How the Emmy Award Got Its Name

The Ike Awards… If it wasn’t for Dwight Eisenhower, the Emmy Awards could have been called the Ike Awards.

In 1946 when Syd Cassyd founded the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, he wanted to name its award the Ike. Cassyd wanted the award to represent the gizmo that made TV possible, which in the early days of television, was the iconoscope tube. Unfortunately for Cassyd, Dwight Eisenhower, (nickname Ike) was a popular war hero and a few years away from being president, and he feared that the Ike Awards would make people think about politics and not television.

So Cassyd had to find a new name for its award.

1946 was also the year that the image orthicon tube would revolutionize television. The Hollywood Reporter notes that the image orthicon tube was originally designed to guide missiles. The orthicon tube would prove to be unreliable for missile guidance, but it worked perfectly for television. So with a new gizmo as a namesake, Cassyd decided on the Immy Awards. And when the statue was designed as a female, Immy was simply adapted to Emmy.

The Emmy statue also has an interesting history. According to, Academy members rejected 47 proposals before settling on a design by Louis McManus. The academy wanted a statue that represented both the creativity of actors and directors, but also to pay homage to the scientific advances that made television possible. explains:

“The wings represent the muse of art; the atom the electron of science.”

Each Primetime Emmy statuette weighs six pounds, twelve-and-a-half ounces, and is made of copper, nickel, silver and gold. Close to 400 Emmys are produced each year by the R.S. Owens company in Chicago.

The 63rd Emmy Awards are tomorrow night. Will you be watching?