The Peabody Awards

The Peabody Awards


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  • 1997 The Big Help
    1997 The Big Help

    Sad to say, the productivity of children has traditionally been recognized mainly by those who would exploit them as a source of cheap labor. Rarely have their boundless energy, acumen and inestimable good will been harnessed for positive ends. Happily, for the past five years, Nickelodeon has targeted and helped motivate children to volunteer their time and talents to their local communities, under the umbrella of the enormously successful Big Help campaign. In 1997 alone, the campaign reached an estimated 28 million children worldwide, through such activities as daily public service messages, tie-ins with Nickelodeon programs and personalities, telethons and... read more

  • 60 Minutes
    60 Minutes

    We are all too familiar with the proliferation of negative news and with the blurring of the line between information and entertainment on television. Therefore, it is critical to remind ourselves television news’ ability to promote positive values—including the value of an affirmative spirit, the value of industry and effort, and the importance of fighting the good fight in a good way. Such is the case with four particularly powerful episodes of 60 Minutes produced in 1997. In “A Very Special Brain,” correspondent Morley Safer introduces us to the remarkable group of people who suffer from Williams Syndrome, a rare... read more

  • Blue Note: A History of Modern Jazz
    Blue Note: A History of Modern Jazz

    This lush and lavish production, by director Julian Benedikt, documents the story of Frank Wolff and Alfred Lion, two German immigrants who escaped Nazi persecution in 1939 and founded Blue Note Records shortly after landing in New York. Together, the two men and their label repudiated Hitler’s claim that jazz was “degenerate art.” In fact, the revealing recollections of musicians, family members and business associates, plus an impressive collection of painstakingly-restored performances, raise jazz to the realm of high art and high culture. This is a rare documentary, one that is as impressive to listen to as it is to... read more

  • Body Doubles: The Twin Experience
    Body Doubles: The Twin Experience

    In the talented hands of filmmaker Antony Thomas, Home Box Office and Carlton Television present a moving and humorous depiction of the life of twins, which challenges our preconceptions about the role environment and genetics play in human behavior. The film is a set of diverse case studies, beginning with Bill and John Reiff, two eccentric pig farmers who have won numerous awards over the years for being the most identical twins in the world. We meet Raymond Brandt, who relives his brother Robert’s death every day, even though his twin has been gone for nearly 50 years. Then there... read more

  • CBS News Sunday Morning
    CBS News Sunday Morning

    When Sunday Morning premiered on CBS in January 1979, founding producer Shad Northshield, host Charles Kuralt, and their dedicated staff brought a fresh look to network news and a novel approach to celebrating achievement and recognizing the extraordinary in the ordinary. From the opening trumpet’s notes to the opulent closing nature video, Sunday Morning continues under host Charles Osgood and executive producers Linda Mason and Missie Rennie to cast new light on its subjects, never stooping to the hyperkinesis, hyperbole and just plain hype that characterizes much of television news. This is not to say that the program eschews hard... read more

  • City Arts
    City Arts

    You could live in New York for years and not know all the places where culture and art flourish—like the opera company on the Bowery, the children’s museum on Staten Island and the sculpture garden in Long Island City. Each day, the city creates more choices: new shows on Broadway, new exhibitions in the Bronx, new jazz in Brooklyn. These riches are the focus of City Arts, a weekly magazine on the visual and performing arts. Covering the five boroughs, City Arts profiles New York’s foremost artists and institutions, and uncovers a wealth of less familiar treasures. In a breezy... read more

  • Dietrich Bonhoeffer: The Cost of Freedom
    Dietrich Bonhoeffer: The Cost of Freedom

    This is a remarkable radio program for a number of reasons. First, it is an exceptional example of the power of the spoken word and of the ability of radio drama to transport listeners through space and time, into their imaginations. Secondly, the narrative traces the heroic story of controversial theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who opposed Adolph Hitler and fought for justice both within his culture and his church. As such, it is a riveting and important chapter of recent history. Perhaps most importantly, the program combines the tools of radio drama, including superb acting, music, and sound effects, with an... read more

  • Divided Highways: The Interstates and the Transformation of American Life
    Divided Highways: The Interstates and the Transformation of American Life

    Many of the milestones of post-World War II America have been duly acknowledged, documented, and presented with the Peabody, including such events as the arms race, the space race, desegregation and the “baby boom.” This novel production offers the inquisitive American something even more concrete—a treatise on interstate highways. A delightful essay on the history of the interstate highway system, the program describes how freeways have transformed the continent in physical, sociological and psychological ways. The creation of new cities, the division and destruction of neighborhoods, and the evolution of fast-food, are living proof of the everlasting power of pavement.... read more

  • Don King: Only in America
    Don King: Only in America

    This original film for television takes the tricky tack of telling the tale of a living legend—boxing promoter Don King. In less-skilled hands than those of executive producer Thomas L. Carter, producer David Blocker and director John Herzfeld, the risk of sinking into the worst kind of hyperbole or melodrama was possible, even likely. Happily, the film succeeds, even soars. The lead performance by Ving Rhames is nothing short of spectacular, and it is more than matched by a kind of stylistic inventiveness, in which the title character speaks directly to the camera from the center of a boxing ring,... read more

  • Ellen: The Puppy Episode
    Ellen: The Puppy Episode

    A landmark moment in television history occurred on April 30, 1997, when Ellen DeGeneres and her namesake character acknowledged their homosexuality simultaneously, and Ellen became the first gay lead character in a prime time television series. In making this award, the Peabody Board is neither endorsing the sexuality of Ms. DeGeneres, nor taking sides in the ongoing debate about the role of television in the larger societal debate about values and morality. Rather, the Peabody Award is made, as always, in recognition of distinguished achievement in the art of television. This one-hour special episode was marked by exceptional writing, producing... read more

  • Flood of the Century
    Flood of the Century

    After a winter of monumental snows, major flooding inundated the Red River Valley of the upper Midwest and Canada. In response, KFGO activated its emergency broadcast procedures, becoming a critical life-line to the Red River Valley. During the crisis the staff, under the direction of news director Paul Jurgens, maintained round-the-clock coverage. When thousands of residents lost electricity in an early spring blizzard, and many hundreds lost their homes in the subsequent floods, producer Tina Rene and reporters/writers Don Haney, Bonnie Amistadi, Doug Hamilton, Gary Rogers, Sandy Buttweiler, and Ed Schultz kept listeners informed. When other stations were knocked off... read more

  • George Wallace
    George Wallace

    The skillful and accomplished direction of John Frankenheimer has never been more apparent than in this masterful miniseries, the Faustian saga of the rise, fall, and ultimate redemption of one of our most controversial political figures. The power of this program resonates in every stirring scene, superbly written by Paul Monash and Marshall Frady, and acted with chilling realism by Gary Sinise in the title role. Mare Winningham, Angelina Jolie, Joe Don Baker and Clarence Williams III are outstanding in critical supporting roles. The life of George Wallace presents in microcosm the swirl of events simmering in the South and... read more

  • Hello Mr. President
    Hello Mr. President

    This international production provides a unique inside account of Lyndon Baines Johnson’s early days as president, which is informed by exceptional dramatic recreations and the use of never-before-heard tapes of telephone conversations. Thrust reluctantly into the role of the most powerful man in the world, Johnson grappled immediately with such major issues as the Kennedy assassination, the civil rights movement, the struggle in Vietnam, and poverty in America. In the deft hands of writer Charles Wheeler (who narrated the British version), executive producer George Carey, producer David C. Taylor and director Philip Day, the real (and often raw) LBJ is... read more

  • Homicide: Life on the Street
    Homicide: Life on the Street

    With three citations in the past five years, Homicide: Life on the Street has the distinction of being the most recognized dramatic series in the history of the Peabody Awards. Episodes like “The Subway,” presented in December of 1997, continue to return Tom Fontana, Barry Levinson and their exceptional group of producers, writers and performers to the podium at the Waldorf Astoria. Written by James Yoshimura and directed by Gary Fleder, “The Subway” tells the harrowing true-to-life story of a man trapped between a subway car and the platform. Vincent D’Onofrio is typically brilliant as the victim, as are Andre... read more

  • In the Land of the Deaf
    In the Land of the Deaf

    One principal benefit the proliferation of television distribution channels allows is the ability to bring outstanding programming from diverse sources to wider audiences. Such is the case with this remarkable French documentary feature, which takes viewers into the silent but exceedingly rich and diverse world of deaf language and culture. Filmmaker Nicolas Philibert takes the approach that signing is a visual language, with its own nuance, syntax, and structure, and that it is both similar to and vastly different from cinema. Combining observational and innovative camera technique, natural sound, and inspiring personal stories, we gain real insight into the daily... read more

  • Jazz from Lincoln Center
    Jazz from Lincoln Center

    For five years, this exceptional weekly radio series on National Public Radio has entertained and informed American audiences about this most American art form. Under the talented guidance of executive producers Steve Rathe at Murray Street Enterprise, and Rob Gibson from Jazz at Lincoln Center, the series reflects the stirring history and healthy diversity of this unique and influential musical genre. Host Ed Bradley, aided by such accomplished players and performers as Jackie McLean, Frank Foster, Wynton Marsalis, Betty Harris, Tito Puente, McCoy Tyner, Betty Carter, and numerous others, Jazz from Lincoln Center, makes an excellent ongoing contribution to the... read more

  • LIBERTY! The American Revolution
    LIBERTY! The American Revolution

    What does it mean to be an “American?” In a country of immigrants, ill-defined by race or ethnicity, political beliefs and principles are our common thread. No single era of American history has more to do with shaping those beliefs than does the revolutionary period. What the American Revolution created, and how it continues to influence a nation now heading into the 21st century, are the subjects of LIBERTY! Spanning 1763 to 1789, this six-part dramatic documentary chronicles the impressive, often conflicted story of how 13 diverse colonies became a nation, bound by faith in a new kind of government.... read more

  • Look for Me Here: 299 Days in the Life of Nora Lenihan
    Look for Me Here: 299 Days in the Life of Nora Lenihan

    In awarding a Peabody to Look for Me Here: 299 Days in the Life of Nora Lenihan, the Peabody Board recognizes excellence in regional cable news for the first time. New England Cable News brilliantly captured and personalized the hospice experience of one woman, Nora Lenihan, through the efforts of executive producer/writer Tom Melville, producer/writer Florence Del Santo, writer Judy Forman, videographer Thad Peterson and still photographer Michele McDonald. They captured an intense, intimate portrait of a woman facing her own death with nobility, courage, grace and humor. Forty-year old Ms. Lenihan’s losing battle with breast cancer vividly illustrates how... read more

  • Military Medicine
    Military Medicine

    The Peabody Awards have often rewarded the courage of local television stations in uncovering damaging truths against high-profile institutions in their service area. Military bases are a pivotal and important presence in central North Carolina, and investigative reporter Stuart Watson spent portions of two years documenting how some military doctors in that state, and across the country, have been found to be “inept, unqualified and incompetent,” but do not have to meet the same accountability standards as their civilian counterparts. The theme throughout the piece is powerful: America’s Armed Forces are committed to serve the nation, but in turn, America... read more

  • Mobil Masterpiece Theatre: The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
    Mobil Masterpiece Theatre: The Tenant of Wildfell Hall

    Adapted by David Nokes and Janet Barron from Anne Bronte’s 1848 novel, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall presents an exquisite and moving drama about a woman attempting to free herself and her small son from an abusive marriage. The production stars Tara Fitzgerald as Helen Graham (the “tenant” of the title), with Rupert Graves as her dissolute spouse, Arthur Huntington, and Toby Stephens as Gilbert Markham, the young Yorkshire farmer who falls hopelessly in love with Helen. Their superb acting is made more magical by the moving camera of director Mike Barker and the lavish locations and settings provided by... read more

  • Nightline: The Trial of Pol Pot
    Nightline: The Trial of Pol Pot

    The best television journalism is groundbreaking, authoritative and evidentiary. It brings a significant news event to the forefront, and does so with the critical background research, context and thoughtful presentation that it requires. Such is the case with this series of reports spanning July 28-30, 1997. The reports were made possible by the heroic and exclusive footage provided by Nate Thayer, correspondent for the Far Eastern Economic Review, and his cameraman, David McKaige of Asiaworks. Mr. Thayer and Mr. McKaige were invited to a remote area of Cambodia by the Khmer Rouge to witness the so-called “trial” of Pol Pot,... read more

  • Nothing Sacred
    Nothing Sacred

    All too often, dramatic series on television avoid issues of religion, ethics and morality. Such topics are said to easily offend the sensibilities of viewers, or to risk the loss of support from skittish advertisers and affiliates. ABC, Sarabande Productions, and 20th Century Fox TV, are commended for challenging conventional wisdom with Nothing Sacred, a timely, provocative and thoughtful dramatic series, which provided an honest portrayal of the complexity of faith in the modern era. Created by Father Bill Cain, a Jesuit priest and playwright, and David Manson, with Richard Kramer as executive producer, and Cyrus Yavneh as producer, Nothing... read more

  • Personal Award: Carol Marin
    Personal Award: Carol Marin

    The journalistic integrity of Carol Marin has been a constant in Chicago for two decades. Her distinguished investigative reporting for WMAQ-TV (1978-97) and now at WBBM-TV has been universally acknowledged. She is simply one the nation’s best broadcast journalists. In 1997, Ms. Marin received national attention for taking a personal stand against the tide of sensationalism in television news. In so doing, it became clear in Chicago and beyond that, unlike too many reporters and news executives, Ms. Marin measures success neither in ratings points nor job security. Her motivations lie in what she believes is right, and by what... read more

  • Personal Award: R.E. (Ted) Turner
    Personal Award: R.E. (Ted) Turner

    Ted Turner is a true visionary in electronic communications, who has made a profound impact in areas as diverse as television station ownership, cable and satellite distribution, entertainment and sports programming and electronic journalism. Today, Mr. Turner is vice-chairman of Time-Warner Inc. He oversees the Time-Warner cable networks division, including the former assets of Turner Broadcasting—Cable News Network, the Cartoon Network, Headline News, TBS Superstation, Turner Classic Movies, Turner Network Television, as well as Home Box Office, Cinemax and other Time-Warner entertainment holdings. This empire began modestly in 1970 with his purchase of Channel 17, an independent UHF station in... read more

  • POV: A Healthy Baby Girl
    POV: A Healthy Baby Girl

    Intensely intimate and at the same time heartbreakingly universal, A Healthy Baby Girl eloquently addresses the ways in which filmmaker Judith Helfand’s DES-related cancer affected not only her physical health, but also the health of her relationships with the people around her. Ultimately, the story Ms. Helfand tells is the universal tale of how toxic exposure affects all of us. A Healthy Baby Girl follows the film maker over a five-year span, documenting the tears and tense moments, as well as the laughter and hope as she battles the cancer caused by DES, a drug prescribed to her mother during... read more

  • Richard Rodriguez Essays (on American Life)
    Richard Rodriguez Essays (on American Life)

    Richard Rodriguez Essays presented on The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer are a distinguished addition to an already impressive body of work by one of America’s most respected journalists. Mr. Rodriquez has served as editor for the Pacific News Service, and is a contributing editor for Harper’s Magazine, U.S. News and World Report, and the Sunday “Opinion” section of the Los Angeles Times. Essays on American Life have become one of the hallmarks of the The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, and have previously earned recognition with a Peabody Award for Roger Rosenblatt. The form of the visual essay allows for a... read more

  • State Farm: Good Neighbor or Bad Faith?
    State Farm: Good Neighbor or Bad Faith?

    The fast-paced nature of local news radio often precludes what should be a critical mission for the medium—to act as a watchdog in the community. KGO Radio in San Francisco reminds us of the importance of this function, as associate news director/reporter Susan Kennedy spent three months investigating allegations of fraud, forgery and fabrication by State Farm—the state’s largest insurance carrier—in the aftermath of three devastating natural disasters in the Bay area. The enterprising reporter spent much of that time researching court records, complaints, depositions and testimonies, as well as insurance documents, and internal memoranda. As a result, Ms. Kennedy... read more

  • The American Experience: The Presidents
    The American Experience: The Presidents

    This ongoing series of documentaries for public television has made a significant contribution to our knowledge of the life and times of presidents in the 20th century. Each program is an exquisite production; together, they represent a rich and valuable body of work, presenting a perfect blend of cinematic technique, historical perspective and compelling narrative. From “Nixon” and “The Kennedys,” produced by Elizabeth Deane to “Ike” and “Reagan,” produced by Austin Hoyt and Adriana Bosch, and “FDR,” “TR,” “LBJ,” and “Truman,” produced by David Grubin, The American Experience: The Presidents series has brought history and the presidency to life. Series... read more

  • The American Experience: Troublesome Creek—A Midwestern
    The American Experience: Troublesome Creek—A Midwestern

    Like so many other families, in recent years Iowa farmers Russ and Mary Jane Jordan faced a burgeoning debt and an increasingly “bottom-line” oriented bank. Unlike the others, they had a sensitive filmmaker and gifted storyteller for a daughter, who chronicled their struggle in this poignant and heartfelt film. In Troublesome Creek—A Midwestern, Jeanne Jordan and partner Steven Ascher use the intimate story of one family’s struggle to maintain the farm life to craft an extraordinary visual metaphor for major changes afflicting rural America. Rarely has a series title been so apt, for this is truly an “American experience,” told... read more

  • The Castro
    The Castro

    A few decades ago San Francisco’s Castro district was home to a quiet neighborhood of working-class immigrants. Today it is the internationally known “gay hometown,” and this 90-minute documentary conveys the rich, complex tale of the Castro’s transformation. Using rare archival film and fresh contemporary footage, producer/director/writer Peter Stein tells the story of how an overlooked little borough came to mark the crossroads of a social and political movement. With associate producer David Condon and editor Dawn Logsdon, Stein chronicles the evolution of a new community, and in so doing, they captured the universal struggle of emerging communities to achieve... read more

  • The Eddie Files
    The Eddie Files

    In the past year, policy makers and programmers have turned increasing attention to children’s television. As the debate rages about mandates for achieving a higher quantity and quality of programming for American children, The Eddie Files offers a model for producers to emulate. Critical to the success of The Eddie Files is its point of view. It has none. To explain, the program unfolds through the subjective eye view of an 11-year-old, who is heard, but never seen on screen. Children thus have their imaginations stimulated and engaged. As his problem-solving adventures unfold, children can project onto the unseen Eddie... read more

  • The Nazis: A Warning from History
    The Nazis: A Warning from History

    A superbly documented six-part series, The Nazis: A Warning from History is a chillingly thorough account of the Third Reich’s rise and fall. Using previously unpublished documents, new discoveries of archive film, access to new interviewees from the former communist bloc, and the close cooperation of Ian Kershaw, a leading Third Reich scholar, The Nazis paints a surprising and revealing picture of Hitler’s Germany. This comprehensive historical work presents a disturbing study of a nation in which the majority of its citizens supported the regime—characterized not by so-called German efficiency, but by chaos, where e murderers expressed no remorse. Writer/producer... read more

  • Will the Circle be Unbroken?
    Will the Circle be Unbroken?

    This brilliant 13-hour series broadcast on Public Radio International brings to life one of the most profound social phenomena of recent times—the Civil Rights Movement in the American South from the 1940s to the 1970s. Through oral history interviews, rare archival recordings, and the rich music of the times, a complex tapestry is woven of moving personal stories during the crusade for racial integration in Georgia, South Carolina, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Alabama. Over 16 years in the making, this documentary draws on the skills of executive producer Steve Suitts and producer/writer George King, as they worked with principal writers Narcel... read more

  • Wishbone

    Classic literature comes to life in this delightful public television series through an adventurous Jack Russell terrier named Wishbone. Our diminutive protagonist assumes characters ranging from Shakespeare’s King Hal to a member of a 17th century Plymouth plantation, and relates these historic tales to his real-life relationship with his owner, Joe. A solid ensemble cast and outstanding direction from executive producer Rick Duffield and producer Betty Buckley help transform a winsome canine into a time-travelling guide to the classics. Bert Guthrie (also director of photography) and Steven Kavner provide expert assistance as the show’s co-producers. Special mention is also made... read more