40th College Television Awards Winners Unveiled

Winners were announced Saturday for the 40th College Television Awards, which recognize excellence in student-produced programs from colleges and universities nationwide. The Television Academy Foundation’s ceremony took place as a global livestream for the first time because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Top honors went to Balloon, from Christina Cha, Jeremy Merrifield and Dave Testa of the American Film Institute, which won both the Drama prize and the special Seymour Bricker Humanitarian Award, a $4,000 cash prize given to a winning project that best highlights a humanitarian concern.

AFI won a leading two of the eight total competitive awards tonight, with They Won’t Last from Richard C. Bailey, Brandon Gale and Portlynn Tagavi taking the Comedy prize.

Winners were announced with the help of remote presenters including Tichina Arnold, Melissa Barrera, Gabi Butler, Jimmy Fallon, Grant Gustin, Kelly McCreary, Ryan Michelle Bathe, Mishel Prada, Drew and Jonathan Scott, Yeardley Smith, and Shoshannah Stern. The program was hosted by CBS’ The Henry Ford’s Innovation Nation and IMDb’s on the Scene – Interviews correspondent Albert Lawrence. The livstream can be watched on demand at

The foundation previously arranged exclusive online events and webinars designed to educate, mentor and enhance professional development for nominees.

Here’s the complete list of winners:

Animation Series

Don’t Croak
Daun Kim (Ringling College of Art + Design)

Comedy Series

They Won’t Last
Richard C. Bailey, Brandon Gale and Portlynn Tagavi (American Film Institute)

Commercial, PSA or Promo

Miguel – Reebok
Jacob Benjamin Knudsen, Paul Monk, Pablo Isaak Perez and Bentley Rawle (Brigham Young University)

Drama Series

Christina Cha, Jeremy Merrifield and Dave Testa (American Film Institute)


Al Día: A Border Emergency
Viviana Borroel, Jessica Cardenas, Xochilt Lagunas, Stephanie Margarita La Vau, Maricela Perez, Tania Thorne, Dominic Torres and Regina Yurrita (California State University, Fullerton)

Nonfiction or Reality Series

Dirty Business
Yutao Chen and Francesca Fenzi (University of California, Berkeley)


Madison Riley Brown, Valerie Ferrante, Amanda Fuentes, Luis Gonzalez, David Perez and Justin Stevens (University of Miami)


Thursday Nite Live
Robin Deering, Benjamin Fletcher, Caroline Cuyler Lea, Brittany McGowan, Sean McNally, Seann David Morgan, Michael O’Rourke, Sydney Pastor Poe and Joe Reiter (Hofstra University)

The Loreen Arbus Focus on Disability Scholarship

Quinn Else and Marc Tarczali from the American Film Institute for Fort Irwin, a dramatic piece about an amputee veteran who confronts his past trauma. The $10,000 scholarship celebrates student storytellers whose work sheds light on people with disabilities and is underwritten by the Loreen Arbus Foundation.

The Seymour Bricker Humanitarian Award

A $4,000 cash prize given to a College Television Award-winning project that best highlights a humanitarian concern, was awarded to Christina Cha, Jeremy Merrifield and Dave Testa from the American Film Institute for Balloon. This award was created over two decades ago by the late entertainment attorney Seymour Bricker.

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