The Most Award-Winning TV Shows In History
Did your favorite make this list?
Every year, the Emmy Awards mark the official start to awards season, ushering in months of breathless excitement as we ogle stars on the red carpet, root for our favorite TV shows to take home a coveted prize and laugh (or cry) along with the most moving acceptance speeches. And with the 70th Emmy Awards barely behind us, it seems there’s no better time to celebrate the most-awarded TV shows of all time.
We’ve counted up all of the Emmys and Golden Globes, along with every other award we could find, so you don’t have to. This list features television shows both old and new, from the not-quite-finished-yet “Game of Thrones” to recent favorites like “Breaking Bad,” and from older originals (“Cheers”) to their equally impressive spin-offs (“Frasier”).
This year’s awards season is sure to heat up as older favorites like “Will & Grace” line up for more awards and newer shows climb higher on this list. Still, the awards-show throne will likely be held by its current No. 1 winner for a long time.
‘The Golden Girls’ — 40 Wins
“The Golden Girls” was a beloved NBC series starring Bea Arthur, Betty White, Rue McLanahan and Estelle Getty as four older women who share a home in Miami, Florida. Over 180 episodes, the show garnered many accolades.
“The Golden Girls” totaled four Golden Globes and 11 Primetime Emmys, along with other awards such as ASCAP Film and Television Music Awards. Unsurprisingly, the Writers Guild of America has also listed “The Golden Girls” on its list of the 101 Best Written TV Series of All Time. These days, fans of the foursome can still catch their tales on TV or Hulu.
‘All In The Family’ — 42 Wins
One of the most seasoned TV shows on this list is “All in the Family,” which ran on CBS from 1971-1979 and led to several spin-offs, including “Archie Bunker’s Place.” The show starred Carroll O’Connor, Jean Stapleton, Sally Struthers and Rob Reiner as a working-class family in Queens, New York.
During its nine-season run, “All in the Family” won 22 Emmys and eight Golden Globes and was frequently lauded for the way it dealt with topics such as racism, anti-Semitism, homosexuality, women’s liberation, the Vietnam War and more. It also has the fourth spot on the Writers Guild of America’s list of 101 Best Written TV Series. These days, new audiences can discover the show on Amazon.
‘The Mary Tyler Moore Show’ — 42 Wins
Another ’70s show that made this list, “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” ran from 1970-1977 on CBS and centered on a never-married, independent career woman. The sitcom starred Mary Tyler Moore as Mary Richards, a single woman who moved to Minneapolis after a broken engagement and landed a job as the associate producer of a news show.
“The Mary Tyler Moore Show” eventually won 32 Emmy Awards and three Golden Globes. For fans who want to rewatch the original single-girl-in-the-city comedy, head over to Hulu for the entire series.
‘L.A. Law’ — 45 Wins
These days, there are dozens of cop shows on TV, but that was not the case when the superb “L.A. Law” aired on NBC from 1986-1994. The show had an ensemble cast that included Corbin Bernsen, Jimmy Smits, Harry Hamlin and many others. “L.A. Law” was also known for some phenomenal guest stars, such as Don Cheadle, Kathy Bates, Bryan Cranston and more, and it featured storylines that touched on hot-topic issues such as capital punishment, abortion and gay rights.
“L.A. Law” won 15 Emmy Awards (including four for Outstanding Drama Series) and five Golden Globes, as well as numerous People’s Choice Awards, Television Critics Association Awards and more. An “L.A. Law” reboot was shopped around in 2017 but has since been delayed, so fans have to make do with the series on Amazon.
‘Murphy Brown’ — 49 Wins
In what could be described as a successor to “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” “Murphy Brown” is another series about a powerful career woman making it big. Starring Candice Bergen as Murphy Brown, a famous investigative journalist for a fictional television newsmagazine, “Murphy Brown” ran from 1988-1998. The sitcom totaled 247 episodes and won numerous awards.
Some of those awards include 18 Emmys, three Golden Globes, plus smaller awards such as the BMI Film and TV Awards. In a stunning turn of good news, CBS announced in January 2018 that a 13-episode revival of “Murphy Brown” is set to air this fall.
‘The Cosby Show’ — 54 Wins
Although it’s difficult to talk about “The Cosby Show” without thinking of Bill Cosby’s sexual assault conviction, the show was once a favorite of audiences and critics alike. Airing for eight seasons on NBC, “The Cosby Show” focused on an upper-middle-class African-American family living in New York City.
“The Cosby Show” won three Golden Globes and 11 Primetime Emmys, along with a recent Image Award and others. It also led to the spin-off “A Different World” and has been credited for making it possible for other predominantly African-American-cast shows, such as “In Living Color” and “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” to appear on TV.
‘The Practice’ — 56 Wins
Following the trend of cop and legal dramas, “The Practice” ran for eight seasons on ABC, airing from 1997-2004, and centered around the partners and associates at a Boston law firm. The show starred Dylan McDermott, Kelli Williams, Camryn Manheim, Lara Flynn Boyle, Steve Harris and more.
During its run, “The Practice” won 15 Emmys and three Golden Globes, plus other prizes such as the Humanitas Prize and an Edgar Allan Poe Award. For those who want to relive the drama and excitement, “The Practice” is available on Hulu.
‘Everybody Loves Raymond’ — 56 Wins
It was hard not to love “Everybody Loves Raymond,” and the CBS sitcom aired for nine seasons. Although Ray Romano starred as the titular Raymond, fans couldn’t help but become equally fond of his boisterous family played by Patricia Heaton, Brad Garrett, Doris Roberts and Peter Boyle.
During the 210 episodes between 1996 and 2005, “Everybody Loves Raymond” collected two Golden Globes, 15 Emmys and many other awards including Screen Actors Guild Awards and AFI Awards. Thankfully, fans of the show can still frequently catch it on TBS or re-watch to their heart’s content by buying the series on Amazon.
‘Six Feet Under’ — 57 Wins
The much-lauded HBO drama “Six Feet Under” aired from 2001- 2005 and followed the lives of the Los Angeles-based Fisher family and their funeral home. The ensemble cast included Peter Krause, Michael C. Hall, Frances Conroy, Lauren Ambrose and more.
“Six Feet Under” ended up winning five Golden Globes and nine Emmys, along with Screen Actors Guild Awards and a Peabody Award. Impressively, it also made the list of TIME magazine’s All-TIME 100 TV Shows. The show is still available to watch with a digital subscription to HBO.
‘Downton Abbey’ — 57 Wins
This much-loved British period drama aired in the U.S. on PBS starting in 2011. Set on the fictional Yorkshire country estate of Downton Abbey between 1912 and 1926, the series follows the aristocratic Crawley family and their domestic servants. Maggie Smith’s portrayal, in particular, has drawn many accolades.
Winning 15 Emmys and three Golden Globes, “Downton Abbey” has also received a Golden Derby Award, Costume Designers Guild Award and others. In 2015, the sixth and final season aired but fans will be thrilled to find out that a film adaptation of “Downton Abbey” is coming soon. Make sure you have the popcorn ready for Sept. 19, 2019, when the film is set to hit North American screens.
‘Hill Street Blues’ — 59 Wins
Another oldie but a goodie, “Hill Street Blues” was an NBC police drama that aired for a total of 146 episodes from 1981-1987. The show took place in an unnamed large city and centered around a police station located on the fictional Hill Street.
“Hill Street Blues” received critical acclaim, along with 26 Emmy Awards (including eight during its debut season!) and an amazing total of 98 Emmy nominations during its run. There were many other prizes handed to this cop show, including awards from the Directors Guild and the Humanitas Prize. The series is now available to watch and re-watch on Hulu.
‘Veep’ — 62 Wins
Another critical darling for HBO, “Veep” has garnered much attention with Julia Louis-Dreyfus playing the snarky, self-obsessed Vice President of the United States of America. The American political satire, which was based on the British sitcom, “The Thick of It,” first premiered in April 2012 and is set to end with a seventh season in 2019.
Throughout its run, “Veep” has received 17 Emmys but no Golden Globes despite seven nominations. When she won her sixth Emmy for “Veep” in 2017, Julia Louis-Dreyfus made history with the most Emmys won by a single performer for one role. The show has also garnered many other awards, including a Screen Actors Guild Awards and awards from the Directors Guild of America. Make sure to catch up on episodes on HBO before the final, seven-episode season airs.
‘M*A*S*H’ — 62 Wins
One of the oldest and highest-rated shows in U.S. television history, “M*A*S*H” was an American war dramedy that aired on CBS from 1972-1983. The show followed a team of doctors and their support staff during the Korean War.
The show has received many awards, including seven Golden Globes, 14 Emmys, awards from the Directors Guild of America, People’s Choice Awards and the Peabody Award. The show’s movie and the entire series is available on Amazon.
‘Boardwalk Empire’ — 64 Wins
HBO hasn’t slowed down with its award-winning television shows, as “Boardwalk Empire” proves. The period crime drama, which ran from 2010-2014, was set during the Prohibition Era and took place in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The narrative primarily focused on Steve Buscemi’s character, though notable guest stars, such as the award-winning Bobby Cannavale, also made many appearances.
Receiving widespread acclaim, “Boardwalk Empire” won 20 Emmy Awards and four Golden Globes during its run and stood out with other award shows such as the Screen Actors Guild Awards and the AFI Awards. As with other HBO shows, you can catch up on episodes with a digital subscription.
‘Friends’ — 69 Wins
“Friends,” which ran for 10 seasons on NBC, made stars of its ensemble cast. From 1994-2004, Jennifer Aniston, Courtney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry and David Schwimmer graced our television screens as best friends living in Manhattan.
The series won only one Golden Globe but ultimately received 24 Primetime Emmy Awards, along with numerous People’s Choice Awards, Teen Choice Awards and many others. You can often still catch the series on television or find the entire series on Netflix if you’re up for 10 seasons of binging.
’24’ — 70 Wins
The first Fox series on this list, “24” aired for 192 episodes over eight seasons with the finale broadcast on May 2010. It starred Keifer Sutherland as Jack Bauer, a counterterrorist. The show also spawned “24: Redemption,” “24: Live Another Day” and “24: Legacy.”
During the series run, “24” won 20 Emmys, two Golden Globes and numerous Screen Actors Guild Awards, among others. Today, you can find the entire series on Amazon and fans can look forward to a prequel to “24,” which is currently being developed by Fox. Ever wonder how Jack Bauer became Jack Bauer? Now you might find out.
‘Cheers’ — 77 Wins
“Cheers” was a clever sitcom that aired on NBC from 1982-1993. During the 275 episodes over 11 seasons, the audience followed the patrons and owner of the Cheers bar in Boston, Massachusetts. The show’s theme song, “Where Everybody Knows Your Name,” became the show’s catchphrase.
Over its run, “Cheers” received 28 Emmys and five Golden Globes, and garnered attention from the ASCAP Film and Television Music Awards, the Directors Guild of America and many others. The Writers Guild of America ranked it as eighth on its list of 101 Best Written TV series and GQ recently declared “Cheers” the Best TV Show That’s Ever Been. Currently, fans can catch the show on Netflix.
‘NYPD Blue’ — 86 Wins
Another police procedural, “NYPD Blue” was an ABC drama that ran from 1993-2005 and followed the detectives of the fictional 15th Precinct in Manhattan. The ensemble cast included Jimmy Smits, Dennis Franz, Gordon Clapp and James McDaniel.
During its run, “NYPD Blue” won 20 Emmys, four Golden Globes and numerous other awards including some from the Casting Society of America and the Directors Guild of America. “NYPD Blue” recently celebrated its 25th anniversary and the stars reflected on everything that the show has meant to them over the years. The show is now available to watch on Hulu.
’30 Rock’ — 86 Wins
Coming off of her time on “Saturday Night Live,” Tina Fey created this satirical TV series that ran on NBC from 2006-2013. The show, which is famously produced in a single-camera setup, was filmed in New York City and ran for seven seasons, led by Fey with a supporting cast of Alec Baldwin, Tracy Morgan, Jane Krakowski and more.
“30 Rock” won 16 Emmy Awards and six Golden Globes, along with many other awards including some from the Screen Actors Guild and the American Cinema Editors. Although fans were disappointed to learn that the show left Netflix last year, you can currently catch up on old episodes on Hulu.
‘Will & Grace’ — 93 Wins
Happy birthday, “Will & Grace!” The show recently turned 20 years old, after beginning on NBC in September 1998 and running until May 2006 for a total of eight seasons. Starring Eric McCormack and Debra Messing as the titular Will and Grace, the series also produced fan favorites Sean Hayes and Meghan Mullally.
“Will & Grace” won 16 Emmy Awards but no Golden Globes. The show was last nominated for two Golden Globes in 2018 after a revival became so popular that it was renewed at least through three seasons. During its original run, “Will & Grace” also won many other accolades, including recognition from the American Comedy Awards and the GLAAD Media Awards. You can watch the original “Will & Grace” series on NBC as well as the original and new seasons on Hulu.
‘The X-Files’ — 96 Wins
Possibly the scariest television show on this list, “The X-Files” was a sci-fi drama that aired on Fox from 1993-2002. The nine seasons were eventually followed by a short 10th season that premiered in January 2016 and another season premiered in January 2018. The series, which starred David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson, also spawned the 1998 film, “The X-Files,” and the 2008 film, “The X-Files: I Want to Believe.”
Over its many seasons and movies, “The X-Files” received 15 Emmys, five Golden Globes and a variety of other awards including some from the Environmental Media Awards and the Online Film & Television Association. Although there will not be a 12th season, fans can still watch full episodes on Fox’s website.
‘Modern Family’ — 117 Wins
The first show on our list to garner over 100 wins is none other than ABC’s “Modern Family.” The mockumentary family sitcom began airing in September 2009 and is set to conclude with the 10th season premiering this fall. The show follows the lives of the Pritchett family of suburban Los Angeles, and includes Ed O’Neill, Sofia Vergara, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Ty Burrell, Julie Bowen, Eric Stonestreet and others as the extended clan.
So far, “Modern Family” has earned 22 Emmy Awards and one Golden Globe, along with many other accolades from the Screen Actors Guild, the American Cinema Editors and more. Although rumors still swirl about a possible 11th season, you can catch the latest season on Hulu.
‘The Sopranos’ — 118 Wins
“The Sopranos” premiered on HBO in the beginning of 1999 and ran for six seasons until June 2007. The crime drama followed the Italian-American mobster, Tony Soprano, as he attempted to balance his home life and his criminal organization.
During its run, “The Sopranos” garnered critical acclaim and became widely regarded as one of the greatest television series of all time, despite the controversial ending. The show won 21 Emmy Awards and five Golden Globes, along with Peabody Awards, awards from the Directors Guild of America and more. The show is currently available on HBO and was named the best-written TV series by the Writers Guild of America.
‘The West Wing’ — 120 Wins
“The West Wing” was a highly regarded political drama that ran on NBC from 1999-2006. Primarily, the show took place in the West Wing of the White House (where you can find the Oval Office and the offices of the president’s senior staff) under the fictional Democratic administration of Josiah Bartlet.
During its many seasons, “The West Wing” won 26 Emmys, two Golden Globes and many other awards such as the Screen Actors Guild Award and the Peabody Award. It is widely considered an influential TV series, featuring creator Aaron Sorkin’s now-signature dialogue style. These days, fans can watch and re-watch the full series on Netflix.
‘Frasier’ — 130 Wins
The only spin-off to make it onto this list , “Frasier” was supposed to be a little brother to “Cheers,” but it then went on to win more awards than the original. The show premiered in 1993 and ran until 2004, and it followed the story of psychiatrist Frasier Crane (played by Kelsey Grammer) after he moved back to Seattle to become a radio personality.
During its 11 seasons on NBC, “Frasier” received a whopping 27 Emmy Awards and three Golden Globes, along with accolades from the Screen Actors Guild, the Writers Guild of America and many more. The show was filled with many memorable nuggets, which fans can relive on Netflix.
‘Mad Men’ — 135 Wins
Period dramas do well with award shows, though this is only partially why “Mad Men” cleaned up over its seven-season run. Airing on AMC from 2007-2015, “Mad Men” was set primarily in 1960s New York City at an advertising agency. The talented cast was led by Jon Hamm, John Slattery, Christina Hendricks and Elizabeth Moss.
During its run, “Mad Men” earned a whopping 135 awards including 16 Emmys, five Golden Globes, as well as awards from the Golden Derby Awards and the Directors Guild of America. Not surprisingly, it holds seventh place on the Writers Guild of America list of the 101 Best Written TV Series and can currently be found on Netflix.
‘Breaking Bad’ — 147 Wins
AMC’s “Breaking Bad” nearly tops the list of most-awarded TV shows. The critical favorite aired for a total of five seasons, from 2008-2013, and told the story of Bryan Cranston’s Walter White as a struggling high school chemistry teacher who is diagnosed with lung cancer and ends up teaming up with a former student to sell meth.
Despite spanning only five seasons, “Breaking Bad” won tons of critical acclaim along with 16 Emmys, two Golden Globes and plenty of other awards. For anyone who still wants to watch one of the most highly regarded TV series of all time, you can now catch it on Netflix.
‘ER’ — 154 Wins
It may come as a surprise to see that “ER” is still one of the highest-rated television shows of all time, but fans of the series may not be shocked at all. The medical drama ran from 1994-2009 and totaled a whopping 331 episodes over 15 seasons. Following the inner workings of the fictional County General Hospital in Chicago, Illinois, “ER” featured a rotating cast that included Anthony Edwards, George Clooney, Noah Wyle and many others.
Ultimately, “ER” garnered 23 Emmy Awards and one Golden Globe, plus accolades from the Image Awards, Motion Picture Sound Editors and a Peabody Award. Currently, “ER” seems to be regaining its popularity thanks to being added to Netflix and Hulu earlier this year. Can a reboot be too far behind?
‘The Simpsons’ — 168 Wins
“The Simpsons” is by far the longest-running TV show on this list, which is no surprise since it has an amazing 168 wins. The show debuted in December 1989 and has since had 639 episodes, with the 30th season of the show premiering this fall. The animated series follows the antics of Homer Simpson (voiced by Dan Canstanella) and his family.
“The Simpsons” has won an impressive 32 Emmys but no Golden Globes. In fact, surprisingly, “The Simpsons” has only been nominated for one Golden Globe and didn’t win. However, the show has won numerous other awards including many Kids’ Choice Awards. And for those who still love the long-running series, there’s plenty to look forward to in the upcoming season. Before the new season premieres, you can catch up on last season on Fox.
‘Game of Thrones’ — 291 Wins
Fans of the show likely will not be shocked to learn that “Game of Thrones” is at the top of this list. The fantasy drama, which premiered in April 2011 and is set to air its final season in April 2019, is an adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Fire and Ice” book series, and earns accolades as much for its special effects as for the strength of its ensemble cast, which boasts Peter Dinklage, Emilia Clarke, Kit Harrington and others.
During its current run, “Game of Thrones” has won 38 Emmy Awards and one Golden Globe. The show has also nabbed many other awards such as BAFTA Awards, Screen Actors Guild Awards and more. Before the show’s end, catch up on the previous seasons on HBO.