The Emmy Awards
And the winner is ... well, the winner. In 2009, an Emmy Award statuette cost between $300 and $400 to make, but the award has much greater value than just its gold plating. Emmys can have a big impact on the individuals, networks or series that receive them. The influence started early in television's history. Though originally limited to entrants from California, by 1950 the Emmys were open to shows produced outside Los Angeles.
A show that struggles in the ratings but gets love from the Academy can receive a second look from the network. For example, when "30 Rock" won an Emmy for outstanding comedy series on its first try in 2007, NBC started to see its long-term prospects. The staff even got better offices! Though the show never had stellar ratings, its 103 nominations and 16 wins helped keep it on the air [source: The Hollywood Reporter].
An Emmy win can boost the career of a new or supporting actor. When Katherine Heigl won for "Grey's Anatomy" in 2007, the movie industry came calling. The award is also a badge of honor for smaller networks. In 2002, Michael Chiklis, star of the hyper-violent series "The Shield," won for outstanding actor. The FX network was validated; it really did have quality programming. Afterward, more advertisers were willing to sign on. AMC, the little network that could, proved it was competitive with larger, more experienced networks when "Mad Men" and "Breaking Bad" won Emmy after Emmy.