Peabody Awards Announced

peabodyawards.jpgThe 2005 Peabody Awards were announced this morning, with a strong emphasis on the reporting of local Gulf Coast stations.

Full release and award listing after the jump.

The awards will be presented June 5 in New York by Jon Stewart.

Jon Stewart to host Awards Ceremony on June 5 at New York City’s
Waldorf-Astoria HotelCENTER>

ATHENS, Ga., April 5 /PRNewswire/ — The winners of the 65th Annual Peabody Awards were announced today by the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. The winners, chosen by the Peabody board as the best in electronic media for 2005, were named in a ceremony in the Peabody Gallery on the University of Georgia Campus.

The Peabody recipients — from three continents and in seven languages — reflect the international scope of the competition. They range from television stations in Biloxi, Miss., and New Orleans, La., that provided heroic coverage of Hurricane Katrina’s devastating landfall and aftermath, to “Yesterday,” a South African film that personalized the continent’s AIDS crisis. They include a Spanish documentary about China, the dramatic serials “Battlestar Galactica” and “Bleak House,” Martin Scorsese’s “No Direction Home — Bob Dylan,” and WNYC’s Radio Rookies Project, which enables young people to find voices on radio. Multiple citations were awarded to HBO, the BBC and WGBH-Boston.

The awards will be presented June 5 at a luncheon at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City. Jon Stewart, anchor of Comedy Central’s two-time Peabody Award winner, “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” will be the master of ceremonies.

“As is the case every year, submissions for consideration by the Peabody Board provide insight into the astonishing array of electronic media productions,” said Horace Newcomb, Director of the Peabody Awards. “These are the works self-selected by creators and producers as their very best work from the previous calendar year. This year’s Peabody Award recipients stand as hallmarks of excellence in news, documentary, comedy, drama, education and public service.”

“Battlestar Galactica,” a drama about a war-ravaged, homeless civilization attempting to begin anew, gave SCI FI Channel its first Peabody victory. Also new to the winners’ circle were two other basic-cable channels. FX Networks won for the intense police serial “The Shield” and Sundance Channel for presenting “The Staircase,” French filmmaker Jean Xavier de Lestrade’s eight-part documentary about a North Carolina murder case.

In addition to “The Shield” and “Battlestar,” three other entertainment series with devout followings got nods from the Peabody judges. They were “House,” a FOX medical drama about a brilliant, misanthropic diagnostician; ABC’s “Boston Legal,” a David E. Kelley dramedy that uses a blue-chip Beantown law firm’s civil cases as springboards to comment about issues from the death penalty to credit-card companies’ predatory practices to morning-after contraceptives; and “South Park,” Comedy Central’s notoriously rude, undeniably fearless lampoon of all that is self-important and hypocritical in American life, regardless of race, creed, color or celebrity status.

International winners also included CBC/Radio-Canada for “What If Winter Never Comes? (Et si l’hiver ne venait plus?),” a report on how global warming is affecting the Arctic and the Inuit people who live there; Madrid’s TVE, for
“China: A Million Steps Ahead,” which dealt with that country’s staggering rural-to-urban shift; and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation for its ear-opening, eight-part radio documentary “The Wire: The Impact of Electricity on Music.”

Various arms of the British Broadcast Corporation received Peabodys. The BBC won for “This World BBC: Bad Medicine,” a brave investigation of international trafficking in fake drugs,” and as co-producer with WGBH of an exemplary dramatization of Charles Dickens’ “Bleak House.” The BBC Factual and Learning department, in partnership with the Drama division, were honored for “BBC DoNation Season: Life on the List,” a multi-media campaign to encourage organ donations. BBC America’s winner was “Viva Blackpool,” a musical drama both grittily and giddily creative.

HBO’s versatility was similarly demonstrated by its wins for the South African-produced film “Yesterday”; a documentary, “Children of Beslan,” a co-production with the BBC about the aftermath of terrorists’ taking a Russian elementary school hostage in September 2004; and its “Classical Baby,” an inventive, whimsical marriage of animation to classical music.

For the second consecutive year Showtime received an award for an original movie. “Edge of America,” based on real incidents, illuminated two minority cultures with its story of an African-American teacher-coach taking a job at an American Indian-reservation school in Utah.

Local TV stations scored four 2005 Peabodys. WWL and WLOX, the broadcasters in New Orleans and Biloxi, respectively, were cited for their comprehensive Hurricane Katrina coverage. KNBC-TV in Burbank, Calif., won for “Burning Questions,” its investigative series about an apartment development built on a toxic and potentially flammable site. And KCNC-TV in Denver won for “How Far Will the Army Go?,” an unusual expose that incorporated a teen journalist’s hidden-camera footage of desperate Army recruiters explaining how to forge a diploma and beat a drug test. Peabody judges called it “funny and frightening at the same time.”

The challenge of covering Katrina also brought out the best in two national news organizations. “NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams” and CNN both were awarded Peabodys for their multifaceted efforts.

The array of worthy documentaries was again diverse and impressive. The “American Experience” installment, “Two Days in October,” juxtaposed pivotal, parallel incidents in Vietnam and Wisconsin in 1967. “P.O.V.: Chisholm ’72: Unbought & Unbossed” recalled the campaign of Shirley Chisholm, our first female presidential contender. “Save Our History: Voices of Civil Rights,” a simple, moving History Channel special, collected ordinary Americans’ memories of the struggle. “The Queen of Trees,” a magnificent nature film, profiled an African sycamore fig, an eco-system in and of itself.

Other nonfiction winners included “A Room Nearby,” an ITVS-financed meditation on loneliness that turned soul-baring interviews into animated shorts, and “15% of the United States,” a public-service investigation by KMEX Univision 34 in Los Angeles that reminded viewers of Latinos’ diverse roles in and contributions to the United States. WNYC-New York’s “Radio Rookies” demonstrated that there’s no better way to understand how teenagers see the world than to go directly to the source and hand them tape recorders. “A Place of Our Own,” from KCET in Los Angeles, was a unique bi-lingual effort to help parents and childcare workers better understand how kids develop emotionally and socially. It included outreach workshops, web sites and 120 instructional telecasts, 60 in Spanish, 60 in English.

No documentary was more entertaining than Thirteen/WNET’s “No Direction Home — Bob Dylan,” a four-hour, two-part “American Masters” fashioned by award-winning movie director Martin Scorsese from a trove of archival interviews, home-movie footage and concert film provided by the chameleon-like singer-songwriter himself. Even Peabody board members who confessed they’d never “got” Dylan said that Scorsese opened their eyes and/or ears.

The Peabody Board is a 16-member group, comprised of television critics, broadcast and cable industry executives and experts in culture and the arts, that judges the entries. Selection is made by the board following review by special screening committees of UGA faculty, students and staff.

The Peabody Awards, the oldest honor in electronic media, do not recognize categories nor is there a set number of awards given each year. Today the Peabody recognizes distinguished achievement and meritorious public service by stations, networks, producing organizations and individuals.

All entries become a permanent part of the Peabody Archive in the University of Georgia Libraries. The collection is one of the nation’s oldest, largest and most respected moving-image archives. For more information about the Peabody Archive or the Peabody Awards, visit

2005 Peabody Winners

Hurricane Katrina WLOX-TV, Biloxi, MS
Hurricane Katrina ripped the roof off WLOX’s newsroom, toppled one of its
transmitting towers and destroyed two of its bureaus, yet courageous employees
of the station broadcast 12 consecutive days of life-saving news and
information to its storm-shocked Gulf Coast viewers. WLOX-TV.

Preparation and Coverage of Hurricane Katrina WWL-TV, New Orleans, LA
From pre-storm advisories to investigative reports on why the levees
failed, WWL’s coverage of Hurricane Katrina began two days before the storm
battered and swamped New Orleans and continued, unbroken, thanks to careful
pre-planning and dedicated personnel, 99 percent of whom stayed on the job.

NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams: After the Storm: The Long Road Back
NBC’s stated goal was to cover the aftermath of Katrina “with as many
resources and as much time and intensity” as it had devoted to the 9/11
terrorist attacks. This commitment on the part of a broadcast network
resulted in extraordinary coverage and analysis. NBC Nightly News with Brian

CNN Coverage of Hurricane Katrina and Aftermath CNN
No other national, 24-hour news service provided more essential, up-to-
the-minute information for viewers, listeners and online users. CNN’s
continuous live coverage became a go-to channel for the most current news
about Katrina and its effects. CNN.

China: A Million Steps Ahead TVE, Madrid, Spain
More than 100 million Chinese have moved from the countryside to cities in
the past 10 years. The documentary gets both the big picture and smaller,
personal stories of miraculous, historically unprecedented cultural and
economic shifts. TVE.

American Experience: Two Days in October PBS
This extraordinary installment of WGBH Educational Foundation’s “American
Experience” juxtaposed concurrent 1967 events — the ambush of an American
battalion by Viet Cong and a student protest in Wisconsin — to illuminate a
turning point in the Vietnam War. Robert Kenner Films, WGBH Educational
Foundation, Wisconsin Public Television, Playtone, BBC.

This World BBC: Bad Medicine BBC 2
Resourceful, physical risk-taking reporting about a Nigerian doctor’s
crusade against counterfeit drugs illuminates an international scourge that
extends to industrialized nations as well as the Third World. BBC.

P.O.V.: Chisholm ’72: Unbought & Unbossed PBS
Not just a lively remembrance of Shirley Chisholm, the United States’
first female presidential candidate, this documentary is also a thoughtful
analysis of the viability of third-party candidates. P.O.V./American
Documentary Inc., Independent Television Service, Realside Productions.

Boston Legal ABC
David E. Kelley’s series about a blue-chip Boston law firm somersaults
from comedy to drama to stinging political commentary with acrobatic assurance
and undisguised glee. David E. Kelley Productions in association with 20th
Century Fox Organization.

House Fox
An unorthodox lead character — a misanthropic diagnostician fond of
saying humanity is “overrated” — and cases fit for a medical Sherlock Holmes
have helped make “House” the most distinctive new doctor drama in a decade.
Heel and Toe Films, Shore Z Productions, Bad Hat Harry Productions, NBC
Universal Television Studio.

Edge of America Showtime
Inspired by the true story of an African-American teacher-coach at a
Native American reservation in Utah, “Edge of America” mines an atypical
culture clash for insight into two marginalized minorities. Showtime, Red
House Entertainment.

South Park Comedy Central
Primitive animation is part of the charm of TV’s boldest, most politically
incorrect satirical series. Its simple style also makes possible the show’s
unmatched topicality. Comedy Central.

American Masters: No Direction Home — Bob Dylan PBS
Pulling together never-before-seen archival footage and interviews,
director Martin Scorsese creates an artful and intimate portrait of the poet,
jester and raspy voice of his generation as we’re ever likely to see or hear.
Don’t think twice, it’s all right. Thirteen/WNET New York, Grey Water Park
Productions, Spitfire Pictures, Cappa/DeFina Productions in co-production with
Vulcan Productions, BBC/Arena, and NHK.

The Wire: The Impact of Electricity on Music Canadian Broadcasting
Audio dynamite, this consistently surprising eight-part radio series
explores how electricity changed — and continues to change — how we hear
music, how we play it, even what we think it is or can be. Canadian
Broadcasting Corporation.

BBC DoNation Season: Life on the List BBC
Public service campaigns rarely combine the potential and power of
electronic media — TV, radio, online, interactive — in ways as effective as
this concerted appeal for organ donors. British Broadcasting Corporation —
Factual and Learning and Drama.

Classical Baby HBO
This whimsical, charming, deceptively simple marriage of animation to the
music of Tchaikovsky, Bach and Ellington becomes an interactive treat for
young children and parents alike. HBO Family.

A Room Nearby PBS
Five people’s tales of their lonely lives become the soundtracks for
idiosyncratic animated vignettes. Peabody board members called it “a beautiful
gift.” Independent Television Service.

Burning Questions KNBC-TV, Los Angeles, CA
KNBC-TV’s four-part investigative series confirmed health and safety
concerns about a multi-acre commercial-residential development built on a site
that includes a leaking subterranean gas reservoir. KNBC-TV.

How Far Will the Army Go? KCNC-TV, Denver, CO
An enterprising high-school journalist and KCNC-TV teamed up to document
U.S. Army recruiters helping a prospective recruit to forge a diploma and beat
a drug test. KCNC-TV.

A Place of Our Own (Los Ninon en Su Casa) KCET-TV, Los Angeles, CA
This public-service project, designed to provide parents and child-care
providers with information about helping kindergarteners develop social,
emotional and cognitive skills, included daily TV programs and web sites in
Spanish and English and more than 200 bi-lingual outreach workshops. KCET/Los
Angeles in association with Sesame Workshop and 44 Blue Productions Inc.

Radio Rookies Project WNYC Radio, New York
Teenaged reporters pick up microphones and let down their guards in this
series of remarkably immediate and illuminating first-person dispatches. WNYC
Radio/Radio Rookies.

15% of the United States KMEX-Univision 34, Los Angeles, CA
Inspired by the book “La Nueva California, Latinos in the Golden State,”
KMEX-Univision 34’s 19-part series examined the past, present and future of
the Latino community, revealing diversity and contributions far beyond the
usual television depictions. KMEX-Univision 34.

Save Our History: Voices of Civil Rights The History Channel
Not a professor or celebrity in sight. Just men and women, white as well
as black, recalling their personal experience of “the movement.” The History
Channel special was eloquent, moving, invaluable. Documania Films, Sierra
Tango Productions, The History Channel.

What If Winter Never Comes? (Et si l’hiver ne venait plus?) CBC/Radio-
From the frontlines of global warming, the Arctic, this report brought
listeners voices of native people, the Inuit, whose way of life is literally
melting away. Deftly employed ambient sound enhanced the piece’s power. La
Premiere Chaine (French Radio Network) — CBC/Radio-Canada.

Viva Blackpool BBC America
What would have been at minimum an engrossing tale of ambition, greed and
corruption in a depressed seaside city looking to gambling for salvation
becomes, with the addition of a song score of pop-music classics and
ingeniously staged production numbers, a riveting, at times jaw-dropping
entertainment event. BBC America, BBC.

The Staircase Sundance Channel
A controversial murder case in Durham, N.C., is merely the backdrop for
the intimate, grippingly constructed eight-chapter documentary in which
director Jean-Xavier de Lestrade explores a complex defendant, his divided
family and his spare-no-expense defense. Maha Films.

Yesterday HBO
This starkly beautiful, heart-breaking movie from South Africa about a
young mother who is diagnosed with AIDS put an indelible face on a continent’s
massive crisis. A Distant Horizon/Videovision Entertainment Production in
association with Anant Singh, The Nelson Mandela Foundation, M-Net Exciting
Films and Video Foundation of South Africa in association with HBO Films.

The Queen of Trees BBC 2
Impeccable, creative cinematography aside, the wondrous thing about this
study of a single sycamore fig, Africa’s queen tree, is that it’s a microcosm
of the eco-complexity of the Earth at large. Deeble and Stone Productions,
NHK, Thirteen/WNET New York, Granada International, BBC, ZDF.

Children of Beslan HBO
Terrorists’ September 2004 siege of a Russian elementary school recalled
in the words of children ages 6 to 12 who survived it. The simplest and most
direct of several documentaries on the subject, and the most shattering. BBC
in association with HBO Documentary Films.

Bleak House BBC
“Absolutely compulsive viewing” said the Peabody board of this masterful,
faithful-yet-modern adaptation of Charles Dickens’ serial about a never-ending
London law suit. A BBC, WGBH-Boston co-production in association with Deep

The Shield FX
Riveting, densely layered adult entertainment — and more. No cop series
has posed harder questions than “The Shield” about how far we’re willing to
let law-enforcement officers go to keep us safe. Fox Television Studios in
association with Sony Pictures Television.

Battlestar Galactica SCI FI CHANNEL
A belated, brilliantly re-imagined revival of a so-so 1970s outer-space
saga, the series about imperiled survivors of a besieged planet has
revitalized sci-fi television with its parallax considerations of politics,
religion, sex, even what it means to be “human.” NBC Universal Television