Skip to Content

The 8 reality shows TV critics nominated for a TCA Award

The 8 reality shows TV critics nominated for a TCA Award
Dr. Orna Guralnik on Couples Therapy (Photo via Showtime)

The Television Critics Association just announced the nominees for its 37th annual TCA Awards, which include eight reality shows, as the nominations have been expanded to eight shows or people in each category.

While there is a dedicated reality TV category, four documentary series were nominated alongside news programs and specials in the News and Information category: HBO’s Allen v. Farrow, National Geographic’s City So Real, FX’s Framing Britney Spears, and HBO’s I’ll Be Gone in the Dark.

Three of those four series—all except I’ll Be Gone in the Dark—were among the Emmy-nominated reality shows this year, as were Top Chef: Portland and Nailed It. (TCA voting took place well before the Emmy nominations were announced.) While Padma Lakshmi wasn’t nominated as an individual, the two shows she hosted last year are both nominated.

Here are the shows nominated for outstanding achievement in reality television:

  1. Couples Therapy, Showtime
  2. Deaf U, Netflix
  3. The Great Pottery Throw Down, HBO Max
  4. Legendary, HBO Max
  5. Nailed It! Double Trouble, Netflix
  6. The Real World Homecoming: New York, Paramount+
  7. Taste the Nation, Hulu
  8. Top Chef: Portland, Bravo

This is such a great list! Past reality TV winners have mostly been great choices, but I think this may be our strongest group of nominees ever. I particularly love how many subgenres are represented here: from soapy reality to competition to travel documentary. I honestly have no idea how I will vote, because I can make an argument for each of those shows and/or seasons.

Full disclosure: I’m on the board of directors for the Television Critics Association, currently serving as acting secretary, and help coordinate the awards process. But I participate in the nomination and voting process as a member, and have the same one vote as everyone else in the organization.

All the other 2021 TCA Award nominees

TCA Television Critics Association

Here’s the full list of TCA Award nominees. There are two categories in which the TCA gives awards but are not listed here: the Heritage Award, to a show that’s been off the air for at least five years, and the Career Achievement award. Nominees are not announced for those two categories, but the winners will be announced in September.

Individual Achievement in Drama

  • Michaela Coel, “I May Destroy You” – HBO
  • Ethan Hawke, “The Good Lord Bird” – Showtime
  • Thuso Mbedu, “The Underground Railroad” – Amazon
  • Elizabeth Olsen, “WandaVision” – Disney+
  • Mj Rodriguez, “Pose” – FX
  • Omar Sy, “Lupin” – Netflix
  • Anya Taylor-Joy, “The Queen’s Gambit” – Netflix
  • Kate Winslet, “Mare of Easttown” – HBO

Individual Achievement in Comedy

  • Bo Burnham, “Bo Burnham: Inside” – Netflix
  • Kaley Cuoco, “The Flight Attendant” – HBO Max
  • Maya Erskine, “Pen15” – Hulu
  • Renee Elise Goldsberry, “Girls5Eva” – Peacock
  • Charlotte Nicdao, “Mythic Quest” – Apple TV+
  • Jean Smart, “Hacks” – HBO Max
  • Jason Sudeikis, “Ted Lasso” – Apple TV+
  • Hannah Waddingham, “Ted Lasso” – Apple TV+

Outstanding Achievement in News and Information

  • “Allen v. Farrow” – HBO
  • “City So Real” – NatGeo
  • “Framing Britney Spears” – FX/FX On Hulu
  • “Frontline” – PBS
  • “I’ll Be Gone in the Dark” – HBO
  • “Oprah with Meghan and Harry: A CBS Primetime Special” – CBS
  • “The Rachel Maddow Show” – MSNBC
  • “60 Minutes” – CBS

Outstanding Achievement in Youth Programming

  • “The Baby-Sitters Club” – Netflix
  • “Bluey” – Disney Jr.
  • “Donkey Hodie” – PBS Kids
  • “Emily’s Wonder Lab” – Netflix
  • “Odd Squad” – PBS Kids
  • “Sesame Street” – HBO
  • “Waffles + Mochi” – Netflix
  • “Xavier Riddle and the Secret Museum” – PBS Kids

Outstanding Achievement in Movies, Miniseries, or Specials

  • “Bo Burnham: Inside” – Netflix
  • “The Good Lord Bird” – Showtime
  • “I May Destroy You” – HBO
  • “It’s a Sin” – HBO Max
  • “Mare of Easttown” – HBO
  • “The Queen’s Gambit” – Netflix
  • “The Underground Railroad” – Amazon
  • “WandaVision” – Disney+

Outstanding Achievement in Drama

  • “Bridgerton” – Netflix
  • “The Crown” – Netflix
  • “For All Mankind” – Apple TV+
  • “The Handmaid’s Tale” – Hulu
  • “Lovecraft Country” – HBO
  • “The Mandalorian” – Disney+
  • “Pose” – FX
  • “P-Valley” – Starz

Outstanding Achievement in Comedy

  • “The Flight Attendant” – HBO Max
  • “Girls5Eva” – Peacock
  • “Hacks” – HBO Max
  • “Mythic Quest” – Apple TV+
  • “Pen15” – Hulu
  • “Superstore” – NBC
  • “Ted Lasso” – Apple TV+
  • “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist” – NBC

Outstanding Achievement in Variety, Talk, or Sketch

  • “The Amber Ruffin Show” – Peacock
  • “A Black Lady Sketch Show” – HBO
  • “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah” – Comedy Central
  • “Desus & Mero” – Showtime
  • “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” – HBO
  • “Late Night with Seth Meyers” – NBC
  • “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” – CBS
  • “Saturday Night Live” – NBC
  • “Ziwe” – Showtime

Outstanding New Program

  • “Bridgerton” – Netflix
  • “The Flight Attendant” – HBO Max
  • “Hacks” – HBO Max
  • “I May Destroy You” – HBO
  • “Mare of Easttown” – HBO
  • “P-Valley” – Starz
  • “Ted Lasso” – Apple TV+
  • “WandaVision” – Disney+

Program of the Year

  • “Bridgerton” – Netflix
  • “Hacks” – HBO Max
  • “I May Destroy You” – HBO
  • “Mare of Easttown” – HBO
  • “The Queen’s Gambit” – Netflix
  • “Ted Lasso” – Apple TV+
  • “The Underground Railroad” – Amazon
  • “WandaVision” – Disney+

All reality blurred content is independently selected, including links to products or services. However, if you buy something after clicking an affiliate link, I may earn a commission, which helps support reality blurred. Learn more.

More great stories

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.


I value our community at reality blurred, which connects people through open and thoughtful conversations about the TV we’re watching and the stories about it.

Comment rules: My goal is for us to be able to share our perspectives and exchange ideas in a welcoming, supportive space. That’s why I’ve created these rules for commenting here. By commenting below, you confirm that you’ve read and agree to them.

Happy discussing!