Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series

Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series
Awarded for Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series
Country United States
Presented by Academy of Television Arts & Sciences
First awarded 1955
Currently held by Miguel Sapochnik,
Game of Thrones (2016)
Official website

The Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series is presented to the best directing of a television drama series, usually for a particular episode.[fn 1]

Winners and nominations


Year Show Episode Director(s) Network
1954–55 Studio One "Twelve Angry Men" Franklin Schaffner CBS
Four Star Playhouse "The Answer" Roy Kellino CBS
The Loretta Young Show "The Clara Schumann Story" Robert Florey NBC
The United States Steel Hour "The Interview" Alex Segal ABC
Waterfront "Christmas on the Waterfront" Ted Post CBS
Your Hit Parade Clark Jones NBC
1955–56 Ford Star Jubilee "The Cain Mutiny Court-Martial" Franklin Schaffner CBS
Climax! "Portrait in Celluloid" John Frankenheimer CBS
Producers' Showcase "Peter Pan" Clark Jones NBC
"Our Town" Delbert Mann
The United States Steel Hour "No Time for Sergeants" Alex Segal CBS
1956–57 Playhouse 90 "Requiem for a Heavyweight" Ralph Nelson CBS
The 20th Century Fox Hour "Child of the Regiment" Lewis Allen CBS
The Dinah Shore Chevy Show Bob Banner NBC
Kraft Television Theatre "A Night to Remember" George Roy Hill
NBC Opera Theatre "La Boheme" Kirk Browning
Playhouse 90 "Forbidden Area" John Frankenheimer CBS
1957–58 The Dinah Shore Chevy Show Bob Banner NBC
Hallmark Hall of Fame "The Green Pastures" George Schaefer NBC
Playhouse 90 "The Comedian" John Frankenheimer CBS
"The Helen Morgan Story" George Roy Hill
"The Miracle Worker" Arthur Penn
1958–59 Best Direction of a Single Program of a Dramatic Series Less Than One Hour
Alcoa-Goodyear Theatre "Eddie" Jack Smight NBC
Alfred Hitchcock Presents "Lamb to the Slaughter" Alfred Hitchcock CBS
General Electric Theater "Kid at the Stick" James Neilson NBC
"One is a Wanderer" Herschel Daugherty
Peter Gunn "The Kill" Blake Edwards
Best Direction of a Single Dramatic Program – One Hour or Longer
Hallmark Hall of Fame "Little Moon of Alban" George Schaefer NBC
Playhouse 90 "Child of Our Time George Roy Hill CBS
"A Town Has Turned to Dust" John Frankenheimer


Year Show Episode Director(s) Network
1959–60 The Moon and Sixpence Robert Mulligan NBC
Desilu Playhouse "The Untouchables" Phil Karlson CBS
Ford Startime "The Turn of the Screw" John Frankenheimer NBC
1960–61 Hallmark Hall of Fame "Macbeth" George Schaefer NBC
Desilu Playhouse "The Man in the Funny Suit" Ralph Nelson CBS
NBC Sunday Showcase "The Sacco-Vanzetti Story" Sidney Lumet NBC
1961–62 The Defenders Franklin J. Schaffner CBS
Alcoa Premiere "People Need People Alex Segal ABC
Dr. Kildare "Shining Image" Buzz Kulik NBC
Hallmark Hall of Fame "Victoria Regina" George Schaefer
Naked City Arthur Hiller ABC
Westinghouse Presents "Come Again to Carthage" Jack Smight CBS
1962–63 The Defenders "The Madman" Stuart Rosenberg CBS
Alcoa Premiere "The Voice of Charlie Pont" Robert Ellis Miller ABC
Ben Casey "A Cardinal Act of Mercy" Sydney Pollack
The DuPont Show of the Week "Big Deal in Laredo" Fielder Cook NBC
Hallmark Hall of Fame "Invincible Mr. Disraeli" George Schaefer
1963–64 East Side/West Side "Who Do You Kill?" Tom Gries CBS
Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre "Something About Lee Wiley" Sydney Pollack NBC
The Defenders "Blacklist" Stuart Rosenberg CBS
"Moment of Truth" Paul Bogart
Hallmark Hall of Fame "The Patriots" George Schaefer NBC
1964–65 The Defenders "The 700 Year-Old Gang" Paul Bogart CBS
My Name Is Barbra Dwight Hemion CBS
1965–66 Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre "The Game" Sydney Pollack NBC
Hallmark Hall of Fame "Eagle in a Cage" George Schaefer NBC
"Inherit the Wind"
I Spy "A Cup of Kindness" Sheldon Leonard
1966–67 Death of a Salesman Alex Segal CBS
CBS Playhouse "The Final War of Olly Winter" Paul Bogart CBS
Hallmark Hall of Fame "Anastasia" George Schaefer NBC
Mark Twain Tonight! Paul Bogart CBS
1967–68 CBS Playhouse "Dear Friends" Paul Bogart CBS
CBS Playhouse "Do Not Go Gentle into that Good Night" George Schaefer CBS
The Crucible Alex Segal
Mission: Impossible "The Killing" Lee H. Katzin
1968–69 CBS Playhouse "The People Next Door" David Greene CBS
CBS Playhouse "Secrets" Paul Bogart CBS
Hallmark Hall of Fame "Teacher, Teacher" Fielder Cook NBC


Year Show Episode Director(s) Network
1969–70 CBS Playhouse "Shadow Game" Paul Bogart CBS
Hallmark Hall of Fame "A Storm in Summer" Buzz Kulik NBC
My Sweet Charlie Lamont Johnson
1970–71 The Bold Ones: The Senator "The Day the Lion Died" Daryl Duke NBC
The Bold Ones: The Senator "A Single Blow of a Sword" John Badham NBC
Hawaii Five-O "Over Fifty? Steal!" Bob Sweeney CBS
1971–72 The Bold Ones: The Lawyers "The Invasion of Kevin Ireland" Alexander Singer NBC
Columbo "Short Fuse" Edward M. Abroms NBC
The Man and the City "Hands of Love" Daniel Petrie ABC
1972–73 Kung Fu "An Eye for an Eye" Jerry Thorpe ABC
Columbo "The Most Dangerous Match" Edward M. Abroms NBC
The Waltons "The Love Story" Lee Philips CBS
1973–74 The Blue Knight "Part III" Robert Butler NBC
The Waltons "The Journey" Harry Harris CBS
"The Thanksgiving Story" Philip Leacock
1974–75 Upstairs, Downstairs "A Sudden Storm" Bill Bain PBS
Benjamin Franklin "The Ambassador" Glenn Jordan CBS
Kojak "Cross Your Heart and Hope to Die" David Friedkin
"I Want to Report a Dream..." Telly Savalas
The Streets of San Francisco "The Mask of Death" Harry Falk ABC
1975–76 Rich Man, Poor Man "Part I: Chapters 1 & 2" David Greene ABC
Beacon Hill "Pilot" Fielder Cook CBS
Jennie: Lady Randolph Churchill "Part IV" James Cellan Jones PBS
Lincoln "Crossing Fox River" George Schaefer NBC
Rich Man, Poor Man "Part VI: Chapter 8" Boris Sagal ABC
Upstairs, Downstairs "Women Shall Not Weep" Christopher Hodson PBS
1976–77 Roots "Part I" David Greene ABC
The Adams Chronicles "John Quincy Adams: President" Fred Coe PBS
Roots "Part II" John Erman ABC
"Part III" Marvin J. Chomsky
"Part VI" Gilbert Moses
1977–78 Holocaust Marvin J. Chomsky NBC
The Dain Curse E. W. Swackhamer CBS
I, Claudius Herbert Wise PBS
King Abby Mann NBC
Washington: Behind Closed Doors Gary Nelson ABC
1978–79 The White Shadow "Pilot" Jackie Cooper CBS
Lou Grant "Murder" Mel Damski CBS
"Prisoner" Gene Reynolds
"Schools" Burt Brinckerhoff


Year Show Episode Director(s) Network
1979–80 Lou Grant "Cop" Roger Young CBS
Lou Grant "Andrew" (Part II) Peter Levin CBS
"Influence" Gene Reynolds
"Hollywood" Burt Brinckerhoff
Skag "Pilot" Frank Perry NBC
1980–81 Hill Street Blues "Hill Street Station" Robert Butler NBC
American Dream "Pilot" Mel Damski ABC
Hill Street Blues "Jungle Madness" Corey Allen NBC
"Up in Arms" Georg Stanford Brown
Lou Grant "Pack" Burt Brinckerhoff CBS
"Strike" Gene Reynolds
1981–82 Fame "To Soar and Never Falter" Harry Harris NBC
Fame "Musical Bridge" Robert Scheerer NBC
Hill Street Blues "The Second Oldest Profession" Robert Butler
"The World According to Freedom" Jeff Bleckner
Lou Grant "Hometown" Gene Reynolds CBS
1982–83 Hill Street Blues "Life in the Minors" Jeff Bleckner NBC
Fame "And the Winner Is" Marc Daniels NBC
"Feelings" Robert Scheerer
The Mississippi "Old Hatred Die Hard" Leo Penn CBS
1983–84 Hill Street Blues "Goodbye, Mr. Scripps" Corey Allen NBC
Fame "Sheer Will" Robert Scheerer NBC
Hill Street Blues "Doris in Wonderland" Arthur Allan Seidelman
"Midway to What?" Thomas Carter
1984–85 Cagney & Lacey "Heat" Karen Arthur CBS
Hill Street Blues "El Capitan" Georg Stanford Brown NBC
"The Rise and Fall of Paul the Wall" Thomas Carter
Miami Vice "Cool Runnin'" Lee H. Katzin
"Smuggler's Blues" Paul Michael Glaser
1985–86 Cagney & Lacey "Parting Shots" Georg Stanford Brown CBS
Amazing Stories "The Mission" Steven Spielberg NBC
Hill Street Blues "Two Easy Pieces" Gabrielle Beaumont
Moonlighting "The Dream Sequence Always Rings Twice" Peter Werner ABC
"My Fair David" Will Mackenzie
1986–87 L.A. Law "Pilot" Gregory Hoblit NBC
Cagney & Lacey "Turn, Turn, Turn" (Part II) Sharron Miller CBS
L.A. Law "The Venus Butterfly" Donald Petrie NBC
Moonlighting "Atomic Shakespeare" Will Mackenzie ABC
"I Am Curious... Maddie" Allan Arkush
1987–88 St. Elsewhere "Weigh In, Way Out" Mark Tinker NBC
China Beach "Pilot" Rod Holcomb ABC
L.A. Law "Beauty and Obese" Sam Weisman NBC
"Full Martial Jacket" Win Phelps
"Handroll Express" Kim Friedman
"The Wizard of Odds Gregory Hoblit
1988–89 Tanner '88 "The Boiler Room" Robert Altman HBO
L.A. Law "I'm in the Nude for Love" Eric Laneuville NBC
"To Live and Diet in L.A." John Pasquin
Midnight Caller "Conversations with the Assassin" Thomas Carter
thirtysomething "We'll Meet Again" Scott Winant ABC


Year Show Episode Director(s) Network
1989–90 Equal Justice "Promises to Keep" Thomas Carter ABC
thirtysomething "The Go-Between" Scott Winant
L.A. Law "The Last Gasp" Rick Wallace NBC
"Noah's Bark" Win Phelps
Twin Peaks "Pilot" David Lynch ABC
1990–91 Equal Justice "In Confidence" Thomas Carter ABC
China Beach "You, Babe" Mimi Leder ABC
Cop Rock "Pilot" Gregory Hoblit
L.A. Law "God Rest You Murray Gentleman" Tom Moore NBC
1991–92 I'll Fly Away "All God's Children" Eric Laneuville NBC
China Beach "Rewind" Mimi Leder ABC
L.A. Law "Say Goodnight Gracie" Rick Wallace NBC
Northern Exposure "Seoul Mates" Jack Bender CBS
The Trials of Rosie O'Neill "Heartbreak Hotel" Nancy Malone
1992–93 Homicide: Life on the Street "Gone for Goode" Barry Levinson NBC
I'll Fly Away "Until Tomorrow" Eric Laneuville NBC
Law & Order "Conspiracy" Edwin Sherin
Sirens "Crash and Born" Nancy Malone ABC
"What We Talk About When We Talk About Love" Robert Butler
The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles "Northern Italy, 1918" Bille August
1993–94 NYPD Blue "Tempest in a C-Cup" Daniel Sackheim ABC
Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman "Pilot" Robert Butler ABC
NYPD Blue "Guns 'N Rosaries" Michael M. Robin
Pilot" Gregory Hoblit
"True Confessions" Charles Haid
1994–95 ER "Love's Labor Lost" Mimi Leder NBC
Chicago Hope "Life Support" Lou Antonio CBS
ER "Pilot" Rod Holcomb NBC
My So-Called Life Scott Winant ABC
NYPD Blue "Innuendo" Mark Tinker
1995–96 Chicago Hope "Leave of Absence" Jeremy Kagan CBS
ER "The Healers" Mimi Leder NBC
"Hell and High Water" Christopher Chulack
Murder One "Chapter One" Charles Haid ABC
NYPD Blue "Blackboard Jungle" Mark Tinker
1996–97 NYPD Blue "Where's 'Swaldo?" Mark Tinker ABC
ER "Fear of Flying" Christopher Chulack NBC
"Last Call" Rod Holcomb
"Union Station" Tom Moore
The X-Files "Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man" James Wong Fox
1997–98 Brooklyn South "Pilot" Mark Tinker CBS
NYPD Blue "Lost Israel" (Part II) Paris Barclay ABC
Chicago Hope "Brain Salad Surgery" Bill D'Elia CBS
ER "Ambush" Thomas Schlamme NBC
The X-Files "The Post-Modern Prometheus" Chris Carter Fox
1998–99 NYPD Blue "Hearts and Souls" Paris Barclay ABC
Law & Order "Empire" Matthew Penn NBC
Homicide: Life on the Street
Law & Order
"Sideshow" (Part I) (Part II) Edwin Sherin
The Sopranos "The Sopranos" David Chase HBO


Year Show Episode Director(s) Network
1999–2000 The West Wing "Pilot" Thomas Schlamme NBC
ER "All in the Family" Jonathan Kaplan NBC
"Such Sweet Sorrow" John Wells
The Sopranos "Funhouse" John Patterson HBO
"The Knight in White Satin Armor" Allen Coulter
2000–01 The West Wing "In the Shadow of Two Gunmen" Thomas Schlamme NBC
ER "The Visit" Jonathan Kaplan NBC
The Sopranos "Amour Fou" Tim Van Patten HBO
"Pine Barrens" Steve Buscemi
"University" Allen Coulter
The West Wing "Shibboleth" Laura Innes NBC
2001–02 Six Feet Under "Pilot" Alan Ball HBO
24 "12:00 a.m. – 1:00 a.m." Stephen Hopkins Fox
The Shield "Pilot" Clark Johnson FX
The West Wing "The Indians in the Lobby" Paris Barclay NBC
"Posse Comitatus" Alex Graves
2002–03 The West Wing "Twenty Five" Christopher Misiano NBC
24 "Day 2: 10:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m." Ian Toynton Fox
Six Feet Under "Nobody Sleeps" Alan Poul HBO
The Sopranos "Whitecaps" John Patterson
"Whoever Did This" Tim Van Patten
2003–04 Deadwood "Deadwood" Walter Hill HBO
ER "The Lost" Christopher Chulack NBC
Nip/Tuck "Pilot" Ryan Murphy FX
The Sopranos "Irregular Around the Margins" Allen Coulter HBO
"Long Term Parking" Tim Van Patten
2004–05 Lost "Pilot" J. J. Abrams ABC
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation "Grave Danger" Quentin Tarantino CBS
Deadwood "Complications" Gregg Fienberg HBO
Grey's Anatomy "A Hard Day's Night" Peter Horton ABC
Huff "Crazy Nuts & All Fucked Up" Scott Winant Showtime
Rescue Me "Pilot" Peter Tolan FX
The West Wing "2162 Votes" Alex Graves NBC
2005–06 24 "Day 5: 7:00 a.m. – 8:00 a.m." Jon Cassar Fox
Big Love "Pilot" Rodrigo Garcia HBO
Lost "Live Together, Die Alone Jack Bender ABC
Six Feet Under "Everyone's Waiting" Alan Ball HBO
The Sopranos "Join the Club" David Nutter
"Members Only" Tim Van Patten
The West Wing "Election Day" (Part 1) Mimi Leder NBC
2006–07 The Sopranos "Kennedy and Heidi" Alan Taylor HBO
Battlestar Galactica "Exodus" (Part 2) Félix Enríquez Alcalá Sci Fi
Boston Legal "Son of the Defender" Bill D'Elia ABC
Friday Night Lights "Pilot" Peter Berg NBC
Heroes "Genesis" David Semel
Lost "Through the Looking Glass" Jack Bender ABC
Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip "Pilot" Thomas Schlamme NBC
2007–08 House "House's Head" Greg Yaitanes Fox
Boston Legal "The Mighty Rogues" Arlene Sanford ABC
Breaking Bad "Pilot" Vince Gilligan AMC
Damages "Get Me a Lawyer" Allen Coulter FX
Mad Men "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" Alan Taylor AMC
2008–09 ER "And in the End..." Rod Holcomb NBC
Battlestar Galactica "Daybreak" (Part 2) Michael Rymer Sci Fi
Boston Legal "Made in China" + "Last Call" Bill D'Elia ABC
Damages "Trust Me" Todd A. Kessler FX
Mad Men "The Jet Set" Phil Abraham AMC


Year Show Episode Director(s) Network
2009–10 Dexter "The Getaway" Steve Shill Showtime
Breaking Bad "One Minute" Michelle MacLaren AMC
Lost "The End" Jack Bender ABC
Mad Men "Guy Walks Into an Advertising Agency" Lesli Linka Glatter AMC
Treme "Do You Know What It Means" Agnieszka Holland HBO
2010–11 Boardwalk Empire "Boardwalk Empire" Martin Scorsese HBO
Boardwalk Empire "Anastasia" Jeremy Podeswa HBO
The Borgias "The Poisoned Chalice" + "The Assassin" Neil Jordan Showtime
Game of Thrones "Winter Is Coming" Tim Van Patten HBO
The Killing "Pilot" Patty Jenkins AMC
2011–12 Boardwalk Empire "To the Lost" Tim Van Patten HBO
Breaking Bad "Face Off" Vince Gilligan AMC
Downton Abbey "Episode Seven" Brian Percival PBS
Homeland "Pilot" Michael Cuesta Showtime
Mad Men "The Other Woman" Phil Abraham AMC
2012–13 House of Cards "Chapter 1" David Fincher Netflix
Boardwalk Empire "Margate Sands" Tim Van Patten HBO
Breaking Bad "Gliding Over All" Michelle MacLaren AMC
Downton Abbey "Episode Four" Jeremy Webb PBS
Homeland "Q&A" Lesli Linka Glatter Showtime
2013–14 True Detective "Who Goes There" Cary Joji Fukunaga HBO
Boardwalk Empire "Farewell Daddy Blues" Tim Van Patten HBO
Breaking Bad "Felina" Vince Gilligan AMC
Downton Abbey "Episode One" David Evans PBS
Game of Thrones "The Watchers on the Wall" Neil Marshall HBO
House of Cards "Chapter 14" Carl Franklin Netflix
2014–15 Game of Thrones "Mother's Mercy" David Nutter HBO
Boardwalk Empire "Eldorado" Tim Van Patten HBO
Game of Thrones "Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken" Jeremy Podeswa
Homeland "From A to B and Back Again" Lesli Linka Glatter Showtime
The Knick "Method and Madness" Steven Soderbergh Cinemax
Game of Thrones "Battle of the Bastards" Miguel Sapochnik HBO
Downton Abbey "Episode Nine" Michael Engler PBS
Game of Thrones "The Door" Jack Bender HBO
Homeland "The Tradition of Hospitality" Lesli Linka Glatter Showtime
The Knick "This Is All We Are" Steven Soderbergh Cinemax
Ray Donovan "Exsuscito" David Hollander Showtime

Total awards by network

Programs with multiple awards

4 awards
  • NYPD Blue (3 consecutive)

3 awards
  • CBS Playhouse (consecutive)
  • The Defenders (2 consecutive)
  • Hill Street Blues (2 consecutive)
  • The West Wing (2 consecutive)

2 awards
  • Boardwalk Empire (consecutive)
  • Game of Thrones (consecutive)
  • Cagney & Lacey (consecutive)
  • Equal Justice (consecutive)
  • ER
  • Hallmark Hall of Fame

Programs with multiple nominations

13 nominations
  • ER (NBC)
  • The Sopranos (HBO)
12 nominations
  • Hill Street Blues (NBC)
  • L.A. Law (NBC)
11 nominations
  • Hallmark Hall of Fame (NBC)
10 nominations
  • Lou Grant (CBS)
9 nominations
  • NYPD Blue (ABC)
8 nominations
  • The West Wing (NBC)
7 nominations
  • Playhouse 90 (CBS)
6 nominations
  • Boardwalk Empire (HBO)
  • Game of Thrones (HBO)
  • CBS Playhouse (CBS)

5 nominations
  • Breaking Bad (AMC)
  • The Defenders (CBS)
  • Fame (NBC)
4 nominations
  • Downton Abbey (PBS)
  • Homeland (Showtime)
  • Lost (ABC)
  • Mad Men (AMC)
  • Moonlighting (ABC)
  • Roots (ABC)
3 nominations
  • 24 (Fox)
  • Boston Legal (ABC)
  • Cagney & Lacey (CBS)
  • Chicago Hope (CBS)
  • China Beach (ABC)
  • General Electric Theatre (NBC)
  • Law & Order (NBC)
  • Six Feet Under (HBO)
  • The Waltons (CBS)

2 nominations
  • Alcoa Premiere (ABC)
  • Alfred Hitchcock Presents (CBS)
  • Battlestar Galactica (Syfy)
  • Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre (NBC)
  • The Bold Ones: The Senator (NBC)
  • Columbo (NBC)
  • Damages (FX)
  • Deadwood (HBO)
  • The Dinah Shore Chevy Show (NBC)
  • Equal Justice (ABC)
  • Homicide: Life on the Street (NBC)
  • House of Cards (Netflix)
  • I'll Fly Away (NBC)
  • The Knick (Cinemax)
  • Kojak (CBS)
  • Miami Vice (NBC)
  • Producers' Showcase (NBC)
  • Rich Man, Poor Man (PBS)
  • thirtysomething (ABC)
  • The United States Steel Hour (ABC)
  • Upstairs, Downstairs (PBS)
  • Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse (CBS)
  • The X-Files (Fox)


  1. Though this category is the dominant one in which dramatic directing has been recognized, there were a few years in which the categories were determined by running time, not genre. Until 1979, miniseries and television films competed alongside drama series.
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