TV Tonight Awards 2022: Best Free to Air Network

Plus Story of the Year, Most Underrated Performer of 2022.

ABC has been voted Best Free to Air Network by readers in the TV Tonight Awards.

ABC outranked 10, Seven, Nine and SBS for the third year running.

ABC Managing Director David Anderson said, “It’s an honour for the ABC to be recognised as Free to Air network of the year by TV Tonight readers.

“In 2022 the ABC celebrated 90 years of entertaining and informing Australians and it’s wonderful to see our programs were enjoyed and valued by audiences.

“In 2023 the ABC will continue to bring the best Australian stories to audiences at home and around the world.”

Netflix was again voted Best Subscription Service and FOX Showcase as Best Foxtel Channel.

This year Aaron Chen (pictured) has tied with Sam Pang as Most Underrated Performer. Both appear on two shows: Fisk for Chen and The Front Bar for Pang -and together on Have You Been Paying Attention? New names include Tim McDonald and Melanie Bracewell, both from The Cheap Seats.

Coverage of the death of Queen Elizabeth II was 2022’s Story of the Year, overtaking votes around the rollercoaster year for Neighbours.

With so much content streaming there are fewer and fewer votes for International Show We Need to See each year, but The Kelly Clarkson Show topped the list. It debuts on the new 7Bravo channel this Monday.

* denotes runaway winner

Best Free to Air Network: ABC *
(2021: ABC)

Best Subscription Service: Netflix *

(2021: Netflix)

Best Foxtel Channel: FOX Showcase

FOX Footy
FOX Sports
(2021: FOX Showcase)

Most Underrated Performer: Aaron Chen, Sam Pang (tie)

Jackie Woodburne
Tim McDonald
Melanie Bracewell
(2021: Sam Pang)

International Show We Need to See Here: The Kelly Clarkson Show

Quantum Leap
Dancing with the Stars USA, General Hospital, Hollyoaks.
(2021: La Brea)

Story of the Year: Coverage of death of Queen Elizabeth II

Neighbours is axed (and then renewed)
Death of Shane Warne, Olivia Newton-John
The Project exodus: Carrie Bickmore, Lisa Wilkinson, Peter Helliar
Shaun Micallef wraps Mad as Hell
(2021: Death of Bert Newton)

There were 421 completed surveys, the highest in 4 years.

90% voted the site ‘Excellent’ or ‘Very Good’, up from 86% the previous year, with just 1% choosing ‘Disappointing.’

66% visit ‘More than Once a Day’ or ‘Once a Day’, also up on 2021’s 62%.

Thanks once again to all who participated!


TV Tonight Awards: Best of 2022
TV Tonight Awards: Worst of 2022

9 Responses

  1. Interesting/disappointing that Netflix won Best (read: Most popular) Subscription Service in a year when they did not have 1 show in the top 10 of the MetaCritic aggregate Best TV Series. Quality wise, it was a relatively poor year for them, but they still win this award in a landslide. I know other things such as movies, price & useability come into play, but this feels like a habitual/historical vote to me.

    1. Suspect a lot of voting is about which one people have access to. It’s hard to vote for one you can’t see. Netflix does have the subs. Don’t forget Heartbreak High, Heartstopper and Wednesday all drew high votes.

  2. Agree with all the top awards, I don’t need to see Kelly Clarkson or similar shows I can happily overlook them, they don’t interest me much especially when guests are self promoting themselves or flogging autobiographical books about themselves then feel the need to follow with up with an updated autobiography again years down the track to fill in the blanks. Or a singer retiring and coming back from retirement with yet another comeback tour. All that does my head in keeping up.

  3. Well done to the ABC for topping the best FTA network for the 3rd straight year. ABC has celebrated its 90th anniversary last year. July 2032 will mark 100 years since ABC first commenced.
    Well done DK for putting out the stats there!

  4. I just don’t get all the love for 10. Maybe I am just an old man and their programming isn’t for me, but it seems to be built on reality rubbish and their “flagship” the Project, which again is light fluff directed towards a younger demographic.

    But I would say that I really enjoy “The Cheap Seats”. It is everything its title says it is – a bit of irrelevant entertainment that pokes fun at itself just as much as others. Their entertainment and sports reporters know their role and play it well, especially Melissa Tracina. But the real star, IMHO, is Tim McDonald. Comedy is in the eye of the beholder, but his wit and timing are first rate and really make the show hum along.

    1. I think you could say “built on reality” for all of the commercial networks – and that the love for 10 may be because readers here simply prefer Survivor, MasterChef, Hunted, Traitors and Amazing Race over MAFS, Block, Ninja and Voice, SAS and Farmer Wants A Wife.

      I also think there is a slight point if difference in there being more effort put into of a comedy line up over 7 & 9 – with HYBPA, Cheep Seat and new Taskmaster (which I think/hope will be good). That is also a point of difference that may give them good will.

      1. In the past I’ve noted 10 has a slightly younger audience and a long history of getting their audience to vote (Idol, Big Bro.). But I think Aussies also love an underdog. Still, it wasn’t enough to take out best network again.

    2. Maybe you are an old man, but the fact is 10 takes more risks with new formats rather than reheating old ones and generally speaking gives series a chance to grow rather than axe them at the first sign of trouble.

      It’ll be interesting to see what they do with The Traitors – if they hadn’t got in early I’m sure that would have featured in the “International Show We Need to See”, so given it seems to be the hot new international format at the moment it’s worth them sticking with it. The UK is now airing the US and Aussie versions off the back of the successful UK version, so the fact it can potentially build an international audience too, perhaps lowering the price for Ten, should work in it’s favour as well.

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