Celebrating storytelling

When the Peabody Awards air on PBS and FUSION television networks on Friday, June 2, it won’t be the first time the ceremony has been on television. But the joint broadcast partnership will provide a unique opportunity for the University of Georgia and Peabody to tap into both loyal viewers of public broadcasting as well as younger, more diverse audiences found on the burgeoning cable network.

“It was an amazing night and we’re looking forward to sharing it with people across the country,” said Jeffrey P. Jones, director of Peabody. “There’s no better time to bring the power of truth-telling in media to the conversation and this year’s winners are a reflection of that.”

As host Rashida Jones, pictured above, noted in her opening monologue, “There are nobodies, there are somebodies, and there are Peabodys,” a nod to the distinction the award carries for journalists, documentarians, entertainers and storytellers across broadcasting genres.

Zazie Beets and Brian Tyree Henry of “Atlanta” on the FX Network accept their Peabody Award during the May 20 ceremony.Zazie Beets and Brian Tyree Henry of “Atlanta” on the FX Network accept their Peabody Award during the May 20 ceremony.

Check your local listings for the televised special of the 76th Peabody Awards Ceremony on both PBS and the cable network FUSION on Friday, June 2, at 9 p.m. EDT/PDT.

At the awards ceremony at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City on Saturday night, President Jere W. Morehead welcomed attendees and spoke to the program’s influential role in media since its founding in 1940.

“The Peabody Awards were the first, and now are the most prestigious, symbols of excellence-excellence in media; excellence in storytelling; and excellence in connecting individuals to important ideas and to one another,” he said. “The University of Georgia is proud to house this important American cultural institution-one that supports the University’s mission of producing an educated public.”

In addition to highlights from the inspiring and lively celebration, the television special will feature interviews with winners. Celebrity guests included Lupita Nyong’o, who honored her friend Ava DuVernay for the documentary “13th.” Louis C.K. accepted for his groundbreaking drama “Horace and Pete” as well as for “Better Things,” which he co-created with fellow comedian and actress Pamela Adlon. And former-comedian-turned-senator Al Franken was the perfect choice to present to Julia Louis-Dreyfus and her co-star Timothy Simons for the satirical political sitcom “Veep.”  

U.S. Sen. Al Franken presents the Peabody Award to Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Timothy Simons for “Veep” on HBO.U.S. Sen. Al Franken presents the Peabody Award to Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Timothy Simons for “Veep” on HBO.

The Peabody Awards are administered by UGA’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication-which kicked off the “Peabody” weekend with an alumni reception on Thursday night.

“Every year, New York City welcomes dozens of Grady Dawgs during Peabody weekend. It’s among the high points of the year, as we gather to recognize the best in electronic media. We get to reconnect with our sizable New York alumni base and spend time with some of our favorite friends,” said Dean Charles Davis.

Students are also a critical part of the program, hosting their own awards luncheon on Friday before serving as production assistants for the Peabody Awards ceremony on Saturday night. The second annual Peabody-Facebook Futures of Media Awards luncheon celebrated the most innovative storytelling in digital media from 2016, as chosen by the Peabody Student Honor Board.

“We’re in the trenches every day with the brand picking the award winners,” said Samuel Tingle, an entertainment and media studies major and honor board member. “But meeting the recipients and hearing how grateful they are, and to see the impact that it’s going to have on their future endeavors-I’m incredibly grateful to be part of the process that gives them that opportunity.”