The Peabody Awards Board of Jurors revealed today nine Entertainment winners, including Children’s & Youth, for programs released in 2017. Honorees include a dystopian look at the United States, a 1950s female comedian who runs afoul of decency laws, innovative reflections on diversity from up-and-coming voices and satirical television at its finest. The Peabody Awards are based at the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia.
The program is also pleased to announce an Institutional Award to The Fred Rogers Company in recognition for carrying on the legacy of its eponymous founder, whose iconic children’s program debuted 50 years ago. In the history of American TV personalities, few have been as universally loved as Fred McFeely Rogers. As creator and host of “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” Rogers inspired his audience with gentle lessons on the importance of mutual respect and the fun that comes from being good, warm, caring people. The program earned a Peabody Award in 1968; Rogers himself was given a personal Peabody many years later in 1992. He died in 2003, but his spirit lives on through The Fred Rogers Company. With its partners, the company continues to produce high-quality, thoughtful educational television, including “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood,” “Peg + Cat,” and “The Odd Squad,” that cares not only about the children who watch it, but the adults they will become. Through these programs and their many associated apps, websites, and other platforms, the memory of Fred Rogers gloriously endures, educating and engaging new generations of kids.
Representatives of the company will join fellow Peabody Award winners, including Carol Burnett, recipient of the first-ever Peabody Career Achievement Award presented by Mercedes-Benz, at a celebration on Saturday, May 19 at Cipriani Wall Street in New York. Hasan Minhaj, comedian, writer and senior correspondent on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah,” will serve as host. The presenting sponsor is Mercedes-Benz, the official automobile of the 77th Annual Peabody Awards Ceremony. Supporting sponsor is The Coca-Cola Co. Variety is the exclusive media partner.
Winners in News/Radio/Public Service programming will be announced on April 24, which will round out this year’s Peabody 30.
Entertainment winners, including Children’s & Youth programming, include:
“A Series of Unfortunate Events” (Children & Youth)
Lemony Snicket’s “A Series of Unfortunate Events” follows the tragic but brilliant Baudelaire orphans as they investigate their parents’ deaths while surviving their wicked uncle’s machinations to deprive them of their inheritance. Both darkly gothic in style and drolly hilarious, the televised version visually realizes the melancholy-yet-beautiful essence of the beloved children’s book series on which it is based.
CBS Television Studios for Netflix (Netflix)
A surprisingly insightful rumination on contemporary life, “American Vandal” slowly shifts focus from a high school student accused of a sophomoric prank/crime to the consequences of solving the mystery. Wickedly funny, the show also offers a look at how the ethical questions of the true crime genre intersect with the harsh realities of being a teenager in the age of social media.
“Better Call Saul”
Sony Pictures Television, Gran Via Productions (AMC)
Mixing legal drama, crime thriller, and dark comedy, this “Breaking Bad” prequel of the earnest Jimmy McGill’s transformation into Saul Goodman captures the professional and personal struggles as he navigates an unfair moral universe. A compelling narrative of pathos and character drama, the show’s innovative style and commanding performances reach the creative heights of its origin series.
“Hasan Minhaj: Homecoming King”
Netflix, Art & Industry (Netflix)
Hasan Minhaj delivers much more than a hilarious stand-up comedy special. “Homecoming King” is a deeply personal memoir—part Richard Pryor, part Spaulding Gray—that covers the struggles of the immigrant experience, encounters with stereotypes and raced expectations, and intergenerational acceptance, while using comedy to invite empathy, caring, and understanding.
HBO Entertainment in association with Issa Rae Productions, Penny For Your Thoughts Productions and 3 Arts Entertainment (HBO)
Issa Rae delivers a groundbreaking series that captures the lives of everyday young black people in Los Angeles with a fresh and authentic take. Breaking away from tired and familiar representations of “diversity” on television, this series offers a fun and intimate portrayal of work, relationships, and the ordinary experiences of the two young black women at its center.
“Last Week Tonight with John Oliver”
HBO Entertainment in association with Sixteen String Jack Productions and Avalon Television (HBO)
Each week, John Oliver and his team offer something completely new in the merger of comedy and reporting. While scathing in its political critique, the show is also smart and insightful in producing long-form journalism, breaking stories that others have overlooked with precision, clarity, and hilarity.
“Saturday Night Live: Political Satire 2017”
SNL Studios in association with Universal Television and Broadway Video (NBC)
Building on the strength of its election year parodies, “SNL” doubled-down this year with wicked satiric portrayals of President Trump and a clownish coterie of administration apparatchiks. Kate McKinnon and special guests Alec Baldwin and Melissa McCarthy, in particular, produced performances that helped the American public come to terms with an unprecedented presidential administration and its daily political absurdities.
“The Handmaid’s Tale”
Hulu, MGM, White Oak Pictures, The Littlefield Company, Daniel Wilson Productions (Hulu)
“The Handmaid’s Tale” offers a timely warning of a fascist, misogynist near future. Equal parts drama, horror, and science fiction, “The Handmaid’s Tale” is captivating, harrowing, and crackling with contemporary political relevance—a cautionary tale about the ramifications of the regulations of women’s bodies and reproductive rights, as well as the specter of theocratic rule.
“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”
Amazon Studios (Amazon)
A period drama and feminist comedy, Amy Sherman-Palladino’s story of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” centers on the emergence of a 1950s female comedian who runs afoul of New York decency laws. In the process, the colorful and imaginative story also reflects on the “place” of women in public spaces, Jewishness, familial relations, classed expectations, and the importance of a woman not being “ripped right out of a catalogue” that is both impressively weighty and effortlessly light.