The TV shows with the most Emmy wins
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The TV shows with the most Emmy wins

Every year a lot of Emmy Awards are given out. There are acting and writing awards for both comedy and drama and awards to programs from all walks of life. Comedies, dramas, variety shows, reality shows, you name it. Additionally, unlike movies, TV shows can be up for Emmys year in and year out. That means the truly beloved shows can take home a ton of statues. Here are the 21 TV shows with the most Emmys. Why 21? Because there are 21 shows that have won at least 18 Emmys. Sorry to the shows that ended up winning “only” 17 Emmys, like “Dancing with the Stars” and “Veep.”

 
1 of 21

“Taxi”

“Taxi”
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Given that the cast of “Taxi” includes such talented actors as Christopher Lloyd, Danny DeVito and Judd Hirsch, it’s not surprising that the sitcom took home 18 Emmys. This includes three wins for Outstanding Comedy Series. Strangely for such a successful show, “Taxi” ended up airing on two networks.

 
2 of 21

“Murphy Brown”

“Murphy Brown”
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Had the reboot of “Murphy Brown” been successful, it could have moved up on this list. Alas, that particular reboot was one of the biggest flops of the bunch. Candice Bergen’s five wins for Lead Actress in a Comedy Series helped power the show to 18 wins.

 
3 of 21

“Will and Grace”

“Will and Grace”
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The “Will and Grace” reboot has been more successful than that of “Murphy Brown” but only slightly, as it hasn’t added anymore wins to its 18 from the original run. However, it has earned three more nominations, giving it a whopping 91, a truly massive number.

 
4 of 21

“American Masters”

“American Masters”
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This PBS show owes its success to the relative lack of competition in the Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Series and also for the fact it has been airing since 1986. In many ways the comedy show “Documentary Now” is a parody of “American Masters.” Hey, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and the Emmys have also flattered the documentary series with 20 wins.

 
5 of 21

“Boardwalk Empire”

“Boardwalk Empire”
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Sure, having Martin Scorsese direct your pilot basically guarantees you a win, but “Boardwalk Empire” had to do more than that to make this list. While the HBO show kind of flew under the radar compared to some of its prestige TV brethren, it still managed 20 wins on 57 nominations over five seasons.

 
6 of 21

“24”

“24”
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It feels surprising, in retrospect, that “24” won Outstanding Drama Series. FOX’s action series doesn’t feel like a critical darling, but it took home a bunch of awards. The music of “24” earned it several of its 20 victories. Technical awards still count toward the total.

 
7 of 21

“NYPD Blue”

“NYPD Blue”
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Debuting in 1993, “NYPD Blue” helped to bring prestige to the police procedural. The show ran for over a decade, finally ending its run in 2005. Dennis Franz will always be remembered for his portrayal of Andy Sipowicz. He personally took home four of the 20 awards “NYPD Blue” won. If only David Caruso had stayed around.

 
8 of 21

“The Sopranos”

“The Sopranos”
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We’re sure you were waiting to see where “The Sopranos” ended up. After all, it basically turned HBO from a channel that showed movies and softcore erotica into a giant of original programming. In a way, HBO was the Netflix of its era, and “The Sopranos” was the bellwether of that. It took home 112 nominations, though it only won 21 of them. Maybe some voters weren’t quite ready for “The Sopranos.”

 
9 of 21

“All in the Family”

“All in the Family”
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“All in the Family” is an influential, classic sitcom. Not afraid to tackle issues, Norman Lear’s groundbreaking show won 22 Emmys on 55 nominations. That includes four wins for Outstanding Comedy Series and four more for Carroll O’Connor’s complex portrayal of Archie Bunker.

 
10 of 21

“Modern Family”

“Modern Family”
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“Modern Family” started off as an awards juggernaut, but eventually the relatively traditional comedy lost steam. The sitcom won a ton of Emmys early on, including taking home Outstanding Comedy Series five times. However, it didn't win a single award after 2015 and didn't even get any notable token nominations in its final season.

 
11 of 21

“The Daily Show with Jon Stewart”

“The Daily Show with Jon Stewart”
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“The Daily Show” existed with Craig Kilborn first, and it continues with Trevor Noah now, but the heyday of the show came during Jon Stewart’s time hosting. Under Stewart, “The Daily Show” became not just a successful comedy show but also one of the most trusted news shows. It won 23 Emmys while Stewart was hosting, including Outstanding, Variety, Music, or Comedy Series 10 times.

 
12 of 21

“ER”

“ER”
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Medical dramas have been a staple of TV for decades, but none has had more success than “ER.” Though it had to deal with stars leaving throughout its lengthy run, including a guy named George Clooney, none of that stopped "ER" from winning 23 Emmys. Of course, having 124 nominations certainly helped.

 
13 of 21

“The Carol Burnett Show”

“The Carol Burnett Show”
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Spoiler alert: “The Carol Burnett Show” doesn’t have the most wins of a comedy variety series. However, it still had an incredible run of success. Its writing was particularly rewarded, winning five of the show’s 25 Emmys. Tim Conway also picked up three for acting.

 
14 of 21

“The West Wing”

“The West Wing”
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Aaron Sorkin’s show got halfway to being on this list after one season alone. “The West Wing” won nine Emmys after its first season, the most ever. Over the year the political drama added several more, ending up with 26 Emmys in its run.

 
15 of 21

“Hill Street Blues”

“Hill Street Blues”
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If “NYPD Blue” made police procedurals prestigious, “Hill Street Blues” laid the groundwork for that in a big way. Cop shows like this didn’t really exist before 1981. While “Hill Street Blues” ran only through 1987, it managed to win 26 Emmys, including Outstanding Drama Series, in its first four seasons.

 
16 of 21

“Cheers”

“Cheers”
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The quintessential sitcom of the ‘80s, though it ran into the early ‘90s, “Cheers” had to deal with a lot of changes to the cast over the years. However, over time we came to know everybody’s name in Boston’s favorite bar, and the show won several acting Emmys during its 11-season run. In total, “Cheers” won 28 Emmys, including six for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series.

 
17 of 21

“The Mary Tyler Moore Show”

“The Mary Tyler Moore Show”
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We’ve reached the top five. “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” got a lot of bang for its buck. It didn’t have as many nominations as other shows on this list, as it managed "only" 67. That being said, it won 29 Emmys despite running for just seven seasons. That’s more than four Emmys per season!

 
18 of 21

“The Simpsons”

“The Simpsons”
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Hey, run for over 30 seasons and you are going to win a ton of Emmys, right? That’s especially true when you are the most beloved animated show of all time. The Emmys kind of section off “The Simpsons,” a cartoon, in its own realm with the other animated shows. Because of that, it’s arguably even more impressive that it’s managed 34 wins, though admitted 14 of those are for Outstanding Voiceover Performance. With three more nominations in 2020, another win could be coming. 

 
19 of 21

“Frasier”

“Frasier”
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Yes, “Frasier” has more wins than the show it spun off from: “Cheers.” In fact, it has more wins than any other sitcom. Unlike a lot of other shows, “Frasier” remained well received until the end. It added six Emmys in its final season, bringing its total to 37.

 
20 of 21

“Game of Thrones”

“Game of Thrones”
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There is a huge jump from “Frasier” to the top two. “Game of Thrones” has the benefit of picking up a ton of technical awards. Say what you will about the writing, especially in its final season, but it has had some impressive special effects over the years. It has the second-most nominations ever and also the second-most wins with 57.

 
21 of 21

“Saturday Night Live”

“Saturday Night Live”
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“Game of Thrones” wasn’t quite able to catch up with “Saturday Night Live” though. It’s the giant of the Emmys. Of course, it’s also been on since 1975 and is still going strong. The sketch-comedy behemoth has over 250 nominations, with more to come. As of this writing, it has 65 wins, but that’s likely to rise in the ensuing years. No show is ever going to catch “Saturday Night Live.” It will always have the most wins in Emmys history.

Chris Morgan is a sports and pop culture writer and the author of the books The Comic Galaxy of Mystery Science Theater 3000 and The Ash Heap of History. You can follow him on Twitter @ChrisXMorgan.

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