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Nonprofit Press Release Theater: Peabody Awards Announced

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The University of Georgia has announced the annual George Foster Peabody Awards for broadcasting and media. The entertainment-TV winners include Breaking Bad and Lost (well-deserved), Saturday Night Live’s political satire (well-expected) and Entourage (well… wha?). Interestingly, the charges of sleight-of-hand at the Beijing Olympics’ opening ceremony did not prevent them from snaring a Peabody. The full list appears after the jump:



Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremony (NBC and Zhang Yimou)

NBC Olympics

An exponential magnification of what was once known in television as a “spectacular,” the Beijing opening ceremony was crafted and choreographed by creative director Zhang Yimou and directed for television by Bucky Gunts.


This American Life: The Giant Pool of Money (Public Radio International)

Chicago Public Radio’s This American Life, National Public Radio, News Division

The first-ever collaboration of “This American Life” and NPR’s news division, this report was impressive for the arresting clarity of its explanation of the financial crisis we’re in, and even more so for its having aired so early – May 2008.


Coverage of 2008 Presidential Primary Campaigns and Debates (CNN)


With state-of-the-art technology and a small army of reporters, producers and analysts,  CNN gave viewers unparalleled coverage of a historic presidential election process.


Entourage (HBO)

Leverage and Closest to the Hole Productions in association with HBO Entertainment

Hollywood gets an affectionately merciless tweaking in this picaresque serial about an ambitious male starlet, his posse of pals, and his multi-faced agent.


Depression: Out of the Shadows (PBS)

Twin Cities Public Television and WGBH Boston

The documentary explored the many forms of depression and an expanding range of treatment strategies as it dispelled the stigma that often inhibits action and fostered hope.


The New York Times Website (www.nytimes.com)

The New York Times

Aggressively and imaginatively adding sound and moving images to the news that’s fit to print, the “Gray Lady” became a leader in the emergence of new journalistic forms.


Black Magic (ESPN)

ESPN Films in association with Shoot the Moon Productions

This unusually penetrating sports documentary illuminated the lives of African American basketball players and their coaches at historically black colleges and universities during the civil rights era.


Jungle Fish (KBS 2TV)

Korean Broadcasting System

Interactive blogging was integral to the plot of this handsome film, a stylized slice of life among students at a ruthlessly competitive South Korean high school.


China: The Earthquake of Chengdu (National Public Radio)


On assignment in China when earthquakes devastated Sichuan province, members of an NPR team were on the air in Chengdu when the tremors began, and they provided riveting, first-hand accounts from around the region for days.


NOAH Housing Program Investigation (WWL-TV)

WWL-TV, New Orleans

Dogged inquiry by anchor/reporter Lee Zurik embarrassed the New Orleans Authority Housing Program, a non-profit agency intended to help poor and elderly victims of Hurricane Katrina, and prompted a federal investigation of its misuse of funds.


Hopkins (ABC)

ABC News

All-access filmmaking in the corridors and operating rooms of a fabled teaching hospital produced human drama of open-heart intensity.


Saturday Night Live Political Satire, 2008 (NBC)

SNL Studios in association with NBC Universal Studios

The late-night legend stole the election-year thunder from its satirical competition on cable and may have swayed the race itself.


John Adams (HBO)

Playtone in association with HBO Films

The American Revolution was made flesh and blood in this richly detailed miniseries focused on the political evolution of colonial lawyer John Adams and his wife, Abigail.


Hear and Now (HBO)

HBO Documentary Films in association with Vermillion Films, Inc.

This moving documentary explored the consequences – positive, negative, unforeseen – of the decision by a sixty-something couple, deaf since birth, to undergo cochlear implant surgeries.



Washington Week with Gwen Ifill (PBS & pbs.org/washingtonweek)

WETA-TV, Washington, DC

Thoughtful, informed and timely, the political talk show that sets the standard for the genre supplemented its contribution to the national discourse in 2008 with a series of live events far outside the Beltway.


Independent Lens: King Corn (PBS)

Mosaic Films, Independent Television Service (ITVS), Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB)

Starting off like a post-grad goof – two college buddies plant one acre of corn and follow it to market – the documentary ended up raising questions about everything from crop subsidies to animal cruelty to our obesity epidemic: What’s in yourgullet?


Breaking Bad (AMC)

AMC, Sony Pictures Television, High Bridge Productions, Gran Via Productions

Bleak, harrowing, sometimes improbably funny, the series chronicled the consequences of a mild-mannered, dying science teacher’s decision to secure his family’s future by cooking methamphetamine.


The Gates (HBO)

Maysles Films in association with HBO Documentary Films and CVJ

Filmmakers explored how the now-celebrated Central Park installation by artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude came to be in this memoir of a creative process that survived a 24-year odyssey of bureaucratic hoop-jumping.


The Red Race (Shanghai TV Station)

NDR Fernsehen, Shanghai Media Group

Without narration or judgment, this documentary, riveting from its first frame, depicted the rigorous training of China’s potential gymnastic stars, age 6.


36 Years in Solitary: Murder, Death and Justice on Angola (NPR/All Things Considered)


Laura Sullivan’s gripping three-part report raised questioned about the guilt of two Louisiana prison farm inmates who been kept in solitary confinement for more than three decades.


Avatar: The Last Air Bender (NICK)


Unusually complex characters and healthy respect for the consequences of warfare enhanced this American-made, anime-influenced martial-arts adventure.


Crossfire:  Water, Power and Politics (KLAS-TV, Las Vegas)


This network-quality documentary by Las Vegas’ CBS affiliate was a brave, meticulous examination of a plan to pipe massive amounts of water from rural Nevada to booming Sin City and the potential consequences for ranchers, farmers, Native Americans and the environment.


Ape Genius (PBS)

NOVA, National Geographic Television, John Rubin Productions, Inc.

A synthesis of the latest research on the intelligence and creative capacity of gorillas and other great apes, this stimulating documentary also explored what it means to be human.


CBS News 60 Minutes: Lifeline (CBS)

CBS News 60 Minutes

The world of the uninsured and underinsured in America was unforgettably illuminated by this report about a free-clinic mission, designed for Third World communities, that set up shop in Tennessee for a weekend and treated hundreds of patients.


Lost (ABC)

ABC Studios

 Breezily mixing metaphysics, quantum physics, romance and cliffhanger action, the genre-bending series about a group of air-crash survivors on a mysterious island has rewritten the rules of television fiction.


Sichuan Earthquake Coverage (Sichuan Television)

Sichuan Television (SCTV)

When a massive earthquake devastated its province, Chengdu-based Sichuan Television dispatched its camera crews and for several days was the only source of images for TV news organizations around the world.


Independent Lens: Mapping Stem Cell Research – Terra Incognita (PBS)

Kartemquin Educational Films, Independent Television Service (ITVS)

Neither scientific facts nor ethical complexity nor emotional drama was sacrificed in this documentary about a neurologist who took up stem-cell research after his beloved daughter suffered a spinal injury.


P.O.V.: Campaign (PBS)

Laboratory X Inc., American Documentary Inc., P.O.V., Center for Asian American Media

Soda Kazuhiro’s revealing, sometimes painfully funny documentary observed the ragged political campaign of a naïf handpicked and backed by Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party.


Failing the Children: Deadly Mistakes (KMGH-TV)

KMGH-TV, Denver

Motivated by the starvation death of a 7-year-old boy, the station’s persistent investigation turned up systemic incompetence in Denver’s Department of Human Services, and then broadened into a state-wide story.



Richard Engel Reports: Tip of the Spear (NBC)

NBC Nightly News

Under fire at times, the war correspondent and his team produced an extraordinary series of reports from remote outposts in Afghanistan, making vivid and visceral the hardships and danger faced by American soldiers.


The Metropolitan Opera: Live in HD Series

The Metropolitan Opera Association

With vividly designed, smartly annotated productions of “Hansel and Gretel,” “Dr. Atomic,” “Peter Grimes” and other operas, the Met used state-of-the-art digital technology to reinvent presentation of a classic art form.


Nanking (HBO)

A Ted Leonsis Production in association with HBO Documentary Films

Human decency rises to confront human atrocity in this powerful, newly documented remembrance of a small group of Westerners who saved thousands of Chinese during the 1937 “rape of Nanking” by Japanese invaders.


Hearst-Argyle Television: Commitment 2008 (Hearst-Argyle Stations)

Hearst-Argyle Television

Exemplars of public-service broadcasting, 25 Hearst-Argyle stations fulfilled a company mandate with extensive reporting on candidates and issues in their respective communities and supplemented on-air reports with online forums, profiles and debate coverage.


Onion News Network   (www.theonion.com)

The Onion

The satirical tabloid’s online send-up of 24-hour cable-TV news was hilarious, trenchant and not infrequently hard to distinguish from the real thing.


Turner Classic Movies (TCM)

Turner Broadcasting System Inc.

It’s a wonderful network, this dedicated presenter and preserver of vintage films, and after 20 years, no other in the cable spectrum has stayed truer to its original mission.


YouTube (www.youtube.com)

YouTube, LLC

The video-sharing website, a “Speakers’ Corner,” where Internet users can upload, view and share clips, is an ever-expanding archive-cum-bulletin board that both embodies and promotes democracy.