The reality-show spoof UnREAL, the classical British drama Wolf Hall, the German spy thriller Deutschland 83 and the family comedy Black-ish are among this year’s Peabody 30 winners. The Peabody Awards are based at UGA’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication.
Entertainment and children’s program winners
The 11 entertainment programs chosen by the Peabody Awards board of jurors are Netflix’s Beasts of No Nation, the Idris Elba film about an African warlord training an orphan child to join his guerrilla army; ABC’s Black-ish, a comedy about an affluent African-American family working overtime to keep it real; SundanceTV’s Deutschland 83, a spy drama—told from the perspective of East Germans and West Germans—that takes place a few years before the Soviet bloc cracked; and Netflix’s Marvel’s Jessica Jones, the drama about a PTSD-stricken superhero who hangs up her costume and opens her own detective agency.
Other winners in the entertainment and children’s program categories include Master of None, a comedy that chronicles the misadventures of Dev, a 30-year-old Indian-American who’s still trying to figure out what to do with his life; USA Network’s Mr. Robot, a first-season drama about Elliot, a tormented, anti-social cyber-security whiz caught up in a techno-anarchy conspiracy; HBO’s The Leftovers, a drama about the survivors of a global cataclysm that thins Earth’s population by 140 million; Amazon Video’s Transparent, in which Jeffrey Tambor’s transsexual Maura is not just the lead character but she’s also the catalyst for her typically dysfunctional modern family’s ongoing re-evaluation of itself; Lifetime’s UnREAL, a behind-the-scenes send-up of “reality” shows like The Bachelor; PBS’ Wolf Hall, a drama based on Hilary Mantel’s novels about the intrigues of Henry VIII’s court told from the viewpoint of the king’s main man, Thomas Cromwell; and CBeebies’ Katie Morag, the British children’s show based on Mairi Hedderwick’s popular books about a feisty, wee, red-headed girl and the Scottish island community in which she’s growing up.
News, radio/podcast, Web winners
Among the Peabody 30 honorees in news, radio/podcast and Web are HBO’s “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel: The Killing Fields,” a report from Congo, Tanzania and Kenya about the billion-dollar, criminal ivory trade enterprise; “911: Lost On The Line,” a report from WXIA-TV in Atlanta that revealed government oversights and technical shortcomings in supposedly smart iPhones and in telecommunications infrastructure that were causing needless deaths across the country; “Do Not Track,” a report by the website donottrack-doc.com that provides information about the science of cookies, tracking and who is profiting from individual social media participation; NPR’s “Secret Mustard Gas Experiments,” which documented the U.S. Army’s testing of a chemical weapon on some 60,000 of its own World War II soldiers, most of whom were black; WQXR.org’s “Meet the Composer” podcasts, which are devoted to the work of current classical composers; and “Burning Questions: WTAE Investigates Fire Response Times,” a Pittsburgh television station’s report of the wildly varying response times of Pennsylvania’s volunteer fire departments and a chronically inefficient system that hadn’t changed substantially since the days of horse-drawn trucks and bucket brigades. The report prompted legislative hearings and the passage of bills aimed at quickening response and saving lives.
Other Peabody 30 winners are PBS’ “Desperate Journey,” which reported on the men, women and children fleeing Syria and other Middle Eastern war zones; BBC’s “European Migrant Crisis/A New Life in Europe/The Year of Migration,” television and radio reporting about the reality and ramifications of the surge of millions of Middle Eastern refugees into Europe; “The Case for School Desegregation Today” segment from the podcast This American Life, which uses personal stories to weigh the statistical benefits of desegregation against the pressure, even humiliation, that many minority students experience; and “The LaQuan McDonald Investigation,” a report by WMAQ-TV in Chicago that brought to light a host of police procedural infractions, official disinformation and outright lies that contributed to a police department shake-up. The probe was launched six months before a Chicago police office was charged with first-degree murder in the shooting of 17-year-old LaQuan McDonald.
The Peabody 30 will be honored May 21 at Cipriani Wall Street in New York. Hosted by Peabody Award recipient Keegan-Michael Key (Key & Peele, Fargo), the gala will be televised in a 90-minute special, The 75th Anniversary Peabody Awards, June 6 at 8 p.m. on Pivot.
The complete list of Peabody 30 winners, including those in documentary and education, is online at http://www.peabodyawards.com/.