The CableACE Award (earlier known as the ACE Awards; ACE was an acronym for Award for Cable Excellence) was an award that was given from 1978 to 1997 to honor excellence in American cable television programming.
It was created by the National Cable Television Association to serve as a cable television counterpart to the Primetime Emmy Awards, which, before their 40th ceremony in 1988, did not recognize cable programming. The actual trophy was a large trophy made of glass blown and cut into the shape of the Ace of Spades. By 1997, the Emmys had long included cable television programming, making the CableACEs redundant. In April 1998, NCTA members voted to end the ceremony as cable programming began to meet parity, and eventually to the present day, overtake broadcast competition within the categories of the Primetime Emmys.
At one time, the live awards show was carried in a simulcast of as many as twelve cable networks in some years. The last few years found the ceremony awarded solely to one network, usually Lifetime or TBS.
Professionals in the television industry were randomly selected to be judges. A Universal City hotel would be selected, where several rooms would be rented for the day. Individual rooms would be designated for each award category. Judges were discouraged from leaving the rooms at any time during the day-long judging. There were usually 8 to 12 judges for each category. Depending on the submissions being presented, facilitators would play anywhere from 10 minutes per show - to the entire show - for the judges' award consideration. Judges would mark their ballots privately and were told to not discuss their selections with other judges. The awards standard tallying by a certified public accounting firm was done to keep the results of the ballot secret until the time of the announcement of the award's winner.