AACTA Reg Grundy Award on the hunt for new TV formats

Eden Gaha is ready to "pay it forward" and help discover the next big thing from anybody with a winning TV idea.

If you have an idea for an unscripted television show, applications have opened once again for the AACTA Reg Grundy Award.

This year will be even bigger than last year, with a focus on all things competition – gameshows, competition reality and quizzes.

The 2021 AACTA Reg Grundy Award is open to any Australian with a new idea for a television competition program, and with $20,000 in cash and $30,000 in development funding -the largest prize of its kind in the world.

Former President of Unscripted Television at Shine USA, Eden Gaha had no hesitation in agreeing to be a judge.

“To see something of this nature from AACTA with real teeth and a real opportunity to bring the next generation of unscripted creators forward is fantastic to see,” he tells TV Tonight.

“As our industry matures and grows, to be a part of that and help the next generation is frankly, very Australian. I was helped in my own career by the likes of David Lyle and mentors of mine. We as Australians feel a very healthy need to pay it forward.

“Whenever someone comes to the United States from here, if so they have so much as made it there, they deserve my time, my energy, and the opportunity to push their career forward.”

Joining him to judge are Cathy Payne (CEO of Banijay Rights), Sharon Wheeler (Award-winning Senior Entertainment Executive), and Marion Farrelly (Speaker, consultant, TV & Film Producer), and Ian Hogg (Media CEO, Advisor, Australian Idol, Australia’s Got Talent, Family Feud).

The award is offered in partnership with Reg Grundy’s wife, Chairman of RG Capital, author and businesswoman Mrs Joy Chambers Grundy.

Gaha, who rose to fame hosting Vidiot, reveals his only link to Grundy was an appearance on Celebrity Sale of the Century (“I flamed out spectacularly!”). Having forged success in the US as a Reality TV exec, acknowledges how long it can take to develop new formats.

“Famously Big Brother took 10 years to develop before the show we see today. Survivor bounced around for 4 years before it actually got on the air. These things incubate in their own way, in their own time.”

But he is also encouraged by the introduction of an additional prize of $10,000 to the best idea from someone under 25.

“Often young people and new creators just don’t have the time and the resources to see it all the way through,” he continues.

“I look to the future audience and this award for younger people to show how they would like to tell their stories. If you’ve had a 4K camera in your pocket for the last 13 years and you know how to edit, shoot and interview, what have you got to say about how unscripted should evolve? To me, that’s what’s exciting.

“It’s the idea -yes. But a good idea has probably been had by many, many people at the same time. It ultimately comes down to how do you want to execute that idea? How do you want to tell that story in a compelling way? I’m looking forward to seeing different and exciting viewpoints that aren’t rehashing the same old tropes.”

The AACTA Reg Grundy Award is open to Australians from all walks of life and across all experience levels who can demonstrate they have an idea that is original, viable and has the all-important entertainment factor.

Entries close 11.59pm AEST Monday 11 October 2021.


5 Responses

  1. Well there you go, the way forward for commercial TV in Australia is making even more competition and games shows, it reminds me of the 1960’s austerity period of British TV where for principally economic reasons developing cheap to make cooking and games shows eventually became a very big global market, including selling these creative ideas under license overseas, including to America.
    If Eden wants an idea that hasn’t been used for a while he might revive Bob Monkhouse’s ‘The Golden Bolt’ game show which aired on and off from 1967-75. The idea of a blindfolded camerman firing a crossbow device at a target while being guided by a contestant within a specified time limit was a big hit on British TV at that time.

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