TV Tonight Awards: Best of 2016

Australian Survivor has taken out two awards in the reader-voted TV Tonight Awards for 2016.

It picked up Best New Show (Australian) and romped it in for Best Australian Reality Show. It follows enthusiastic social media for the TEN show and sets it up for likely Logie nominations this year.

Host Jonathan LaPaglia said, “When the producers approached me about hosting Australian Survivor they said they were going to make it bigger and better than the US.

“I thought to myself ‘These guys seem like nice guys but boy are they deluded! How they hell do they think they can pull that off when the US has 4 times the budget, double the crew and 16 years experience?!’

“But you know what? They actually did it, they knocked it out of the park! Hats off to ESA, TEN and the inexhaustible crew for pulling off the impossible.

“And thanks to all the TV Tonight readers who recognised that and voted. The tribe has spoken.”

For the second year running Wentworth dominated in the Best Aussie Drama category -an impressive feat given it is a Pay TV title.

Celia Ireland (Liz Birdsworth) said, “What a fabulous start to the year, thank you to all our devoted viewers and their continuous support, it means so much to all the cast and crew.  Keep watching, there is so much more to come in season 5.”

Other winners included Please Like Me, Have You Been Paying Attention?, The Project, Studio 10 and Q&A.

This year the wins saw only minimal change from those announced 12 months ago.

But enduring winner Shaun Micallef has reclaimed his title as Favourite Male over Waleed Aly, while Carrie Bickmore wins Favourite Female for the 2nd year running. Sam Pang has risen to the top in the Most Underrated Performer.

In the international categories winners include Game of Thrones, The Crown, Survivor and The Big Bang Theory. Readers also agreed Celebrity Apprentice‘s Donald Trump presidential victory was The Story of the Year.

ABC has again been voted Best Free to Air Network.

There were 443 votes this year.

*denotes runaway winner

Best Aussie Drama: Wentworth*
Doctor Doctor
A Place to Call Home
(2015: Wentworth)

Best Aussie Comedy: Please Like Me
Upper Middle Bogan
Shaun Micallef’s Mad as Hell
(2015: Utopia)

Best International Drama: Game of Thrones
The Crown
Stranger Things
(2015: Game of Thrones)

Best International Comedy: The Big Bang Theory
Modern Family
Brooklyn Nine Nine
(2015: The Big Bang Theory)

Best Light Entertainment: Have You Been Paying Attention?*
The Project
Family Feud
(2015: Have You Been Paying Attention?)

Best Morning Show: Studio 10
ABC News Breakfast
(2015: Studio 10)

Best Reality Show (Australian): Australian Survivor*
MasterChef Australia
My Kitchen Rules
The Block
(2015: Australian MasterChef)

Best Reality Show (International): Survivor*
The Amazing Race
First Dates UK
The Great British Bake Off
(2015: Survivor)

Best Lifestyle: The Living Room*
Selling Houses Australia
Better Homes and Gardens
Grand Designs Australia
(2015: The Living Room)

Best Factual / Documentary / Observational: Gogglebox
First Contact
Australian Story
RBT / Highway Patrol (tie)
(2015: The Killing Season)

Best News / Current / Public Affairs: The Project
Four Corners
ABC News
(2015: 7:30)

Best Talk Show: Q&A*
The Project
Studio 10
(2015: Q&A)

Best Kid’s Show: Play School
Nowhere Boys
Little Lunch
Tomorrow When the War Began
(2015: Play School)

Best Sports Show or Coverage: AFL Grand Final
Big Bash League
AFL 360 / Australian Open
(2015: AFL Grand Final)

Best New Show (Australian): Australian Survivor
Doctor Doctor
The Wrong Girl
(2015: Gogglebox)

Best New Show (International:) The Crown
Stranger Things
The Night Of
(2015: Quantico)

Favourite Male: Shaun Micallef
Waleed Aly
Josh Thomas
Sam Pang
(2015: Waleed Aly)

Favourite Female: Carrie Bickmore
Julia Morris
Celia Pacquola
Jessica Marais
(2015: Carrie Bickmore)

Most Underrated Performer: Sam Pang
Sarah Harris
Josh Thomas
Jackie Woodburne
(2015: Waleed Aly)

International Show We Need to see on Australian TV: This is Us
The Man in the High Castle
The Grand Tour
(2015: Agent Carter)

The Story of the Year: Donald Trump, former reality star, becomes US President*

60 Minutes Lebanon debacle
50 Years of Play School
Regional affiliates switch networks
(2015: Netflix arrives in Australia)

Best Subscription Channel: Showcase*
FOX Sports
FOX Footy
(2015: FOX8)

Best Multichannel: ABC2
ABC News 24
(2015: ELEVEN)

Best Subscription Streaming Service: Netflix*
(Other option)
(2015: Netflix)

Best Free to Air Network: ABC
(2015: ABC)

Tomorrow: Worst of 2016


  1. Congrats to all the winners, all well deserved 🙂

    Carrie Bickmore & The Project seem to always have so much love.

    The AFL Grand Final was a definite, what a cracker game & production, takes a huge effort to pull that off (reflected by the viewership – biggest program of 2016).

    Australian Survivor, I’m not surprised, so happy to see that!

  2. Once again this poll of readers has proven beyond all doubt that it is a complete and utter waste of time.
    Only 400 odd souls , including myself I may add, contributed their opinions and as nearly always many shows that hardly anyone watches have been named as the most popular along with the nations worst Network, the ailing 10.
    The only accurate statistics are the published daily ratings and they make an absolute joke of this useless poll. I am truly sorry, but it has to be said.

    • Well congrats on a complete misreading of what this survey seeks to represent: the views of the site readers. We already have OzTAM and it is published every day. This is no different to Lee Lin Chin getting a Gold Logie nom -where are her ratings? In fact TVT Awards have previously tipped many Logie names including Gold wins before they happened as well as trends over time. 10 didn’t win best network, it went to ABC. Any awards show is the sum total of its voters, not the ratings system nor box office.

  3. Ch10 have been promoting This is Us as coming soon. So those people whom haven’t seen it yet will get a chance to do it so when CH10 airs it. I suggest it will be late Jan or Early Feb

  4. This might sound strange, but the most striking thing to me was 9Life appearing as the 4th best multi-channel. I barely know anyone that realises this channel exists, let alone watches anything on it. And I can’t say I’ve seen anything on it for more than a couple of seconds. Oh well, to each their own, I guess.

    • @ Daveyboy, since 7two stopped showing new eps of their lifestyle shows (e.g Escape to the Country) weeks before the Olympics, I have resorted to 9Life for a few lifestyle shows (like Masters of Flip, Vacation House for Free and house Hunters Renovations), I intersperse these with ABC and SBS, docos and their ‘lifestyle’ shows. So when it came to vote I preferred 9Life over 7two based on fresh and current content.

  5. As a massive Survivor fan, I am proud of Aus Survivor. While it wasn’t best season (to compare to the US show, it was overall an average season with both great highs and lows), Incould see that season being a strong launchpad for a strong frachise for ten.

    My have two suggestions for future seasons

    1) The quality of the gameplay on recent seasons of the US show was outstanding and I want to see that level of gameplay on our show.

    2) I want to see production tone down (or at least think through) their twists. I loved the Fake Tribal twist but some of the other twists (namely the “pick your tribe” challenge at the F18 round) were poorily planed and were not good.

  6. Always surprised by these as I don’t know anyone who watches ten. I only watch Pay TV unless FTA has exclusive coverage of sport like Cricket or Rugby League.

  7. My wife and I were really excited about Australian Survivor, but in the end it just left me cold. We watched it all but were really disappointed in the end. The production values were great and Jonathon was a good host (though a bit too much “tell me exactly who is in your alliance and who should go home” in tribals everyweek). Yet it was too long, too many contestants, too many team shakeups including the ridiculous “let the best players choose the best team” one. There was too much talk about good guys vs bad guys, a distaste for anyone “playing the game” and a really underwhelming winner.
    In comparison the most recent US series has been fantastic.
    Very happy however to see Sam Pang and HYBPA win. He is truly the funniest man on TV…

    • I disagree on both counts. I’ve watched every season of US Survivor and thought this last one was weak. It had some decent castaways but the Millenials bugged me more than inspired me. I loved the final showdown in AusSurvivor. Kirsty deserved the win. I do agree with your point about Johnathan being heavy handed in tribals though.

  8. Ten Bias? No – more likely the lowest common denominator that alot of Seven and Nine’s programming appeals to are less likely to be on sites like TVT – therefore an apparent favourtism towards Ten develops among readers and voters.

    • I think it’s more the “underdog” factor. Aussies love underdogs and 10 has been trailing the other 2 commercial networks for some time now.

      The “lowest common denominator” appeal you speak of could easily be aimed at a show like “I’m A Celebrity…”, yet it rarely gets criticised as much as arguably not so dissimilar shows on 7 & 9.

      And I don’t buy the over-promoting line either since I’m personally very tired of all the shilling that goes on every single Big Bash game. I can ignore ads, but I can’t ignore promotion when it’s actually within a show. I think this is a huge point which has been predominantly overlooked!

  9. All very interesting, looking forward to the worst. But I’m always disappointed to see that the US strongly dominates the international categories, when you think of the excellent UK telly we get. Particularly the comedies – I can’t believe none get a mention. Amused to see Trump there though – he did promise winning! He’ll be dead chuffed.

    • Easy to explain why the ratings don’t reflect this. This poll was a survey of TVT readers (about 440 people responded). A statistically correct poll of a few thousand members of the population taken at random would produce a far different result. It is obvious that many of the readers of this forum have very biased views towards a particular network.

      • The statistical poll you refer to is called OzTAM ratings. I publish it every day of the year. No problem in asking readers to list their favourites in an annual poll in the silly season. A list of favourites clearly taps into your bias. Despite TEN’s wins the Best Free to Air Network again went to ABC. Readers are able to determine between individual shows and overall network performance. The latter has also changed 3 times over the run of the site.

  10. Cue the usual comments about a TEN bias on TVT, but still many deserving wins which I am happy to see. Interesting that both Survivor and Survivor (AU) won. Both helping each other?

  11. Some well deserved wins. I’ve binge re-watched the Wentworth blu-rays (first three seasons nailed in the last two weeks) and am loving it just as much second time around.

  12. Great to see AFLGF top the Best Sports coverage for the 3rd year in a row. This is a Top rating program and I would like to see this coverage win the Logie award for that category.

  13. The results surprise me with the exception of Australian Survivor. Didn’t anyone vote for the Big Music Quiz or Hard Quiz? Under best reality where’s I’m a Celebrity and Real Housewives of Melbourne? I’m amazed Saturday Disney didn’t make best kids show as it was it’s last year.

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