NBC’s “This Is Us” is nominated at the 2017 Emmys. NBC

The 2017 Emmys are upon us, which means it’s almost time to find out which television shows will win and which actors and actresses will come out on top.

The award ceremony, which will be hosted by Stephen Colbert this year, will air live on CBS on Sunday. The event will be filled to the brim with stars, with celebrities attending as both presenters and nominees. It’ll be an emotional night for all, both those who manage to win a coveted Emmy trophy and for those who don’t fare as well. But who exactly votes on these awards and decides the winning and losing outcomes for all of these shows and stars? Thousands of people, that’s who.

The Television Academy has more than 22,000 members who are invited each year to vote on that year’s categories and nominees. With so many people involved, it helps to ensure that there are a broad spectrum of voters. This year, the list of talent that’s been nominated is extraordinary, no doubt making the voting that much more difficult. But also help to round out an award show that’s much more fun for viewers at home to watch.

Stars like Viola Davis and Elisabeth Moss are nominated for drama actress, while actresses Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman are facing off against each other in the category of limited series actress, even though they’re both from the same show. It’ll be a tight race, especially with “This Is Us,” “Stranger Things,” “Westworld,” “House of Cards,” “The Handmaid’s Tale,” “The Crown” and “Better Call Saul” all up for the drama series trophy.

With so many nominees, the Academy thought it was best to make sure people are voting on the kinds of categories that they have the most knowledge on. That’s why the over 22,000 members belong to specific peer groups, and only vote in the categories that relate to their domain.

Not just anyone can join, though. There is an application process to become part of the Television Academy and a fee to go with it. A person who feels their career is involved enough in the television industry to warrant membership can apply online on the Emmy website. The amount of time it takes for applications to be processed is anywhere from four to six weeks.

The peer groups that members are split into are:


Art Directors/Set Decorators

Casting Directors

Children's Programming




Costume Design & Supervision

Daytime Programming


Documentary Programming

Interactive Media

Lighting, Camera & Technical Arts

Los Angeles Area

Makeup Artists/Hairstylists

Motion & Title Design



Picture Editors


Production Executives

Professional Representatives

Public Relations

Reality Programming


Sound Editors

Special Visual Effects


Television Executives


Those who feel that they belong in one of those groups can apply and, once accepted, can vote for which shows and which of their peers they believe most deserve to win an Emmy.

Find out who the voters chose when the Emmys air live on Sunday at 8p.m. EDT on CBS.