These Three Shows Have Far Fewer Emmy Wins Than You Probably Think

The 71st Primetime Emmys are expected to bring some record-breaking wins for several shows. Game of Thrones is looking to add several more trophies to their already impressive hall, and shows like The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel are looking to create a lasting legacy. While Emmy Awards are undoubtedly an excellent indicator that a show has performed well over the course of a season, it’s not the be-all and end-all of success. In fact, some wildly popular television shows have far fewer Emmy awards than you would expect.

Friends doesn’t have a vast Emmy haul to show for its success

Friends became a cultural icon almost immediately upon its release in 1994. Over ten seasons, nearly everyone in the country became acquainted with the six pals who attempted to navigate living in Manhattan in their 20s and 30s. Syndication kept the show fresh in the minds of millions, and a deal with Netflix ensured a younger generation would see the show, but the classic TV show has far fewer Emmys than you probably think.

While the series was nominated for 62 individual awards over its 10-year run, the show and its cast only managed to snatch six wins. Only two of the six main cast members managed to win an individual award. Lisa Kudrow, famed for her portrayal of Pheobe Buffay, picked up a win in the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series in 1998. Four years later Jennifer Aniston won in the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series category.  Courtney Cox, who played the loveably neurotic Monica Geller, was never even nominated, according to Entertainment Weekly.

NCIS has never won an Emmy

With 17 seasons under their belt, most fans would assume NCIS has picked up a ton of Emmy wins and nominations along the way, but in actuality, the show has been notoriously snubbed by The Television Academy. The police procedural has only been nominated for three Emmy Awards during the entirety of its run, and the show hasn’t taken home a single trophy.

NCIS cast | Photo by Sam Lothridge/CBS via Getty Images

The snubs seem intentional, but the lack of Emmy wins for the renowned show might have more to do with its format and the current television climate than a willful desire to snub the show. Episodic shows have had a notoriously difficult time gaining traction with The Television Academy. The committee behind the nominations seems to prefer shows that follow a season or series arc rather than an episode arc format.

NCIS also happened to hit television screens just as cable networks and, now, streaming platforms, hit their stride. The Oustanding Drama Series category has primarily been reserved for premium cable networks in recent years. A Network channel has not won in the division since 2006. The Sopranos win in 2007 appeared to herald in a brand new era for the category, and there seems to be no going back.

Prison Break only received one Emmy nomination during its six seasons

Prison Break is another show that received critical acclaim and took the world by storm. For the first several seasons, everyone was watching the show, but the Television Academy never felt the need to acknowledge all that went into the show.

Over the course of six seasons, the show received exactly one Emmy nomination, and that was for a Creative Arts Emmy. The cast and crew were completely locked out of the major categories. In 2006 the show was nominated in the Oustanding Original Main Title Theme Music category.  It lost ut to Masters of Horror, a short-lived dramatic offering from Showtime.