The Primetime Emmy Award is an American award bestowed by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (ATAS) in recognition of excellence in American primetime television programming. First given out in 1949, the award was originally referred to as simply the "Emmy Awards" until the first Daytime Emmy Award ceremony was held in 1974 and the word "prime time" was added to distinguish between the two.
The Primetime Emmy Awards generally air in mid-September, on the Sunday before the official start of the fall television season. They are currently seen in rotation among the four major networks (ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox). The ceremony is typically moved to late-August if it is broadcast by NBC (such as in 2006, 2010, and 2014), so that it does not conflict with NBC's commitment to broadcasting Sunday-night NFL games (due to another conflict, this time with the MTV Video Music Awards, the 2014 ceremony was also shifted to a Monday). However, the 2018 ceremony, to be broadcast by NBC, was moved back to September and aired on a Monday.
They are considered television's equivalent to the Academy Awards (film), Grammy Awards (music), and Tony Awards (theater). The awards are divided into three categories: Primetime Emmy Awards, Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards, and Primetime Engineering Emmy Awards.