Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Nonfiction Programming
Awarded forOutstanding Writing for Nonfiction Programming
CountryUnited States
Presented byAcademy of Television Arts & Sciences
Currently held byMark Lewis, Don't F**k with Cats: Hunting an Internet Killer (2020)
Websiteemmys.com

The Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Nonfiction Programming is awarded to one television documentary or nonfiction series each year.

In the following list, the first titles listed in gold are the winners; those not in gold are nominees, which are listed in alphabetical order. The years given are those in which the ceremonies took place:

Winners and nominations

1970s

Year Program Episode Nominees Network
1979 Outstanding Individual Achievement - Informational Programming[1][note 1]
Scared Straight! Arnold Shapiro Syndicated

1980s

Year Program Episode Nominees Network
1980 Outstanding Individual Achievement - Informational Programming[2][note 2]
The Body Human: The Body Beautiful Robert E. Fuisz and Louis H. Gorfain CBS
1983 Outstanding Individual Achievement - Informational Programming[3][note 3]
The Body Human: The Living Code Robert E. Fuisz and Louis H. Gorfain CBS
I, Leonardo: A Journey of the Mind Chandler Cowles CBS
1984 Outstanding Individual Achievement - Informational Programming[4][note 4]
A Walk Through the 20th Century with Bill Moyers "Marshall, Texas; Marshall, Texas" Bill Moyers PBS
1985 Outstanding Individual Achievement - Informational Programming - Writing[5][note 5]
Heritage: Civilization and the Jews "The Crucible of Europe" Howard Enders, John G. Fox, Michael Joseloff and Marc Siegel PBS
"Out of the Ashes" Brian Winston
Heritage: Civilization and the Jews "Roads from the Ghetto" John G. Fox and Eugene Marner PBS
The Living Planet: A Portrait of the Earth David Attenborough
1987 Outstanding Individual Achievement - Informational Programming - Writing[6][note 6]
The Story of English "A Muse of Fire" Robert MacNeil and Robert McCrum PBS
American Masters "Billie Holiday: The Long Night of Lady Day" John Jeremy PBS
1988 Outstanding Individual Achievement - Informational Programming[7][note 7]
American Masters "Buster Keaton: A Hard Act to Follow" Kevin Brownlow and David Gill PBS
Dear America: Letters Home from Vietnam Bill Couturié and Richard Dewhurst HBO
American Masters "The Ten-Year Lunch: The Wit and Legend of the Algonquin Round Table" Peter Foges and Mary Jo Kaplan PBS
1989 Outstanding Writing in Informational Programming[8][note 8]
The Mind "Search for the Mind" John Heminway PBS

1990s

Year Program Episode Nominees Network
1990 Outstanding Writing in Informational Programming[9][note 9]
American Masters "Broadway Dreamers: The Legacy of the Group Theater" Steve Lawson PBS
1991 Outstanding Individual Achievement - Informational Programming[10][note 10]
American Masters "Preston Sturges: The Rise and Fall of an American Dreamer" Todd McCarthy PBS
The Civil War "The Better Angels of Our Nature" Ric Burns, Ken Burns and Geoffrey C. Ward
1992 Outstanding Individual Achievement - Informational Programming[11][note 11]
Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse Fax Bahr and George Hickenlooper Showtime
Losing It All: The Reality of Alzheimer's Disease Michael Mierendorf HBO
1993 Outstanding Individual Achievement - Informational Programming[12][note 12]
Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory "America's Folk Religion" Randall Balmer PBS
1994 Outstanding Individual Achievement - Informational Programming[note 13][note 14][13][14]
The Legend of Billy the Kid Todd Robinson Disney
Reflections on Elephants Dereck Joubert PBS
The Untold West "The Black West" Dennis Watlington TBS

2000s

Year Program Episode(s) Nominees Network
2003
[15]
American Experience "Seabiscuit" Michelle Ferrari PBS
American Experience "The Murder of Emmett Till" Marcia A. Smith PBS
Da Ali G Show Sacha Baron Cohen, Dan Mazer, Anthony Hines, Jamie Glassman and James Bobin HBO
Journeys with George Alexandra Pelosi
Unchained Memories: Readings from the Slave Narratives Mark Jonathan Harris
2004
[16]
American Masters "Judy Garland: By Myself" Susan Lacy and Stephen Stept PBS
Fred Rogers: America's Favorite Neighbor Rick Sebak PBS
JFK: A Presidency Revealed David C. Taylor History
Pandemic: Facing AIDS "Uganda/Thailand" Mark Bailey HBO
Penn & Teller: Bullshit! "War on Drugs" Penn Jillette, Teller, Emma Webster, Star Price and Michael Goudeau Showtime
Terry Jones' Medieval Lives "The Peasant" Terry Jones History
2005
[17]
Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson Geoffrey C. Ward PBS
Beyond the Da Vinci Code Thomas Quinn and Rob Blumenstein History
Broadway: The American Musical "Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin'" JoAnn Young PBS
Death in Gaza Saira Shah HBO
Penn & Teller: Bullshit! "Profanity" Penn Jillette, Teller, Jon Hotchkiss, Star Price and Michael Goudeau Showtime
2006
[18]
Stardust: The Bette Davis Story Peter Jones TCM
American Masters "John Ford/John Wayne: The Filmmaker and the Legend" Kenneth Bowser PBS
"Ernest Hemingway: Rivers to the Sea" DeWitt Sage
How William Shatner Changed the World Alan Handel and Julian Jones History
Penn & Teller: Bullshit! "Prostitution" Penn Jillette, Teller, Cliff Schoenberg, Jon Hotchkiss, Michael Goudeau and Star Price Showtime
2007
[19]
American Masters "Andy Warhol: A Documentary Film" James Sanders and Ric Burns PBS
Penn & Teller: Bullshit! "Wal-Mart" Penn Jillette, Teller, Sheryl Zohn, Jon Hotchkiss, Michael Goudeau, Star Price, Cliff Schoenberg and David Weiss Showtime
Planet Earth "Mountains" Vanessa Berlowitz and Gary Parker Discovery
Star Wars: The Legacy Revealed Steven Smith, David Comtois and Kevin Burns History
This American Life "God's Close-Up" Nancy Updike Showtime
2008
[20]
The War "Pride of Our Nation (June–August 1944)" Geoffrey C. Ward PBS
American Experience "Walt Whitman" Mark Zwonitzer PBS
Intervention "Caylee" Jeff Grogan A&E
Life After People David de Vries History
This American Life "Escape" Ira Glass Showtime
2009
[21]
Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired Joe Bini, P. G. Morgan and Marina Zenovich HBO
American Experience "The Trials of J. Robert Oppenheimer" David Grubin PBS
American Masters "Jerome Robbins: Something to Dance About" Amanda Vaill
Make 'Em Laugh: The Funny Business of America "When I'm Bad, I'm Better — The Groundbreakers" Michael Kantor and Laurence Maslon
Penn & Teller: Bullshit! "New Age Medicine" Penn Jillette, Teller, Star Price, Rich Nathanson, Michael Goudeau, David Wechter, Cliff Schoenberg and Sheryl Zohn Showtime

2010s

Year Program Episode(s) Nominees Network
2010
[22]
The National Parks: America's Best Idea "The Last Refuge (1890–1915)" Dayton Duncan PBS
America: The Story of Us "Division" Jenny Ash and Ed Fields History
Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations "Prague" Anthony Bourdain Travel
The Buddha David Grubin PBS
Life "Challenges of Life" Paul Spillenger Discovery
2011
[23]
American Experience "Freedom Riders" Stanley Nelson Jr. PBS
Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations "Haiti" Anthony Bourdain Travel
Gasland Josh Fox HBO
Gettysburg Richard Bedser and Ed Fields History
Moguls & Movie Stars "The Birth of Hollywood" Jon Wilkman TCM
2012
[24]
Prohibition "A Nation of Hypocrites" Geoffrey C. Ward PBS
American Experience "Clinton" Barak Goodman PBS
American Masters "Johnny Carson: King of Late Night" Peter Jones
Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations "Cuba" Anthony Bourdain Travel
Sesame Street: Growing Hope Against Hunger Christine Ferraro PBS
2013
[25]
Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God Alex Gibney HBO
Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown "Libya" Anthony Bourdain CNN
The Dust Bowl "The Great Plow-Up" Dayton Duncan PBS
Ethel Mark Bailey HBO
The Men Who Built America "A New War Begins" Stephen David, Patrick Reams, David C. White, Keith Palmer, Randy Counsman and Ed Fields History
2014
[26]
Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey "Standing Up in the Milky Way" Ann Druyan and Steven Soter Fox
American Experience "JFK" Mark Zwonitzer PBS
Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown "Congo" Anthony Bourdain CNN
The World Wars "Trial by Fire" Stephen David, David C. White, John Ealer, Alec Michod, Chelsea Coates, Randy Counsman, Russ McCarroll, Jordan Rosenblum and David Schaye History
Years of Living Dangerously "The Surge" Adam Bolt Showtime
2015
[27]
Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief Alex Gibney HBO
American Experience "Last Days in Vietnam" Keven McAlester and Mark Bailey PBS
Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown "Iran" Anthony Bourdain CNN
Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck Brett Morgen HBO
The Roosevelts: An Intimate History "The Rising Road (1933–1939)" Geoffrey C. Ward PBS
2016
[28]
Making a Murderer "Eighteen Years Lost" Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos Netflix
American Experience "Walt Disney" Mark Zwonitzer, Sarah Colt and Tom Jennings PBS
Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown "Borneo" Anthony Bourdain CNN
Everything Is Copy — Nora Ephron: Scripted & Unscripted Jacob Bernstein HBO
Jackie Robinson David McMahon and Sarah Burns PBS
2017
[29]
13th Ava DuVernay and Spencer Averick Netflix
Amanda Knox Matthew Hamachek and Brian McGinn Netflix
Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown "Houston" Anthony Bourdain CNN
The Beatles: Eight Days a Week — The Touring Years Mark Monroe Hulu
Bill Nye Saves the World "The Sexual Spectrum" Prashanth Venkataramanujam, CeCe Pleasants, Sanden Totten, Mike Drucker and Flora Lichtman Netflix
2018
[30]
Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown "Southern Italy" Anthony Bourdain CNN
The Defiant Ones "Episode 1" Allen Hughes, Lasse Järvi and Doug Pray HBO
Icarus Bryan Fogel, Mark Monroe and Jon Bertain Netflix
Jane Brett Morgen Nat Geo
Mister Rogers: It's You I Like JoAnn Young PBS
The Vietnam War "Episode 8: The History of the World (April 1969-May 1970)" Geoffrey C. Ward
2019
[31]
Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown "Kenya" Anthony Bourdain CNN
The Case Against Adnan Syed "Forbidden Love" Amy J. Berg HBO
Fyre Fraud Jenner Furst and Julia Willoughby Hulu
Hostile Planet "Grasslands" Bruce Kennedy Nat Geo
Our Planet "Jungles" Huw Cordey, Keith Scholey, Alastair Fothergill and David Attenborough Netflix
Wu-Tang Clan: Of Mics and Men "Episode 1" Paul Greenhouse, Sacha Jenkins and Peter J. Scalettar Showtime

2020s

Year Program Episode(s) Nominees Network
2020
[32]
Don't F**k with Cats: Hunting an Internet Killer "Closing the Net" Mark Lewis Netflix
Beastie Boys Story Mike Diamond, Adam Horovitz and Spike Jonze Apple TV+
The Cave Alisar Hasan and Feras Fayyad Nat Geo
Circus of Books Rachel Mason and Kathryn Robson Netflix
McMillion$ "Episode 1" James Lee Hernandez and Brian Lazarte HBO

Programs with multiple awards

Individuals with multiple awards

Programs with multiple nominations

Notes

  1. ^ As a juried award, nominees had to garner 50% approval to win the award. The nominee did not meet the benchmark and no award was given.
  2. ^ As a juried award, nominees had to garner 50% approval to win the award. The nominee did not meet the benchmark and no award was given.
  3. ^ As a juried award, nominees had to garner 50% approval to win the award.
  4. ^ As a juried award, nominees had to garner 50% approval to win the award.
  5. ^ As a juried award, nominees had to garner 50% approval to win the award.
  6. ^ As a juried award, nominees had to garner 50% approval to win the award.
  7. ^ As a juried award, nominees had to garner 50% approval to win the award.
  8. ^ As a juried award, nominees had to garner 50% approval to win the award.
  9. ^ As a juried award, nominees had to garner 50% approval to win the award. The nominee did not meet the benchmark and no award was given.
  10. ^ As a juried award, nominees had to garner 50% approval to win the award.
  11. ^ As a juried award, nominees had to garner 50% approval to win the award. No nominee met the benchmark and no award was given.
  12. ^ As a juried award, nominees had to garner 50% approval to win the award. The nominee did not meet the benchmark and no award was given.
  13. ^ As a juried award, nominees had to garner 50% approval to win the award.
  14. ^ In 2020, the TV Academy rescinded a win in this category for the Disney Channel special George Stevens: D-Day to Berlin, written by George Stevens Jr. The program was a re-edit of the 1985 BBC documentary D-Day to Berlin, in violation of a rule that "a program that is a foreign acquisition without benefit of a domestic co-production cannot be re-introduced into eligibility in a current awards year, even though it may have been modified with new footage, sound track, musical score, etc."

References

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  2. ^ "Nominees/Winners | Television Academy". Television Academy. Retrieved April 18, 2020.
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  8. ^ "Nominees/Winners | Television Academy". Television Academy. Retrieved April 18, 2020.
  9. ^ "Nominees/Winners | Television Academy". Television Academy. Retrieved April 18, 2020.
  10. ^ "Nominees/Winners | Television Academy". Television Academy. Retrieved April 18, 2020.
  11. ^ "Nominees/Winners | Television Academy". Television Academy. Retrieved April 18, 2020.
  12. ^ "Nominees/Winners | Television Academy". Television Academy. Retrieved April 18, 2020.
  13. ^ "Nominees/Winners | Television Academy". Television Academy. Retrieved April 18, 2020.
  14. ^ Feinberg, Scott (March 12, 2020). "TV Academy Rescinds Several of George Stevens Jr.'s Emmy Noms, Awards (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 12, 2020.
  15. ^ "Nominees/Winners | Television Academy". Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Retrieved July 9, 2016.
  16. ^ "Nominees/Winners | Television Academy". Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Retrieved July 9, 2016.
  17. ^ "Nominees/Winners | Television Academy". Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Retrieved July 9, 2016.
  18. ^ "Nominees/Winners | Television Academy". Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Retrieved July 9, 2016.
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  20. ^ "Nominees/Winners | Television Academy". Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Retrieved July 9, 2016.
  21. ^ "Nominees/Winners | Television Academy". Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Retrieved July 9, 2016.
  22. ^ "Nominees/Winners | Television Academy". Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Retrieved July 9, 2016.
  23. ^ "Nominees/Winners | Television Academy". Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Retrieved July 9, 2016.
  24. ^ "Nominees/Winners | Television Academy". Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Retrieved July 9, 2016.
  25. ^ "Nominees/Winners | Television Academy". Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Retrieved July 9, 2016.
  26. ^ "Nominees/Winners | Television Academy". Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Retrieved July 9, 2016.
  27. ^ "Nominees/Winners | Television Academy". Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Retrieved July 9, 2016.
  28. ^ "Nominees/Winners | Television Academy". Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Retrieved July 14, 2016.
  29. ^ "Nominees/Winners | Television Academy". Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Retrieved July 13, 2017.
  30. ^ "Nominees/Winners | Television Academy". Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Retrieved July 13, 2018.
  31. ^ "Nominees/Winners | Television Academy". Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Retrieved July 16, 2019.
  32. ^ "Nominees/Winners | Television Academy". Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Retrieved July 29, 2020.