Submission Guidelines


Eligibility:

Unscripted/Reality Programs are eligible for nomination if at least six (6) episodes premiered between June 1, 2020 and May 31, 2021 to at least 50% of the total potential U.S. television market.  Programs may be delivered to viewers by broadcast, cable, or online apps and services.  For the Best Limited Documentary Series category, the minimum number of episodes is three (3).


Critics Choice Real TV Awards categories are:

  • Best Competition Series – Programs with a competition element that give a prize or declare a winner.  A program should not be submitted to Best Competition Series if it can be appropriately categorized into Best Game Show or Best Competition Series: Talent/Variety.
  • Best Competition Series: Talent/Variety – Competition programs in which contestants compete based on their entertainment performance skills (such as singing, dancing, magic, and the like).
  • Best Structured Series – Programs with consistent story elements, where episodes primarily adhere to a recurring structured template.  No competition programs.
  • Best Unstructured Series – Programs in which the characters drive the story, without a recurring structured template.  No competition programs.
  • Best Ongoing Documentary Series – Anthology documentary series comprised of in-depth and investigational programs.  Episodes of the series can cover different topics.
  • Best Limited Documentary Series – Documentary series which has a unified story and overall show arc.
  • Best Short Form Series – Nonfiction, unscripted or reality series in which the average episode length is approximately 15 minutes or less.
  • Best Interactive Show – Programs that incorporate real-time interaction from home viewers.
  • Best Live Show – Programs that are transmitted live to viewers.
  • Best Culinary Show – Programs in which at least 50% of the content has an emphasis on the culinary arts or food culture.
  • Best Game Show – Programs in which contestants play games that involve answering questions, solving problems, or performing minor physical challenges.
  • Best Travel/Adventure Show – Programs with a primary focus on travel, tourism, adventure, culture or exploration.
  • Best Business Show – Programs that are primarily about starting, growing or running businesses, or programs that are about the business sector in general.
  • Best Animal/Nature Show – Programs with a primary focus on animals (domestic or wild), or the natural environment.
  • Best Crime/Justice Show – Programs focused on any aspect of the justice system, including crime, policing, investigation, courtrooms, punishment, and rehabilitation.
  • Best Sports Show – Programs about athletes or athletics.
  • Best Relationship Show – Programs about the dynamics of romantic connections, or family bonds.
  • Best Lifestyle Show: Home/Garden – Programs that instruct, motivate, or provide information about home or garden buying, selling, improvement, decoration, or repair.
  • Best Lifestyle Show: Fashion/Beauty – Programs that instruct, motivate, or provide information about clothing, hair and makeup, or fitness.
  • Best Ensemble Cast in an Unscripted Series – Includes the principal characters in an unscripted series, or the recurring contestants in a season-long ongoing competition series.
  • Best Show Host – Equal co-hosts, or panels of equal judges, will be considered together as a single entity.  If you are submitting in this category, please name them all in the Host field of your submission.
  • Male Star of the Year (FAN VOTED)
  • Female Star of the Year (FAN VOTED)


Category Submission Instructions:

Submitters may enter a Series into more than one category, as appropriate.  A separate entry fee will apply for each category entered.  We reserve the right to move an entry into a category we deem to be more appropriate, or to disqualify an entry from a category.  We will refund the submission fee for an entry that we disqualify.  Producers, networks and co-production partners should confer to avoid duplicate entries.

Submitters must select one episode video to submit, per category entered.  

Exceptions to the one episode requirement are:

  • Best Ongoing Documentary Series:  Submit either one episode, or a video comprised of segments from multiple episodes totaling 20-30 minutes.
  • Best Short Form Series:  Submit a video comprised of 3 episodes.
  • Performer Categories (Best Host, Best Ensemble Cast, Male Star of the Year, Female Star of the Year):  Submit either one episode, or a video comprised of clips from episodes totaling 10-15 minutes.
  • Best Interactive Show:  Submit 1) One episode video, and 2) A link to the interactive website or app. Optional is 3) A 3-minute video demonstration of the interactivity.


Submission Materials:

Entrants will submit the following materials:

  1. Basic information about the Submitter and the Entry (including submitter contact info, entry title, production company, network, episode premiere date, etc.).

  2. A logline of up to 50 words that describes the complete series. 

  3. Not required but suggested: An essay of up to 300 words regarding the submission, as a guide for judges. The essay may be used to call attention to factors which make the entry worthy of recognition.  It can address such points as the creative and production goals of the entry, techniques used to achieve these goals, any challenges that were met, and the impact of the program.  The essay will be seen by judges alongside the video.

  4. A representative photo.  For Show entries, a promotional image, or episodic still, or cast photo, with no text or logos.  For Host and Star entries, the photo should be cropped to around head-and-shoulders.

  5. A video of one episode (see exceptions above, in the Category Submission Instructions). 

    • Video content must be in the same form as originally broadcast, without enhancements.  

    • All submitted video content must have premiered during the eligibility period, between June 1, 2020 and May 31, 2021.  

      Video requirements:

      Video: 1920×1080 progressive
      Codec: H.264
      Bit Rate: 6-8 MB
      Audio: AAC, stereo, 192-320kbps, 44-48 kHz
      MP4 format is preferred
      No timecodes
      No bars & tones
      No commercials, a few seconds of black is optional
      Slate is optional but preferred
      The file should be under 4GB
      File name must include:  Show or Performer name, and Category.


Entry Fee:

For Show categories

Entry Fee
By Monday, March 22
(early discount)
$320
By Friday, May 14
(submission deadline)
$400

For Host, Cast and Star categories

Entry Fee
By Monday, March 22
(early discount)
$200
By Friday, May 14
(submission deadline)
$240