25 most popular Emmy-nominated shows of 2019
In the late 1940s, the National Academy of Television, Arts, and Sciences hosted the first Emmy Awards. Named after a piece of TV equipment, the "immy" (short for image-orthicon tube), the awards were created to recognize the best acting, directing, writing, and production on television. The name was feminized into Emmy thanks to the awards statuette, which features a winged woman (the arts) holding an atom (the sciences).
During those first 1949 awards, which cost a measly $5 to attend, only six trophies were given out. The very first went to a ventriloquist, Shirley Dinsdale, for her work on “The Judy Splinters Show.” Today, the ceremony is much grander. The Primetime Emmy Awards dole out 27 trophies alone, while the Creative Arts Emmys dole out dozens more (including awards for categories like hairstyling and camera work). Additionally, tickets to the Emmys can no longer be purchased; instead, they’re offered to Television Academy members and nominees on an as-available basis.
What’s remained the same over the last 71 years is how Emmys are awarded. The Academy has over 25,000 active members, which are divided into 30 groups based on the individuals’ area of expertise. These groups then vote on the nominees and winners for the categories within their area of specialty. This makes each award a symbol of peer recognition rather than recognition by a governing body, a la the Oscars.
This year’s Primetime Emmy Awards will take place on Sept. 22. Stacker has rounded up the 25 most popular shows that have received nominations. All drama, comedy, competition, variety, and limited series nominated for at least one Emmy were considered. The shows have been ranked by the number of Wiki page views they’ve received (the data was pulled on Aug. 13, 2019).
Read on to find out which shows are poised to make history (or already have), and which series are looking to take home their first statuettes. Then be sure to tune in and root for your favorites.
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- Total pageviews: 1,688,194
- Daily average pageviews: 4,613
Starring Bill Hader as a Midwestern hitman, Barry Berkman, HBO’s “Barry” is a dark tragicomedy that was recently renewed for a third season. The show follows the Marine-turned-hitman as he travels to Los Angeles for a hit only to find acceptance in the city’s theater arts scene. “Barry” has been nominated for a total of 17 Emmys this year, including outstanding comedy series and outstanding writing for a comedy series.
#24. Escape at Dannemora
- Total pageviews: 1,970,330
- Daily average pageviews: 5,383
A limited series that premiered on Showtime at the end of 2018, “Escape at Dannemora” is based on the real-life escape of two prisoners from the Clinton Correctional Facility in upstate New York in 2015. Patricia Arquette stars as Joyce Mitchell, the married female prison employee that both men (played by Benicio del Toro and Paul Dano) become involved with, and who aids them in their flight. Directed by Ben Stiller, the seven-episode serial is up for 12 Emmys including outstanding limited series.
#23. RuPaul's Drag Race
- Total pageviews: 1,981,265
- Daily average pageviews: 5,413
Set to enter its 12th season in 2020, “RuPaul’s Drag Race” has become one of the most popular reality shows on TV and has even inspired a U.K. spinoff. Described as the ultimate search for the next drag superstar, this fun, and often dramatic, romp is up for nine Emmys at the 2019 awards. Among the nominations: outstanding hairstyling and outstanding makeup for a multi-camera series or special.
#22. Russian Doll
- Total pageviews: 2,010,789
- Daily average pageviews: 5,494
One of 2019’s breakout series, “Russian Doll” stars Natasha Lyonne (who created the show alongside Amy Poehler and Leslye Headland) as a game developer who’s stuck in a time loop. The comedy-drama is a Netflix Original, with a host of well-known guest stars, including many of Lyonne’s former “Orange Is the New Black” castmates. The series is nominated for 13 awards at the 71st Primetime Emmy Awards, including outstanding comedy series, an honor that led Lyonne to experience “a deep feeling of holy s--t.”
#21. Dead to Me
- Total pageviews: 2,030,600
- Daily average pageviews: 5,548
Another Netflix Original, “Dead to Me” is fueled by some serious Hollywood heavyweights including Christina Applegate, Linda Cardellini, Will Ferrell, and Adam McKay. The black comedy stars Applegate and Cardellini as two grieving women who form a relationship after joining group therapy. Ferrell and McKay act as executive producers on the series, which is nominated for one Emmy Award (outstanding lead actress in a comedy series, Christina Applegate) and was recently given the green light by the streaming platform for a second season.
#20. Saturday Night Live
- Total pageviews: 2,103,958
- Daily average pageviews: 5,749
Created by Lorne Michaels, “Saturday Night Live” premiered in 1975 and has won 62 Emmys over its 44 season run. The sketch comedy show, which often parodies current events and pop culture trends, has launched the careers of some of Hollywood’s funniest comedians. In 2017, the original cast of the show was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame. This year, "SNL" has garnered 18 nominations, including a fifth nomination for outstanding variety, music or comedy series.
- Total pageviews: 2,119,141
- Daily average pageviews: 5,790
“Fleabag” is a British comedy written by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who also stars as the titular character. She adapted the series from her one-woman play for the 2013 Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Known for its cutting humor and the characters’ tendencies to break the fourth wall, the second and most recent season of the show is nominated for 11 Emmy Awards. This is the first year that series has received any Emmy nominations (the show began airing in 2016).
#18. Sharp Objects
- Total pageviews: 2,202,189
- Daily average pageviews: 6,017
Based on Gillian Flynn’s novel of the same name, “Sharp Objects” is an HBO miniseries. The seriously creepy show starred some familiar Hollywood faces, like Amy Adams, Patricia Clarkson, and Chris Messina. The show originally was only going to be one season long, but keeping with the source material, creator Marti Noxon has recently dropped hints that it might come back for a second season. The show received eight nominations this year.
#17. True Detective
- Total pageviews: 2,430,616
- Daily average pageviews: 6,641
“True Detective” is a truly unique offering. Each season of the HBO anthology hit is structured as its own complete narrative with an entirely original cast. The third and most recent season starred Mahershala Ali and Stephen Dorff as partner detectives investigating the disappearance of two children. The dark and grisly show won new legions of fans and secured nine of HBO’s 137 nominations at the 71st Primetime Emmy Awards.
#16. How to Get Away with Murder
- Total pageviews: 2,568,151
- Daily average pageviews: 7,017
Gearing up for its sixth and final season, Shonda Rhimes’ runaway hit, “How to Get Away with Murder,” received three Emmy nods this year, including one for Viola Davis and one for Cicely Tyson. It follows a law professor (Davis) and five of her students as they become involved in a twisted murder plot that wildly changes the course of their lives. In 2015, Davis made history when she became the first African American woman to win an Emmy for best actress in a drama.2018 All rights reserved.