Here’s What an Emmy Is Actually Worth

Mandatory Credit: Photo by AFF-USA/Shutterstock (12991674o)Emmy AwardCreative Arts and Lifestyle Daytime Emmy Awards, Arrivals, Los Angeles, California, USA - 18 Jun 2022.
AFF-USA/Shutterstock / AFF-USA/Shutterstock

Emmy season is in the air. Television’s biggest night falls on Sept. 12 this year.

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Winning an Emmy is a prestigious honor for those who work in the television industry, but you might wonder how much the award itself is actually worth? Here’s a look at the cost of each statuette and the value of winning one.

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More than just a victory for the cast and crew, scoring an Emmy is a big deal for a television network. Consequently, it’s not uncommon for big names like HBO, Netflix, Amazon and Hulu to spend tens of millions on Emmy campaigns, according to Variety.

This is due to the brand-building nature of an Emmy win, and the ability to gain more subscribers with a lineup of award-winning shows. Of course, to keep things fair, the Television Academy has strict guidelines for FYC campaigns and events. This includes everything from rules about how the word Emmy is used to regulations on events.

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Cost of an Emmy Statuette

If you think an Emmy looks fancy, that’s because it is. Coated in copper, nickel, silver and gold, each statuette takes 5 1/2 hours to make and costs $400, according to People.

That’s not the only expense involved with these awards. Some winners — i.e., in certain categories where a large number of people share the honor — have to pay the Television Academy to keep their statuette, according to People.

If you watch the Emmys on television, you’ll see talent honored in a variety of categories, but that’s just a small fraction of winners. In total, there are 118 categories, meaning the Television Academy spends at least $47,200 on Emmy statuettes — not including those with multiple winners.

Emmy Winner Salary Boost

There’s no hard and fast rule that scoring an Emmy will bring the winner a pay increase. However, being recognized in front of your peers for your outstanding talent certainly can’t hurt matters.

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For example, since its 2018 debut, the cast and crew of “Succession” have garnered a total of 48 Emmy nominations and 10 wins — including 25 nods for 2022. In fact, the show’s 14 nominations in the acting categories broke the record for most Emmy acting nominations for a drama series in a single year, according to Variety. 

When the hit HBO series first started, most actors earned less than $100,000 per episode. However, most of the core cast received a serious pay increase to $300,000-$350,000 per episode in the show’s third season. Notably, Brian Cox is thought to earn more, according to The Hollywood Reporter. 

While the ensemble’s Emmy wins are not mentioned as a reason for the pay increase, it likely helped give them leverage.

Emmys at Auction

When a person wins an Emmy, the statuette remains the property of the Television Academy, according to the organization’s official Emmy rules. They’re allowed to pass it along to an heir or successor, but the award cannot be sold, auctioned or disposed of in any other manner.

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However, Whitney Houston’s 1986 Emmy was slated to hit the auction block in 2016, before a federal judge blocked the sale. The late singer’s estate had turned the award over to Heritage Auctions to sell, but it was ultimately returned, due to the ruling.

Greg Rohan, Heritage Auctions president, argued that at least 40 Emmy Awards have been resold in sales and auctions. However, this one likely caught the attention of the Television Academy due to Houston’s A-list fame.

Similarly, four Emmys won by late actress Valerie Harper were also withdrawn from auction in 2020, following a Television Academy lawsuit. Online bidding had already begun, with each statuette expected to sell for $6,000 to $8,000.

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About the Author

Jennifer Taylor is a West Coast-based freelance writer with more than a decade of experience writing about anything and everything. Since earning her MBA, personal finance has been her favorite topic, as she’s passionate about writing stories that educate, inform and empower. Specifically, she specializes in budgeting, debt repayment, savings and retirement.
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