Reg Grundy

Award 2023


The Reg Grundy Award is back, giving every Aussie TV fan the chance to create their own unscripted show!

The AACTA Reg Grundy Award returns for its fourth year, offering $50k for the Australian with the best original idea for the nation’s next favourite unscripted television show. With the largest prize of its kind in the world, the Australian Academy in partnership with Grundy Media, is set to enhance its dedication to fostering emerging talents in screen entertainment and expediting the development of innovative and fresh productions.

This year’s winner will be determined by a returning panel of established TV production experts, including Debbie Cuell (Head of Sparkle Pictures), Steve Oemcke (Co-Founder of WTFN), Sharon Wheeler (Award-winning Senior Entertainment Executive), Marion Farrelly (speaker, consultant, creative strategist), and Ian Hogg (media CEO, advisor, Australian Idol, Australia’s Got Talent, Family Feud).

Reg Grundy was peerless in the creation and adaptation of entertainment formats for local audiences in Australia and across the world. This Award is inspired by Grundy’s hard work, visionary achievements and entrepreneurial spirit. His towering success in creating, adapting and producing entertainment formats spans decades and includes SALE OF THE CENTURY, WHEEL OF FORTUNEFAMILY FEUDTHE PRICE IS RIGHT and PERFECT MATCH. Grundy’s long-running dramas include SONS & DAUGHTERSPRISONER and NEIGHBOURS, which has become the longest-running drama series in Australian television and a launching pad for many top stars. There isn’t a current Australian producer who hasn’t been inspired by Reg Grundy’s prolific legacy. The AACTA Reg Grundy Award aims to continue his legacy and find the next great Australian television show.

“If not for Reg Grundy, global TV as we all know it today would not exist. He was a trailblazer and a visionary like no other. I was very fortunate to witness Reg Grundy’s creative and business genius first-hand,” said 2022 AACTA Reg Grundy Award Judge and Senior Television Executive Sharon Wheeler. “I’m thrilled to continue my involvement with this prestigious competition. As entertainment explodes across countless new global platforms, there’s never been a better time to foster new creators and bold formats in the spirit of Reg Grundy.”

Last month, we lost one of Reg’s biggest supports and beloved wife, Joy Chambers Grundy. Joy played a significant role in the establishment of this Award and believed in keeping Reg’s heritage of hard work and entrepreneurial spirit alive whilst fostering the next generation of brilliant and creative ideas. Despite the loss felt by the passing of Joy, the Award continues to strive towards inviting Australians from all walks of life and experience levels to pitch an idea that is not only original but also viable and possesses that unique Grundy 'magic.'

Last year’s Award came down to a dead heat between two of the finalists, with the Award going to both Rachel Kayrooz’s observational documentary series Facing the Fear, and Jayden James and George Harrington’s competition reality format Mr Wolf. The recipients captivated the judges, who saw potential for both concepts, leading to a joint win and a split of the prize money. Jayden’s work is currently receiving funding from AACTA to further develop the pitch for international agents and production houses, with many big names currently attached to his project. Rachel will soon shoot a proof of concept with the support of AACTA funding.

Think you have Australia’s favourite show on your hands? Round 1 entries are now open and call for your show's title, a logline (1-2 sentence description), and a synopsis of up to one page in length. Submissions are due by 5 pm AEDT on Monday, November 13, 2023.




Debbie Cuell is a creator and Executive producer of Documentary and Factual Entertainment programs.

In her recent role at Endemol Shine Australia Debbie looked after the slate of factual programs, including Old People’s Home For 4 Year Olds Series 1.Broadcast on the ABC, it touched the hearts of Australian viewers and shone a light on our often-forgotten older Australians. The series was critically acclaimed in Australia and internationally winning an AACTA for Best Documentary or Factual Program and the 2020 International Emmy Award for best Entertainment Program.

Debbie then went on to Develop and Executive Produce Series 2 of Old People’s Home For 4 Year Olds. It too critically acclaimed winning the 2021 AACTA for Best Documentary or Factual Program, and GRAND GOLD at the New York TV and Film Awards for Documentary Social Issues.

Debbie’s other recent credits include Look Me In The Eye SBS, One Born Every Minute TEN, Ambulance Australia Ten, Lost For Words SBS, Great Australian Spelling Bee TEN.

In her previous role in 2017 as Head of Entertainment at the ABC Debbie led a large national team and managed the production, and delivery of a mix of original content and formats, including Panel/Shiny Floor, Factual Entertainment, Observational Documentaries, and unscripted comedy.

In 2022 Debbie launched her production label “Sparkle Pictures” in an exclusive partnership with Dreamchaser.

Debbie is known for bringing integrity and heart to all that she produces.




Steve Oemcke has worked in the content industry for more than 30 years, beginning as a journalist and news reporter, before going on to present and host countless TV programs including ratings juggernaut Talk To The Animals, and Australia’s longest running game show Wheel Of Fortune. Twenty years ago, Steve co-founded highly regarded independent Australian production company WTFN, alongside industry stalwart Daryl Talbot. Known for its out-of-the-box thinking, WTFN had originated more than 60 series in that time. 

The company prides itself on mentoring new talent, with a reputation as a breeding ground for some of Australia’s most talented young content creators. 




Marion ‘Maz’ Farrelly, The CEO Whisperer, Speaker, Consultant, TV and Film Producer and Creative Strategist. If you’ve watched it, Maz probably made it and won an international award for it – the biggest brands in the world with the biggest teams, budgets and stars. She’s produced shows in London, LA and Australia – shows like BIG BROTHER, DANCING WITH THE STARS, THE X FACTOR, THE CELEBRITY APPRENTICE, and she co-created Q&A for the ABC. Maz has spent decades at the pointy end of the media and is a regular guest on podcasts and TV shows which are then picked up by the international press. Maz started her career as a magazine journalist and stylist in London, has been executive editor of Format Entertainment at the BBC UK London, Director of Television Content, Fremantle Media Australia & Creative Strategist for BBCWorld-Wide. Maz now runs Maz Speaks, a company which does one thing – makes sure you get attention for all the right reasons. Maz believes all business is show business, and to cut through in this listening-deficient society, you have to nail your first minute – nail that and you’re in business – literally.




Sharon Wheeler is an Award-winning Senior Entertainment Executive, who has created more than 30 original series and Executive Produced over 2,000 hours of unscripted programming. Her shows have been licensed and produced in dozens of territories. As founder and President of Wheeler/Sussman Productions based in Los Angeles, her hit original formats include: MTV’s SINGLED OUT, Fox’s EXTREME-DATING, THE LAST RESORT, TRIVIAL PURSUIT: AMERICA PLAYS, JUDGE ALEX and REUNION TOUR.

As part of Reg Grundy’s U.S. production operations, she helped develop and adapt Grundy International Series for American audiences, including PRISONER: CELL BLOCK H, IT’S A KNOCKOUT, SCRABBLE, MANN O’ MANN and QUESTIONS POUR UN CHAMPION.




Ian Hogg is an awarded Media Industry Leader, entrepreneur and philanthropist with a Global Career spanning four continents across 25 years. Most recently, he led Fremantle as the Regional CEO for Australia and Asia Pacific and sat on the Global Operating Board. He is a passionate believer in idea generation and execution, storytelling, creatives, creativity, disruption and the power of media to deliver a narrative that can make a real difference in an industry that cannot, and will never, stand still.



Wednesday 18 October – Entries open! Round one starts.
Let us know your show’s title, a logline (1 – 2 sentence description), and include a synopsis that’s up to 1 page long.

See this video for some advice from Australia’s leading television entertainment professionals!

Monday 13 November – Round 1 entries close

Entries close 5.00pm AEDT on Monday, 13 November 2023. 

Tuesday 14 November – Top 10 first round finalists confirmed  Round 2 starts

In the second round, we’ll be asking our top 10 entrants to send us a video of them pitching their idea (up to 3 minutes in length), a pitch deck - which is a presentation of up to 4 pages/slides in length that expands upon the idea and provides more detail and reference, and a one minute video describing themselves. See the video below for advice from Australia’s leading television entertainment professionals on creating a pitch deck.

Wednesday 29 November – Round 2 ends

Round 2 entries close 5.00pm AEDT on Wednesday, 29 November 2023. 

Wednesday 6 December – Top 5 finalists confirmed

Week commencing Thursday 7 December – Individual Pitch meetings
Our top 5 finalists will have a chance to pitch their idea directly to each of our judges privately and receive constructive feedback and advice. See the video below for advice on how to pitch!


Wednesday 13 December – The 2023 AACTA Reg Grundy Award Final will be held

Our top 5 finalists will have another chance to pitch – this time to the entire judging panel – and the person who has pitched the best idea will walk away with the $50,000 prize and a chance to see their idea become a reality.

8-11 February 2024 – Recipient announced at the 2024 AACTA Awards
AACTA Reg Grundy Award recipient is announced to the world!


  • Entry Fee $25 for AACTA Members $50 for non-members
  • Rules & Supporting Documents Terms & Conditions
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