This past Sunday, “Mad Men” joined the ranks of “The West Wing,” “L.A. Law,” and “Hill Street Blues” as the only four-time winners of the Emmy for Best Drama Series. But, despite 18 nominations, its only other win was at the Creative Arts awards where it claimed the hairstyling Emmy for the fourth year running as well.
When “The West Wing” won its fourth Emmy in 2003, it only claimed the Directing prize as well. And when “Law & Order” finally won Best Drama Series in 1997 after five unsuccessful bids, it too only won one other Emmy (Cinematography). However, surprising as it seems, there is plenty of precedent for a series to take the top prize but not win any other Primetime — acting, writing, directing — or Creative Emmys.
For its first breakout season, “ER” won Best Drama Series in 1996 but lost all 15 of its other bids. “Police Story” won this award in 1976 without any other nominations at either the Primetime or Creative Arts awards.
Other programs to prevail as Best Drama Series without any other Emmy wins include: “Upstairs, Downstairs” (1974, 1977), “The Fugitive” (1966), “Playhouse 90” (1959-’60), “United States Steel Hour” (1955), “Robert Montgomery Presents” (1953), and “Studio One in Hollywood” (1952). “Pultizer Prize Playhouse” won the very first Drama Series race in 1951 but wasn’t eligible to contend in any of the other seven categories that year.