37th Primetime Emmy Awards
  • September 22, 1985
  • September 21, 1985
    (Creative Arts Awards)
LocationPasadena Civic Auditorium, Pasadena, California
Presented byAcademy of Television Arts and Sciences
Hosted byJohn Forsythe
Most awardsCagney & Lacey (4)
Most nominationsCheers (11)
Outstanding Comedy SeriesThe Cosby Show
Outstanding Drama SeriesCagney & Lacey
Outstanding Limited SeriesThe Jewel in the Crown
Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy ProgramMotown Returns to the Apollo
Television/radio coverage
← 36th · Primetime Emmy Awards · 38th →

The 37th Primetime Emmy Awards were held on September 22, 1985. The ceremony was broadcast on ABC, from the Pasadena Civic Auditorium, Pasadena, California.

The Cosby Show defeated two-time reigning champion Cheers to win Outstanding Comedy Series, one of three major awards it won. Although it only took home one major award, Cheers did tie the then-record for most major nominations by a comedy series (11), set by The Mary Tyler Moore Show in 1977. In the drama field Cagney & Lacey, en route to winning four major awards on the night, defeated presumed favorite Miami Vice to win Outstanding Drama Series, four-time defending champion Hill Street Blues still received nine major nominations, but only won one award. This was Hill Street Blues 18th and final major award, setting an Emmy record for a drama series that still stands and was later achieved by The Sopranos.

The ceremony also had a memorable unscripted moment involving the arrest of impersonator Barry Bremen for grand theft while attempting to accept the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series award on behalf of Betty Thomas, who would show up on the auditorium stage a few minutes late.

Winners and nominees





Lead performances


Supporting performances

Individual performances


  • Great Performances: "Sweeney Todd" (PBS) – Terry Hughes
    • Late Night with David Letterman 3rd Anniversary Special (NBC) – Hal Gurnee
    • Motown Returns to the Apollo (PBS) – Don Mischer
    • Night of 100 Stars II (ABC) – Clark Jones


  • Cagney & Lacey (CBS): "Who Said It's Fair, Part II" – Patricia Green
    • Cagney & Lacey (CBS): "Child Witness" – Deborah Arakelian
    • Hill Street Blues (NBC): "The Rise and Fall of Paul the Wall" – Story by : Michael Wagner
      Teleplay by : Jacob Epstein
    • Miami Vice (NBC): "Pilot" – Anthony Yerkovich
    • St. Elsewhere (NBC): "Murder, She Rote" – Tom Fontana, John Masius and Steve Bello
    • St. Elsewhere (NBC): "Sweet Dreams" – John Masius and Tom Fontana
  • Late Night with David Letterman (NBC): "Christmas with the Lettermans"
    • AFI Life Achievement Award: A Tribute to Gene Kelly (CBS)
    • Late Night with David Letterman (NBC): "Late Night in Los Angeles"
    • Late Night with David Letterman (NBC): "The Late Night Morning Show"
    • Motown Returns to the Apollo (NBC)
  • Do You Remember Love (CBS) – Vickie Patik
    • The Burning Bed (NBC) – Rose Leiman Goldemberg
    • Fatal Vision (NBC) – John Gay
    • The Jewel in the Crown (PBS): "Crossing the River" – Ken Taylor
    • Wallenberg: A Hero's Story (NBC) – Gerald Green

Most major nominations

Networks with multiple major nominations[note 1]
Network Number of
NBC 66
CBS 37
PBS 10
Programs with multiple major nominations
Program Category Network Number of
Cheers Comedy NBC 11
Hill Street Blues Drama 9
Cagney & Lacey CBS 7
St. Elsewhere NBC
Miami Vice 6
The Burning Bed Special 5
The Cosby Show Comedy
Do You Remember Love Special CBS
Late Night with David Letterman Variety NBC
Motown Returns to the Apollo
Fatal Vision Special 4
The Jewel in the Crown Limited PBS
Kate & Allie Comedy CBS
Night Court NBC
Wallenberg: A Hero's Story Special
Ellis Island Limited CBS 3
Great Performances: "Sweeney Todd" Variety PBS
Heartsounds Special ABC
AFI Life Achievement Award: A Tribute to Gene Kelly Variety CBS 2
Benson Comedy ABC
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof Special PBS
Family Ties Comedy NBC
The Jeffersons CBS
Magnum, P.I. Drama
Murder, She Wrote
Newhart Comedy
A Woman of Substance Limited Syndicated

Most major awards

Networks with multiple major awards[note 1]
Network Number of
NBC 12
Programs with multiple major awards
Program Category Network Number of
Cagney & Lacey Drama CBS 4
The Cosby Show Comedy NBC 3
Do You Remember Love Special CBS
Great Performances: "Sweeney Todd" Variety PBS 2
  1. ^ a b "Major" constitutes the categories listed above: Program, Acting, Directing, and Writing. Does not include the technical categories.