As spring edges toward summer, we at the Television Academy have our eyes on the fall as we prepare for the next Emmy Awards.
But there are two other events taking place much sooner that are significant for the Academy and the industry as a whole. The College Television Awards celebrates the work of young creators in a wide range of fields, from animation, comedy and children’s programming to directing, documentaries, newscasting and music. This year’s contest — the 38th — drew more than 900 entries from colleges around the country.
The nominees have been announced (you can see the names at TelevisionAcademy.com/CTA) and, as I write this, Academy members — the same pros who judge the Emmys — are screening the entries and marking their ballots. The winners will be revealed May 24 in the Wolf Theatre at our North Hollywood, California, campus.
But the CTAs are much more than a moment in the spotlight. Student participants have gone on to success throughout the industry. Consider Brad Ableson, who won in the comedy category in 1997 — he’s now co-creator, executive producer and supervising director of Chamberlain Heights, a Comedy Central series, and he had a previous series, Good Vibes, on MTV. Winning the CTA for his college short, he says, “helped me score my dream job as a storyboard artist for The Simpsons.” It also gave him the confidence to pitch his own shows.
Meanwhile, on June 8, the Academy will recognize the power of television to create and advance social change at the 10th-annual Television Academy Honors. This year’s celebrated programs reflect some of the industry’s most relevant series and specials.
They are: National Geographic’s Before the Flood, about the catastrophic effects of climate change; HBO’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, which addressed the attrition of women’s reproductive rights; HBO’s The Night Of, a limited series that highlighted issues of race and criminal justice; ABC’s Speechless, a family comedy that explores matters surrounding physical disability; NBC’s This Is Us, a multi-generational family drama that examines marriage, adoption, racial identity and body image; and CNN’s We Will Rise: Michelle Obama’s Mission to Educate Girls Around the World, which focuses on young women in Morocco and Liberia and their efforts to better their lives.
Their creators and producers will be saluted at the Montage Beverly Hills; the reception will once again be hosted by actress-producer-activist Dana Delany. Starting in late May, stories and videos about each of the six programs will be posted at TelevisionAcademy.com/Honors; I hope you’ll take a look.
Also on our website, on May 24, you can live-stream the College Television Awards ceremony — the excitement of these young people is not to be missed. If you’re a member of the Academy, you can log on anytime to screen the CTA entries. And if you’re not yet an Academy member, why not log on to TelevisionAcademy.com/membership?
If you would like to vote in both rounds of the 2017 Emmy competition, you need to join by May 17. And speaking of the Emmys, don’t be surprised if, before too long, you hear some of the winners of this year’s CTAs being announced from the Emmy stage.
Chairman and CEO Television Academy