Ranking every Emmy-nominated series from worst to first
They are the topic of water-cooler talks across the country. They come into the homes of people all over the U.S. and become a part of their families. Whether binge-watched or viewed on a weekly basis, they provide excitement, laughs, and even a good heartfelt cry—all from the comfort of a couch. And on Monday, Sept. 17, they will be honored for their creativity, diversity, innovation, and excellence.
The Television Academy’s 70th Emmy Awards are right around the corner. With television overtaking movies as the format Americans get their quality entertainment fix, it’s more important than ever to recognize the achievements of TV’s best.
However, there are so many shows available on traditional broadcast networks, cable networks, and increasingly popular streaming services, it’s difficult to keep track of them all. Therefore, Stacker has compiled a list of all the TV shows that have been nominated in the Emmys’ drama series, comedy series, limited series, reality competition, structured reality program, and unstructured reality program categories. They are ranked based on their IMDb user ratings, with the number of IMDb user votes used to break any ties.
Only time will tell which shows will walk away as winners of the illustrious gold statuettes after “Saturday Night Live’s” Michael Che and Colin Jost host the 70th Emmy Awards on NBC. However, one thing is for sure—everyone is a winner when it comes to the quality of entertainment available on the television sets gracing the living rooms of 119.6 million homes in the U.S.
Read on to see which of your favorite series have been nominated for an Emmy this year.
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#37. The Voice
On air: 2011–present
Stars: Blake Shelton, Adam Levine, Carson Daly, Christina Aguilera
IMDb rating: 6.6
Singers have been battling it out in front of coaches, including Adam Levine and Blake Shelton, on NBC’s “The Voice” for 14 seasons. With a 15th season set to debut this fall, the reality talent show—which is nominated for 10 Emmys—features five stages of competition, starting with blind auditions and culminating with live performances during which viewers crown a winner. The show and its coaches have helped start modestly strong singing careers for several of its contestants, including season three’s winner Cassadee Pope, whose 2013 debut album “Frame By Frame” peaked at #1 on Billboard’s Top Country Album Chart.
#36. United Shades of America
On air: 2016–present
Stars: W. Kamau Bell, Russell Peters, Mark Nykanen, Chad McMullan
IMDb rating: 6.7
Sociopolitical comedian W. Kamau Bell has been exploring communities across America on CNN’s “United Shades of America” for three seasons. The documentary series—which is nominated for three Emmy Awards—aims to stimulate conversation about race and how differences both unite and divide the country. Its most recent season featured visits to the U.S.-Mexico border as well as several historically black colleges and universities.
#35. Naked and Afraid
On air: 2013–present
Stars: Michael Brown, Amanda Kaye, Amber Hargrove, E.J. Snyder
IMDb rating: 6.7
Discover Channel’s “Naked and Afraid” has been intriguing viewers for seven seasons with its concept of seeing how two people per episode survive for 21 days in the world’s harshest environments without any food, water, or clothes. The reality show has been a ratings sensation for the network since debuting in 2013, even scoring the record for the highest-rated survival telecast in Discovery Channel’s history since June 2009.
#34. American Ninja Warrior
On air: 2009–present
Stars: Matt Iseman, Akbar Gbajabiamila, Jenn Brown, Angela Sun
IMDb rating: 6.9
“American Ninja Warrior” has been a modest hit on NBC for seven summers. The reality show, based on the Japanese series “Sasuke,” challenges strong-willed competitors with a number of obstacle courses in qualifying rounds held across the country. The program has only seen a single competitor—Isaac Caldiero—earn the $1 million prize for completing all obstacle courses, including a grand finale modeled after Japan’s Mt. Midoriyama course.
On air: 2014–present
Stars: Anthony Anderson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Marcus Scribner, Miles Brown
IMDb rating: 7.1
Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross have been playing parents trying to raise a black family in an assimilated world on ABC’s comedy “Black-ish” for four seasons. Over the course of its run, which continues with a fifth season this fall, the series has tackled a number of issues to critical acclaim—including racism, sexuality, police brutality, and the 2016 election of President Donald Trump. It has since spawned a spinoff called “Grown-ish,” which airs on Freeform.
#32. Project Runway
On air: 2004–present
Stars: Tim Gunn, Heidi Klum, Nina Garcia, Michael Kors
IMDb rating: 7.3
Supermodel Heidi Klum has been hosting “Project Runway” for 16 seasons, which have aired on Bravo and Lifetime. The most recent season of the reality show, in which contestants compete to create clothing, aspired to celebrate body diversity by incorporating larger-sized models and requiring competitors to design fashionable attire for all body sizes. In addition to its three current Emmy nominations, the series won a Peabody Award in 2008 for “using the television reality contest genre to engage, inform, enlighten and entertain.”
#31. Antiques Roadshow
On air: 1997–present
Stars: Mark L. Walberg, Simeon Lipman, Lara Spencer, James Supp
IMDb rating: 7.4
Spanning 22 seasons so far, PBS’s “Antiques Roadshow” is the network’s most-watched ongoing series, earning an average of 8.5 million viewers each week. The reality show documents free appraisals of antiques and collectibles by specialists from auction houses and independent dealers from across the country. One of the most valuable items featured on the program was a collection of Chinese cups carved from rhinoceros horns appraised at $1–1.5 million.
#30. Lip Sync Battle
On air: 2015–present
Stars: LL Cool J, Chrissy Teigen, C.J. Tyson, Carlena Britch
IMDb rating: 7.4
Having aired on Paramount Network—formerly known as Spike—for four seasons, “Lip Sync Battle” sees two celebrities per episode take the stage in a lip sync showdown. Notable challengers featured in the LL Cool J-hosted reality show’s most recent season include Taye Diggs, Tara Lipinski, Kathy Bates, Rob Schneider, and Michael Bolton. The series has spawned 15 international adaptations as well as a kid-centric spinoff on Nickelodeon titled “Lip Sync Battle Shorties.”
#29. Shark Tank
On air: 2009–present
Stars: Kevin O'Leary, Phil Crowley, Robert Herjavec, Mark Cuban
IMDb rating: 7.5
Aspiring entrepreneurs present business models and products to a panel of five investors who are offered opportunities to become business partners with them in “Shark Tank,” which will be debuting its milestone 10th season this fall on ABC. Although some of the projects in which the “sharks” have invested have gone on to see great success, including sponge company Scrub Daddy—simply appearing on the program has helped some companies achieve sales increases.
#28. Inside Look: The Assassination of Gianni Versace, American Crime Story
On air: 2017–present
Stars: Darren Criss, Penélope Cruz, Ricky Martin, Edgar Ramírez
IMDb rating: 7.6
FX’s true crime anthology series, “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story,” is nominated for a whopping 18 Emmys, including Outstanding Original Series. Exploring Andrew Cunanan’s murder of designer Gianni Versace, the show made headlines upon its premiere when the Versace family released a statement criticizing the series and Maureen Orth's book “Vulgar Favors” on which it was based. Executive producer Ryan Murphy responded to the statement, defending the show and calling it “a work of non-fiction ... with docudrama elements.”2018 All rights reserved.