History of Teen Choice Awards

An awards show for teen viewers was the idea of Bob Bain and Michael Burg, who sought to target a youth demographic a bit older than those that were the focus of Nickelodeon’s Kids’ Choice Awards. Beginning in 1999, Fox has presented the Teen Choice Awards in honor of teen viewers’ picks for the year’s greatest achievements in film, TV, music, fashion, athletics, and beyond. The show is complete with celebrity appearances and musical performances with teen appeal for their voting audience ranging in age from 13-19.

In the years 1999 and 2000, the awards took place at Santa Monica Airport’s Barker Hangar. Since 2001, the show has taken place at the Gibson Amphitheatre located in Universal City, CA. Occasionally the show has a live broadcast, but more often it airs a day later. Each year, teens are invited to fill the stands as guests.

The Teen Choice Awards include 56 categories, among them honors for:

• Film – The basic Choice (Best) Movie categories for various genres to honor actors, actresses, and movies themselves in Action, Drama, Romantic Comedy, Thriller, Comedy, Fantasy, Animation, and Sci-Fi, along with additional movie awards for Choice Breakout Male, Choice Breakout Female, Choice Fight, Choice Kiss, Choice Villain, and Choice Hissy Fit

• Television – The basic Choice Show categories for various genres to honor actors, actresses, participants and shows themselves in Drama, Action/Adventure, Comedy, Reality, Reality Competition, Late Night, and Animation, along with additional television awards for Choice Breakout Series, Choice Actor/Actress Breakout, Choice Parental Unit, Choice Sidekick, Choice Villain, Choice Personality, and Choice Female/Male Scene Stealer

• Music – The basic music categories including “choice” artists and albums in various genres, along with Choice Breakout Artist Male/Female and more off-beat categories like Choice Love Song, Choice Hook Up Song, Choice Tour, and Choice Soundtrack.

• Summer – Honors for summer’s choice song, choice movies in various genres, choice film and television actors and actresses, and Choice Summer Hissy Fit

• Miscellaneous categories including Choice Hottie Male/Female, Choice Red Carpet Icon Male/Female, Choice Web Star, Choice Twit Award, Choice Fab-u-lous!, Choice Fanatic Fans, and Choice Smile

When the show began, ballots were placed in teen magazines, from which readers could remove them and mail in their votes. Another option was to cast their votes using online ballots found at Fox.com; but in 2008, Fox launched an official Teen Choice Awards website through which votes could be cast instead. In addition, during the same year, a Twitter page appeared for “teenchoicegirl” who keeps fans abreast of the later TCA news. (The real-life “teenchoicegirl” is a teen-aged intern who is working on the show.) To date, “teenchoicegirl” has over 48,000 followers, and over 80 million votes are cast to determine annual Teen Choice Award winners.

Rather than receiving trophies or crystal awards to carry home for their honors, winners are bestowed with authentic custom made mini surfboards, 182 centimenters in length, which are decorated with a different summertime theme each year and cost over $800 each to produce. The boards are meant to symbolize the universal freedom that summer vacation brings to all teens – surfers and non-surfers alike.

Among critics of the Teen Choice Awards is the Parents Television Council, which condemns the awards show for promoting and glorifying inappropriate material and role models for youth audiences. Their complaints include honors awarded to R-rated films, risque performances of sexual music releases, sex and drug related humor from the hosts, and contradictory messages from celebrities that glorify misbehavior that they later inform teens that they should not engage in. Critics accuse the show of simply offering yet another venue for promoting their latest material to impressionable teenagers, which, according to these critics and concerned parents, only view young people as means of generating more sales and earning more wealth.

The author of this article is 10 year veteran in the crystal awards and recognition gifts industry.