The Television Academy Foundation announced the winners of the 40th College Television Awards tonight, which recognizes and rewards excellence in student-produced programs from colleges and universities nationwide, during a global livestream. The program was the Foundation's first-ever virtual awards ceremony in its 40-year history, created in response to restrictions surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 2020 winners were presented awards remotely by television stars Tichina Arnold (The Neighborhood), Melissa Barrera (Vida), Gabi Butler (Cheer), Jimmy Fallon (The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon), Grant Gustin (The Flash), Kelly McCreary (Grey's Anatomy), Ryan Michelle Bathe (All Rise; The First Wives Club), Mishel Prada (Vida; Riverdale), Drew and Jonathan Scott (Property Brothers: Forever Home), Yeardley Smith (The Simpsons), and Shoshannah Stern (Grey's Anatomy; This Close). Nominees were also treated to a surprise congratulatory video featuring André Holland (The Eddy), Amy Poehler (Parks and Recreation), Amandla Stenberg (The Eddy), Tracey Ullman (Mrs. America), Kerry Washington (Little Fires Everywhere), and Reese Witherspoon (Little Fires Everywhere) during the show. The program was hosted by CBS's The Henry Ford's Innovation Nation and IMDb's on the Scene - Interviews correspondent Albert Lawrence, who is also a Television Academy Foundation alumnus.
Emulating the Emmy Awards selection process, entries for the College Television Awards were judged by Television Academy members. Top honors and a $3,000 cash prize provided by KIA Motors America, the official automotive partner of the awards, went to winning teams in eight categories:
Animation Series: Don't Croak – Daun Kim (Ringling College of Art + Design)
Comedy Series: They Won't Last – Richard C. Bailey, Brandon Gale and Portlynn Tagavi (American Film Institute)
Commercial, PSA or Promo: Miguel – Reebok – Jacob Benjamin Knudsen, Paul Monk, Pablo Isaak Perez and Bentley Rawle (Brigham Young University)
Drama Series: Balloon – Christina Cha, Jeremy Merrifield and Dave Testa (American Film Institute)
News: Al Día: A Border Emergency – Viviana Borroel, Jessica Cardenas, Xochilt Lagunas, Stephanie Margarita La Vau, Maricela Perez, Tania Thorne, Dominic Torres and Regina Yurrita (California State University, Fullerton)
Nonfiction or Reality Series: Dirty Business – Yutao Chen and Francesca Fenzi (University of California, Berkeley)
Sports: SportsDesk – Madison Riley Brown, Valerie Ferrante, Amanda Fuentes, Luis Gonzalez, David Perez and Justin Stevens (University of Miami)
Variety: Thursday Nite Live – Robin Deering, Benjamin Fletcher, Caroline Cuyler Lea, Brittany McGowan, Sean McNally, Seann David Morgan, Michael O'Rourke, Sydney Pastor Poe and Joe Reiter (Hofstra University)
Two special awards were also announced during the program:
The Loreen Arbus Focus on Disability Scholarship was virtually presented to Quinn Else and Marc Tarczali from the American Film Institute for Fort Irwin, a dramatic piece about an amputee veteran who confronts his past trauma. The $10,000 scholarship celebrates student storytellers whose work sheds light on people with disabilities and is underwritten by the Loreen Arbus Foundation.
The Seymour Bricker Humanitarian Award, a $4,000 cash prize given to a College Television Award-winning project that best highlights a humanitarian concern, was awarded to Christina Cha, Jeremy Merrifield and Dave Testa from the American Film Institute for Balloon. This award was created over two decades ago by the late entertainment attorney Seymour Bricker.
The 40th College Television Awards show is available for VOD viewing at TelevisionAcademy.com/CTA.
The Foundation also arranged exclusive online events and webinars designed to educate, mentor and enhance professional development for nominees prior to the awards show. Nominees took part in virtual panel discussions with industry leaders on topics such as "The Making of HBO's Insecure" with executive producers Amy Aniobi and Jim Kleverweis and HBO's Vice President of Production Natasha Foster-Owens; "The Building Blocks of Reality Television" with Endemol Shine's nonfiction series executives Michael Heyerman and DJ Nurre, Extreme Makeover Home Edition showrunner Brady Connell and LEGO Masters showrunner Anthony Dominici; "From Script to Screen" with STARZ's Vida series creator, executive producer and showrunner Tanya Saracho; "A Conversation with FilmLA" with President Paul Audley; plus a session focused on navigating an uncertain job market facilitated by Creative Arts Agency executive Ruben Garcia. Nominees also participated in "Virtual Visits" with television professionals from their specific fields of interest.
"Our sincerest appreciation to all the stars, industry leaders and sponsors who helped make this year's College Television Awards virtual experience a reality for students," said Madeline Di Nonno, chair of the Television Academy Foundation. "Congratulations to the winners! We welcome them and all of the nominees into the Foundation's alumni family which is dedicated to providing mentoring support and professional access to the television industry, a vital service for aspiring students at this unprecedented time."
The 40th College Television Awards is supported by philanthropists and corporate partners such as PEOPLE®, WarnerMedia, the Loreen Arbus Foundation, KIA Motors America, Creative Artists Agency, FilmLA, the Johnny Carson Foundation, STARZ, Technicolor and United Airlines®.
About the Television Academy Foundation
Established in 1959 as the charitable arm of the Television Academy, the Television Academy Foundation is dedicated to preserving the legacy of television while educating and inspiring those who will shape its future. Through renowned educational and outreach programs, such as The Interviews: An Oral History of Television Project, College Television Awards and Student Internship Program, the Foundation seeks to widen the circle of voices our industry represents and to create more opportunity for television to reflect all of society. For more information on the Foundation, please visit TelevisionAcademy.com/Foundation.
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For the complete press release, click here.