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69th Annual Peabody Awards Announced: As Usual, Great Taste -- Honoring Great Shows
March 31, 2010  | By David Bianculli
 
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The University of Georgia's Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication just revealed the winners of its Peabody Awards for the best electronic media efforts in 2009 -- and, as usual, the Peabody panel has demonstrated a jaw-dropping combination of taste, breadth and depth. Glee made the cut. So did Modern Family, and Craig Ferguson, and a lot, lot more...

I can't tell you how much I'm impressed by, and grateful for, the selections made each year by the Peabody folks. But I'll try -- by pointing out just a few of this year's winners, and what's so wonderful about their being honored.

From its inception, the Peabody panels haven't been afraid to bestow its coveted honor on brand-new TV series, often giving them a major public-relations and audience boost, if not an outright lifeline. This year, Fox's Glee gets such a nod, and so does ABC's equally delightful Modern Family sitcom. Two fabulous, fresh shows.

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HBO's In Treatment, a daringly different, intimate drama, won a Peabody, too, recognizing not only superb performances, but the uniqueness of its serialized, conversational, subtle format. All three of these shows made my must-see weekly TiVo record list, and I'm glad they all got Peabodys.

Perhaps the year's most thrilling surprise is the Peabody given to The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. This CBS talk show has been endlessly creative, reinventing itself constantly and cleverly -- but the installment for which it won the Peabody was a bold left turn even by its own shifting standards. It was Ferguson's one-hour, one-on-one conversation with Archbishop Desmond Tutu, an eloquent, intriguing dialogue that put the talk back into talk show.

CRAIG-tutu-dance.jpgBut it's also cool that the Peabody panel recognized quality in the most narrowly focused of productions, and gave an award to the PBS Independent Lens installment called Between the Folds -- an hour on the history and practice of origami.

Also, the Peabodys aren't afraid to keep giving awards when veteran broadcasters keep earning them. 60 Minutes grabbed another few Peabodys for CBS, and Frontline and American Masters earned more for PBS. And how great is it that BBC America won one this year for its BBC World News America nightly newscast?

That goes, also, for one of ABC News' few prime-time hours worth honoring (which the Peabodys are doing), a documentary about needy Appalachian children that had echoes of Ed Murrow's Harvest of Shame.

It's not only that the Peabody people know quality when they see it... But they see it to begin with. The winners did great work. Once again, so did the Peabody people.

 

2 Comments

 

Neil said:

David, I was originally just going to write that you should have also included a link to the full list of awards (which is, BTW, http://www.peabody.uga.edu/news/event.php?id=66 ).

But having just reviewed this list, I don't think you gave the award recipients, or the Peabody selection panel, full due diligence.

This is an amazing list. Awards to the Sesame Street and NPR websites. Local awards to TV stations in Chicago, Houston, L.A. and San Francisco (the latter one for coverage I got to watch playing out in real time). Individual achievement awards to Diane Rehm and Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson, both of NPR. TWO awards to 60 Minutes. And an award to the HBO program In Treatment.

I know you focus on excellence in TV, not radio or websites, but I commend my fellow readers to follow the link and read the descriptions of all the awarded programs.

[I agree, the entire list is amazing. I focused only on some highlights that particularly excited me... but as I said, the depth and breadth of the choices is astounding. We're in full agreement here, and I should have provided the full link. Glad YOU did. -- David B.]

 

Comment posted on March 31, 2010 3:01 PM


Seeing the annual Peabody Awards is just another reason I'm proud to be a Grady Journalism graduate (even if I did end up working for the dark side - PR).

[Hey, in this economic climate, the only dark side is unemployment. Be paid, and be proud. -- David B.]

Comment posted on April 1, 2010 9:56 AM
 
 
 
 
 
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