The Big Ballot was an awards event that aired over four episodes of Nickelodeon's movie review program, Rated K: For Kids By Kids from March 28-April 18, 1987, taking place alongside the shows typical movie reviews, and is considered the predecessor to the Kids' Choice Awards. Unlike the KCAs, the show was less of a televised live event, and more of a pre-produced program. The in-studio hosts for the show were Matt Nespole, Rebecca Schwager, and Mark Shanahan, the hosts of Rated K: For Kids By Kids. The program was sponsored by Bonkers fruit chews and Post Cereal.

Presenters, performers, and format


  • Matt Nespole
  • Rebecca Schwager
  • Mark Shanahan

History and formats

The show was conceived as a way to "honor kids' opinions about movies and television", furthering Nickelodeon's campaign at the time of being a network that was "for kids, by kids". Ballots for the show's awards were cast via mail, and then the winners would tape a thank you video that was shown during the program. These videos were introduced, and broken up by "link" segments, featuring the Rated K cast. While The Big Ballot was seen as a success, producers Alan Goodman, Albie Hecht, and Fred Seibert were brought in to rebrand and re-launch the award show the following year, modeling future KCA's after MTV's Video Music Awards, which was under the same banner network umbrella now that Nickelodeon had been purchased by Viacom.


Below is a complete list of nominees and a partial list of winners. Winners are highlighted in bold.


The winners for the movie categories were announced on March 28, 1987.

Favorite Movie Favorite Movie Actor Favorite Movie Actress
  • The Karate Kid Part II
  • Top Gun
  • Crocodile Dundee
  • Eddie Murphy
  • Tom Cruise – Top Gun as Pete "Maverick" Mitchell
  • Tom Hanks


The winners for the television categories were announced on April 4, 1987.

Favorite TV Show Favorite TV Actor Favorite TV Actress
  • The Cosby Show
  • Moonlighting
  • Family Ties
  • Bill CosbyThe Cosby Show as Cliff Huxtable
  • Michael J. Fox – Family Ties as Alex P. Keaton
  • Kirk Cameron – Growing Pains as Mike Seaver
  • Kim Fields - The Facts of Life as Dorthy "Tootie" Ramsey
  • Tempestt Bledsoe - The Cosby Show as Vanessa Huxtable
  • Keshia Knight Pulliam - The Cosby Show as Rudy Huxtable


The winners for the music categories were announced on April 11, 1987.

Favorite Music Group Favorite Male Vocalist Favorite Female Vocalist
  • The Monkees
  • The Jets
  • Huey Lewis and the News
  • Phil Collins
  • Lionel Richie
  • Bruce Springsteen


The winners for the sports categories were announced on April 18, 1987.

Favorite Sports Team Favorite Male Athlete Favorite Female Athlete
  • Chicago Bears
  • Los Angeles Lakers
  • New York Mets
  • Michael Jordan
  • Jim McMahon
  • Darryl Strawberry
  • Valerie Brisco-Hooks
  • Chris Evert
  • Debi Thomas
Timeline 1988 >>