The Vampire Diaries star, who took the stage in a green Elie Saab dress, thanked the show's fans for their furious writing campaign to get her nominated.
"Wow guys," Dobrev said on accepting the award. "This is so great.
"I honestly wasn't even initially nominated at all," she continued. "I wasn't on the ballot.
"They caved in and gave me a nomination, and now I get to take this to Atlanta. Thank you everyone and thank you to the fans. I love you guys."
Dobrev then blew the audience a kiss as she left the stage.
The Vampire Diaries is also nominated for 'Favourite Sci-Fi/Fantasy Show' and 'Favourite TV Drama', while show star Ian Somerhalder is nominated for 'Favourite TV Drama Actor'.
Other early awards have gone to Emma Stone, who triumphed in the 'Favourite Actress' and 'Favourite Comedic Movie Actress' categories, and Glee's Lea Michele, who won the 'Favourite TV Comedy Actress' award.
Ellen DeGeneres has been named 'Favourite Daytime TV Host', while Neil Patrick Harris took home the award for 'Favourite TV Comedy Actor'.
More from the People's Choice Awards 2012:
> Betty White gets standing ovation at People's Choice Awards 2012
> Nathan Fillion wins 'Favourite TV Drama Actor' at 2012 PCAs
> 'Big Bang Theory' cast open People's Choice Awards 2012
> People's Choice Awards 2012 - The winners
Watch Nina Dobrev's People's Choice Awards acceptance speech below:
Browse a gallery of pictures from the ceremony below: