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The 10 reality shows and documentary series nominated for TCA Awards

The 10 reality shows and documentary series nominated for TCA Awards
Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman open the barn doors to reveal the winner Making It! during the season-one finale, "Happily Ever Crafter." (Photo by Paul Drinkwater/NBC)

The Television Critics Association announced the nominees for its 35th annual TCA Awards, which will be presented in August. Those include 10 reality TV shows and documentary series across two categories.

The nominees were chosen by the members of the Television Critics Association. A press release says that “[m]ore than 220 professional television critics and journalists from the United States and Canada voted,” and that includes me, since I’m a member and serve on the TCA’s board of directors.

The Outstanding Achievement in News and Information category has both news programs and documentary reality series as nominees. The exact same thing happened last year—in fact, the same two news shows were nominated, so the difference in the category are just the documentary reality series:

  • 60 Minutes, CBS (2012 Winner in Category)
  • America To Me, Starz
  • Leaving Neverland, HBO
  • Our Planet, Netflix
  • The Rachel Maddow Show, MSNBC
  • Surviving R. Kelly, Lifetime

Two of those shows had significant cultural impact earlier this year, giving voice to victims of abuse by two different celebrities.

I also loved America to Me.

Charles Donalson, America to Me
Charles Donalson (right), one of the stars of America to Me. (Photo by Starz)

In the Outstanding Achievement in Reality Programming category, critics chose four Netflix series, three competitions, and three shows that focus on food:

  • The Great British Baking Show, PBS
  • Making It, NBC
  • Nailed It!, Netflix
  • Queer Eye, Netflix
  • Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat, Netflix
  • Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, Netflix

Any of those would be strong winners. Of course I’d think that: four of the six nominees made my list of the best reality TV of 2018, and Queer Eye won the TCA Award last year.

Last year’s Great British Baking Show season was its last season on PBS, which brought the show to the U.S. so audiences here—including me!—could fall in love with a competition that was witty and charming, not cutthroat and cruel. So I’d love to see it win.

But I also loved and was charmed by Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman, whose hosting, chemistry, and banter with contestants alone made Making It! one of 2018’s best shows. (It’ll be back later this year, but as a holiday event series.)

All the other TCA Award nominees

Natasha Lyonne in Russian Doll
Both Natasha Lyonne and her series Russian Doll were nominated for 2019 TCA Awards (Photo by Netflix)

Here are the other nominees for TCA Awards, with the exception of the Career Achievement and Heritage Awards, which are announced at the ceremony.


  • Amy Adams, Sharp Objects, HBO
  • Patricia Arquette, Escape at Dannemora, Showtime
  • Christine Baranski, The Good Fight, CBS All Access
  • Jodie Comer, Killing Eve, BBC America
  • Billy Porter, Pose, FX
  • Michelle Williams, Fosse/Verdon, FX


  • Pamela Adlon, Better Things, FX
  • Bill Hader, Barry, HBO
  • Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep, HBO (2014 Winner in Category)
  • Natasha Lyonne, Russian Doll, Netflix
  • Catherine O’Hara, Schitt’s Creek, Pop TV
  • Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Fleabag, Amazon


  • Arthur, PBS Kids
  • Carmen Sandiego, Netflix
  • Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, PBS Kids (2016 Winner in Category)
  • Muppet Babies, Disney Junior
  • Odd Squad, PBS Kids
  • Sesame Street, HBO (2018, 2011, 2001 Winner in Category)


  • Desus & Mero, Showtime
  • Full Frontal with Samantha Bee,TBS
  • I Think You Should Leave, Netflix
  • Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, HBO (2018 Winner in Category)
  • Late Night with Seth Meyers, NBC
  • The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, CBS


  • Chernobyl, HBO
  • Deadwood: The Movie, HBO
  • Escape at Dannemora, Showtime
  • Fosse/Verdon, FX
  • Sharp Objects, HBO
  • When They See Us, Netflix


  • Dead to Me, Netflix
  • The Other Two, Comedy Central
  • Pose, FX
  • Russian Doll, Netflix
  • Succession, HBO
  • What We Do in the Shadows, FX


  • Better Call Saul, AMC
  • The Good Fight, CBS All Access
  • Homecoming, Amazon
  • Killing Eve, BBC America
  • Pose, FX
  • Succession, HBO


  • Barry, HBO
  • Fleabag, Amazon
  • The Good Place, NBC (2018 Winner in Category)
  • The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Amazon
  • Russian Doll, Netflix
  • Schitt’s Creek, Pop TV
  • Veep, HBO (2014 Winner in Category)


  • Chernobyl, HBO
  • Fleabag, Amazon
  • Game of Thrones, HBO (2012 Winner in Category)
  • Pose, FX
  • Russian Doll, Netflix
  • When They See Us, Netflix

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About the author

  • Andy Dehnart is the creator of reality blurred and a writer and teacher who obsessively and critically covers reality TV and unscripted entertainment, focusing on how it’s made and what it means.


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