Viewers for Quality Television (also called "VQT") was an American nonprofit organization (under 501(c)(3)) founded in 1984 to advocate network television series that members of the organization voted to be of the "highest quality." The group's goal was to rescue "...critically acclaimed programs from cancellation despite their Nielsen program rating." It was a participatory organization that was open to all interested viewers. The organization was dissolved in late 2000 due to financial problems.
The group's founder Dorothy Swanson started VQT to save the television show Cagney and Lacey from cancellation. The VQT presented an award each year called the "Q" Award, based on the votes of its members. Actors were nominated based on the group's judgement of the "quality" of the acting. Other programs supported by the group included St. Elsewhere, Designing Women, Frank's Place, Quantum Leap, Sports Night, and Party of Five.
Swanson dissolved VQT in 2000 after the organization's membership dropped to 1,000 members (down from a peak of 5,000 members), which reduced the funding for the organization. With the low membership and lack of funding, VQT was not able to put on its annual "Q" awards ceremony in Los Angeles. Swanson claims that she disbanded the organization to avoid the danger of "... the organization becom[ing] a shadow of its former self, whether under my direction or somebody else's."
List of Q Awards winners
Best Quality Drama Series:
Best Quality Comedy Series:
Best Recurring Player:
- Quality television – a term used by television scholars, television critics, and broadcasting advocacy groups to describe a genre or style of television programming that they subjectively argue is of higher quality, due to its subject matter or content.
Dorothy Swanson. The Story of Viewers for Quality Television: Grassroots to Prime Time (Syracuse University Press, 2000).
- "TV ACRES: Fans & Fanatics – Viewers of Quality Television (VQT)". Archived from the original on 2013-02-04. Retrieved 2004-09-19.
- Zap2it – TV news – Viewers For Quality Television Closes Shop