The 54th Primetime Emmy Awards were held on Sunday, September 22, 2002. Nominations were announced July 22, 2002. The ceremony was hosted by Conan O'Brien and was broadcast on NBC. Two networks, FX, and VH1 received their first major nominations this year. The program America: A Tribute to Heroes was simulcast on every major network, and therefore, is not designated with one below.
After four nominations during its first seven seasons, Friends won the Outstanding Comedy Series—as of 2015, this is still the most recent period that a top-rated show won either major series award. Everybody Loves Raymond led all comedies with nine major nominations and three major wins. Meanwhile, after eight consecutive nominations (including five consecutive wins for its first five seasons), Frasier was excluded from the Outstanding Comedy Series nomination for the first time. It would not be nominated for its final two seasons either.
For the third straight year, the drama field was dispatched by The West Wing. In addition to winning its third consecutive trophy for Outstanding Drama Series, The West Wing achieved a milestone on the night when it became the third show (all dramas) to gain nine acting nominations for its main cast members. This tied the mark set by Hill Street Blues in 1982 and later matched by L.A. Law in 1989. The West Wing set a record with twelve total acting nominations when including the guest category, a category that existed for L.A. Law, but was not available for Hill Street Blues, during its 1981–82 season of nine acting nominations. The West Wing led all shows in major nominations and wins with sixteen and four.
Actress Stockard Channing joined the exclusive club of actors that have won two awards in one ceremony for different roles.