emmy Awards. The show currently holds the record for most wins for an online-streaming program, but that record could easily fall.

The competition among streaming shows is fierce. House of Cards has won 7 Emmys in its first four seasons, and several freshman shows have already won multiple Emmys. The Handmaid’s Tale won three awards, while Stranger Things took home five at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards. The Handmaid’s Tale could tie the record for most wins for a streaming program while Stranger Things or House of Cards could demolish it.

Stranger Things, The Crown, House of Cards, and The Handmaid’s Tale also have the opportunity to become the first streaming program to win best drama while Master of None and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt could become the first streaming program to win best comedy.

Most wins for a comedy series: Modern Family won best comedy for the first five years it was in contention. The show tied Frasier, which also won that award for its first five seasons.

Veep has taken this top comedy award for the past two seasons, but Modern Family remains in the competition for the eighth year in a row. If Modern Family wins again, it will have won the award for best comedy more than any other program in history.

Click here for a full list of this year’s nominees.

Featured image: Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Photo: Justin M. Lubin


John Hanlon

John Hanlon is a freelance film and television critic. He has written for The Week, CNN.com, and USAToday.com. He also manages his own website at JohnHanlonReviews.com and can be found on Twitter @johnhanlon.