CBS, ABC, PBS Lead List of Peabody Award Winners

By Merrill Knox 

With two awards each, CBS News, ABC News and PBS led the way in George Foster Peabody Awards this year.

Both of CBS’ awards were for “60 Minutes” reports — “Deception at Duke,” an examination of the failure of an experimental cancer treatment at Duke University, and “Joy in the Congo,” a report about a Congolese orchestra that “sounded a note of hope for a war-ravaged nation.”

ABC News won for coverage of Hurricane Sandy and for “Robin’s Journey,” reports on Robin Roberts’ MDS that “inspired hundreds of potential  bone marrow donors to register.”


PBS also won two awards, for an eight-part examination of poverty through the ages and for a report on a nomadic family in Tibet.

CNN, Univision and Al Jazeera also won Peabodys. CNN won for its coverage of the civil war in Syria and Al Jazeera won for a documentary about a Palestinian teenager evicted from East Jerusalem. Univision won for “Rapido y Furioso,” a piece about the human impact of the ATF’s gun-tracking program.

See the full list of winners, who will be honored in New York City in May at an event emceed by CBS’ Scott Pelley, after the jump.


“Under Fire: Journalists in Combat” (Documentary Channel HD)

JUF Pictures Inc., Documentary Channel, Canada

A fascinating exploration of the mentality of war-zone reporters and the toll their dangerous, chosen work can have on them.

“Why Poverty?” (PBS)

Steps International

Eight films, each distinctive in tone and style, give us parallax views of poverty today and through the ages.

“MLK: The Assassination Tapes” (Smithsonian Channel)

1895 Films for Smithsonian Channel

Painstakingly configured from rare footage collected at the University of Memphis in 1968, the documentary relives the events leading up to the murder of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and its aftermath.

“Reel Time: Salat” (Bone Dry) (GMA News TV)

GMA Network Inc. (GMA News TV)

This unflinching portrait of a widow with six mouths to feed personifies a brutal statistic: two out of 10 Filipino children are malnourished.

“Sheikh Jarrah, My Neighborhood” (Al Jazeera)

Al Jazeera, Just Vision

A Palestinian teenager whose family is evicted from an East Jerusalem neighborhood by Israeli settlers finds unexpected allies in this honest, hopeful documentary.

“The Loving Story” (HBO)

Augusta Films and HBO Documentary Films with the support of the National Endowment for the Humanities

A fresh, poignant reconsideration of the now almost unthinkable arrest and prosecution of Richard and Mildred Loving in 1958 for the “crime” of interracial marriage.

“Marina Abramović: The Artist is Present” (HBO)

Show of Force, Mudpuppy Films and HBO Documentary Films

Like the “godmother of performance art” herself, this film about Abramović and her Museum of Modern Art. The retrospective is performative, challenging and provocative.

“Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields: War Crimes Unpunished” (Channel 4, U.K.)

ITN Productions for Channel 4 Television, U.K

Combining amateur film and “trophy” videos with the results of a three-year reporting effort, the filmmakers document the civilian death toll–as high as 40,000–of Sri Lanka’s civil war.

“Exposure: The Other Side of Jimmy Savile” (ITV1)

ITV Studios and

“Exposure: Banaz: An Honour Killing” (ITV)

Hardcash Productions/Fuuse Films

A hard-hitting pair of ITV films examines two different cultural horrors in Great Britain, the first the predatory sexual perversity of beloved TV icon, the second the murder of an independent-minded Kurdish-British girl by her own family.

“Putin, Russia and The West” (BBC2 UK)

Brook Lapping Productions, National Geographic Channel U.S.

How a former KGB spy made himself the Czar in the Grey Flannel Suit–and what his reign has meant for the U.S. and Europe–is detailed in this monumental four-part documentary.

“Independent Lens: Summer Pasture” (PBS)

True-Walker Productions, Independent Television Service

A rare account of Tibet from the inside, this unhurried, quietly powerful film focuses on one nomadic family and through them illuminates an entire culture’s struggle with nature’s hardships and China’s oppression.

“Ford Escape: Exposing a Deadly Defect” (KNXV-TV, Phoenix)

KNXV-TV/ABC 15 News, E.W. Scripps Company

Investigating a teenager’s car-crash death, KNXV’s five-month investigation revealed an acceleration problem that inspired a federal inquiry and the recall of more than 700,000 SUVs.

“Deception at Duke” (CBS)

CBS News, “60 Minutes”

This meticulous “60 Minutes” report documented the failure and possible fraud behind a much ballyhooed experimental cancer treatment by a Duke University doctor.

“Superstorm Sandy” (ABC)

ABC News

ABC’s exemplary coverage of the monster storm was enabled by the 20-20 foresight with which it deployed its journalistic resources, including embedding a reporting team with a family in Breezy Point, New York.

“Investigating the IRS” (WTHR-TV)

WTHR-TV, Indianapolis

WTHR’s station’s stunning investigation exposed not only how illegal immigrants were bilking billions in tax refunds from the Internal Revenue Service but also how the IRS had known of the scamming and failed to stop it.

“Joy in the Congo” (CBS)

CBS News, “60 Minutes”

This beautiful, inspirational report about Orchestre Symphonique Kimbanguiste, a Congolese orchestra and chorale with 200 members, sounded a note of hope for a war-ravaged nation.

“Investigating the Fire” (KMGH-TV)

KMGH-TV, Denver

After a controlled burn by the Colorado State Forest Service turned deadly, KMGH reporters uncovered mistakes and miscommunication that resulted in legislative changes that will compensate the victims and guard against future tragedies.

“Rapido y Furioso” (Fast and Furious) (Univision)

Univision Network

The scope and human impact of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and Explosives’ infamous, ill-conceived gun-tracking program was enlarged and made clearer by the Mexican perspective of Univsion’s exhaustive reporting.

“Breaking News: Tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School” (WVIT-TV)

WVIT-TV, West Hartford, Conn.

The first TV-news outlet to report the horrendous shooting spree at Sandy Hook, WVIT broadcast careful, comprehensive coverage that informed not only its own audience, but viewers around the country.

“CNN’s Coverage Inside Syria and Homs 2012” (CNN)


As political unrest in Syria disintegrated in civil war, CNN’s news teams provided unmatched eyewitness documentation, analysis and context.

“Southland” (TNT)

John Wells Production in association with Warner Bros Television

Shot on location in Los Angeles neighborhoods both posh and blighted, the show focuses on characters whose personalities have become more nuanced by the season. It’s a gritty, weekly ride-along, as convincing as cop drama gets.

“Switched at Birth” (ABC Family)

Prodco Inc. in association with ABC Family

What could be a reality-show premise–two families discovering their teenage daughters, one of whom is deaf, were switched at birth–is explored with honesty, imagination and humor in this superior family series.

“D.L. Hughley: The Endangered List” (Comedy Central)

Comedy Central, Five Timz Productions

In this provocative satirical documentary, the comedian goes on a crusade to get American black men the same EPA protections afforded snail darters.

“Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” (HBO)


Covering 2012 stories as diverse as fan-on-fan violence, NFL painkiller abuse and the lethal hazing of a Florida A&M drum major, Gumbel’s show continued to be one of TV’s finest news magazines, period.

“Game Change” (HBO)

Playtone Productions and Everyman Pictures in association with HBO Films

A behind-the-scenes account of what happened after John McCain picked Alaska’s charismatic, combative governor to be his running mate; it’s a story worthy of Euripides and Robert Ripley.

“Louie” (FX)

Pig Newton Inc., FX Productions

Louis C.K.’s self-reflective, shape-shifting series about a single, show-biz dad is daring and endearing, scandalous and sensitive, a milestone of comedic reach and candor.

“Girls” (HBO)

Aptow Prod and I am Jenni Konner Productions in association with HBO Entertainment

Creator/star Lena Dunham’s singular, decidedly unglamorous take on sex and the single girl and the city reverberates with anxiety, angst, insight and rueful humor.

“Syria 2012” (NPR)


Finding ways to get deep into Syria even after their official visas were revoked, NPR’s Kelly McEvers and Deborah Amos delivered detailed reportage, often from dangerous locations.

“Teen Contender” (NPR’s “All Things Considered”)

Radio Diaries

Vivid in its personal insights and ambient sound, this engaging radio diary documented the quest of 16-year-old Claressa Shields to box for the U.S. team in the 2012 Olympics.

This American Life: What Happened at Dos Erres” (WBEZ Radio)

WBEZ’s “This American Life,” Pro Publica, Fundacion MEPI

Though this masterful documentary illuminates a larger event, a Guatemalan civil-war massacre, its dramatic heart is the astounding story of a child survivor of the 1982 atrocity who learns the man he believed to be his father had in fact been commander of the military unit that wiped out most of his village.

“Inside the National Recording Registry” (WNYC/Public Radio International)

Media Mechanics, The Library of Congress

These are marvelous micro-documentaries, each one presenting a registry inductee–Vince Guaraldi’s “A Charlie Brown Christmas” score, for instance, or Professor Longhair’s “Tipitina”–and describing how and why it was chosen.

“The Leonard Lopate Show” (WNYC FM and AM)

WNYC Radio

Lopate presides over New York’s most revered radio forum for exploring the arts, cultural affairs and the public life of the city.

SCOTUSblog (


News, calendars, live updates, commentary–the website provides everything you ever wanted to know about the U.S. Supreme Court and its cases but didn’t know where to look.

Snow Fall: The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek (

The New York Times

A spectacular example of the potential of digital-age storytelling, the web site combines thorough traditional reporting of a deadly avalanche with stunning topographic video.

“Design Ah!” (NHK Educational Channel)

NHK Educational Corporation for NHK (Japanese Broadcasting Corporation)

Celebrating the joy of design, this minimalist, all but wordless series aims to help children perceive objects and ideas from different perspectives.

Lorne Michaels

A rare Individual Peabody goes Lorne Michaels because he’s the patron saint of satirical television comedy and, as one of his old co-conspirators would say, you’re not.

“Doctor Who” (BBC America)

The BBC Cymru Wales

Seemingly immortal, 50-years-old and still running, this engaging, imaginative sci-fi/fantasy series is awarded an Institutional Peabody for evolving with technology and the times like nothing else in the known television universe.

Michael Apted’s “Up” Series (ITV 1)

ITV Studios

Originally conceived to illustrate class immobility, the series that revisits the same group of British citizens every seven years, most recently in “56 Up,” has long since become more personal than political. Notable for its creator’s patience and its subjects’ humanity, the “Up” series receives an Institutional Peabody.

“Robin’s Journey” (ABC)

ABC News

By allowing her network to document and build a public service campaign around her battle with rare disease, Robin Roberts, “Good Morning America” co-anchor, inspired hundreds of potential bone marrow donors to register and heightened awareness of the need for even more donors.