Culture Quiz: Surprising Emmy Awards Trivia

The Emmy nominations came out last week… and your name wasn't among them. So what if you won't win a little golden girl of your own? You can always astound and amaze with your knowledge of Emmys history, right?

Don Draper (Jon Hamm) and Megan Draper (Jessica Pare) - Mad Men - Season 5 - Gallery - Photo Credit: Frank Ockenfels/AMC

Photo: Frank Ockenfels/AMC

The Emmy nominations came out last week…and your name wasn't among them. (Our condolences to Mad Men's Jessica Paré, pictured above.) But so what if you won't win a little golden girl of your own? You can always astound and amaze with your knowledge of Emmys history, right?

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1.  What's that round thing Emmy's holding?

A. An atom

B. A globe

C. A testicle

D. Just a plain old sphere with no symbolic meaning

2.  What show has won the most Emmys ever?


B. Guiding Light

C. E.R.

D. Sesame Street

3.  What is Emmy named after?

A. The Academy's first president's wife

B. Political activist Emma Goldman

C. The image-orthicon camera tube

D. Poet Emily Dickinson

4.  What was the Emmy Award originally supposed to be called?

A. Ike

B. Lucy

C. Murrow

D. Gracie

5.  Film editor Louis McManus won a special award at the first Emmy Awards ceremony in 1949. What was it for?

A. Developing a way to reveal answers to viewers but not to contestants on quiz shows

B. Designing the Emmy Award statuette

C. Pioneering the three-camera setup for sitcoms

D. Inventing the laugh track

6.  The individual with the most Emmy wins is producer Sheila Nevins, with 22. What is she most known for?

A. Hour-long dramas

B. Reality shows

C. Comedies

D. Documentaries

7.  Camera operator Hector Ramirez has been nominated for more Emmys than any other person in Academy history—64 times (he won 17). In a recent interview, he said he considered it a snub when his work on a David Copperfield special in China wasn't given an Emmy. Who'd he lose to?

A. David Lynch for Twin Peaks

B. The camera operator who jimmied up the walk-and-talks on The West Wing

C. A stand-up-comedy show by Jimmie Walker, from Good Times

D. Footage of a water-skiing squirrel

8.  Which of the following wasn't a category at the first Emmy Awards?

A. Best Actor in a Drama

B. Best Film Made for Television

C. Station Award

D. Most Popular Television Program

9.  How many different organizations are responsible for the Emmys?

A. One

B. Two

C. Three

D. Four

10.  What would-be Emmy nominee scandalized the industry by sending out mailers to Academy voters that read, "Come on, you bloated, overprivileged Brentwood Jews. Let us into your little club"?

A. Mel Gibson

B. Hugh Laurie

C. Howard Stern

D. Seth MacFarlane

NOTE: Scroll down for answers and explanations.

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  1. (A) You have to keep in mind that the Emmys were conceived when television was still a relatively new medium, and in the Atomic Age. The atom represents the "electron of science" that made the wonder of TV possible. Emmy's wings, by the way, represent "the muse of art."

    1. (D) Today's answer is brought to you by the letter D. The groundbreaking children's show has won a whopping 108 Daytime Emmys, 7 Primetime Emmys, and a Lifetime Achievement Award. The winner of the most Primetime Emmys, with 37, is Frasier.

    2. (C) Remember what we were saying about how science-y the Academy was back in the day? The "Immy" turned into the "Emmy" once the statuette's feminine form was revealed.

    3. (A) It was supposed to be named Ike after the television iconoscope tube, but the Academy eventually decided it was too Eisenhower-esque.

    4. (B) The definition of irony: He was given a plaque.

    5. (D) She is the president of HBO Documentary Films and has worked on projects that have earned 47 Emmys, 31 Peabody Awards, and 21 Academy Awards.

    6. (C) "I was wondering if everyone was asleep," Ramirez said.

    7. (A) There was a single category for performers of either gender, Most Outstanding Television Personality. (Ventriloquist Shirley Dinsdale—and her puppet, Judy Splinters—won.)

    8. (C) It's kind of like recounting the details of all of Elizabeth Taylor's divorces, but there were originally two competing Academies, one based in L.A. (which started the Emmys but didn't give awards to non-L.A. shows at first) and the other in New York. They eventually merged and ran the Emmys together. A couple of decades ago, however, they had a nasty falling out, and L.A. got to run the Primetime Emmys while New York got the Daytime Emmys. New York later handed over responsibility for the Daytimes to L.A. but also spun off a separate organization focused on international TV shows. They all now have their fingers in the Emmy pie.

    9. (D) Seth MacFarlane's flagship show, Family Guy, no one failed to notice, didn't get a nomination.

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—Michael Y. Park is a writer living in New York City and a regular contributor to

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