The Peabody Awards

The Peabody Awards

Awards


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  • About Race
    1998
    About Race

    Rising above stereotypes and sensationalism, the five-part news series About Race is a refreshing inquiry into racial understanding. An eight-month effort produced exceptional results, both in viewer responses and in community involvement. For example, to date more than 100 area schools have requested copies of the program. The effort commenced with a 13-minute news segment in its first installment, and totaled nearly 60 minutes total in the first week. The station’s diligence was further demonstrated by a successful effort to gain access to a workplace dialogue group willing to openly discuss issues of race. The power of the series rests... read more

  • Africans in America: America’s Journey Through Slavery
    1998
    Africans in America: America’s Journey Through Slavery

    Two centuries of enslavement and oppression can never be undone, but WGBH-TV has masterfully illuminated the struggle for freedom in its four-part, six-hour documentary, Africans in America. Filmed on location across 12 states and three continents, this is the first documentary series to examine fully the history of slavery in America. The programs blend a combination of vivid first-person narratives and compelling interviews with historians, descendants of slaves and slave-owners, and stellar research and production. In addition to the PBS broadcast, other resources were implemented to extend the usefulness of the series in classrooms, homes, and communities across the country,... read more

  • Ally McBeal
    1998
    Ally McBeal

    Absurdist comedy. Gripping drama. Sexual politics. Quirks, smirks, jerks. Fox’s Ally McBeal has it all, thanks to the genius of creator/writer David E. Kelley. This utterly distinctive comedy-drama series became an almost instant “water cooler conversation” program in times when network TV series increasingly were hard-pressed to make a dent in the public consciousness. The loopy Boston law firm where Ally and her colleagues work is a triumph of Mr. Kelly’s fertile imagination. Anything can happen, and often does. Each episode is an unpredictable as the next week’s weather, although some sort of storm is usually brewing. For example, the... read more

  • American Masters: Alexander Calder
    1998
    American Masters: Alexander Calder

    This year’s Peabody Awards are anchored by two outstanding tributes to monumental artists who were contemporaries. While one, Frank Lloyd Wright, was a powerful and imperious presence whose work strove to rival nature itself, the impish and capricious Alexander Calder sought to liberate art from its conventions. His work, like his irreverent spirit, soared upward to the heavens. American Masters: Alexander Calder is director Roger Sherman’s delightful and engaging tribute that captures the joyful exuberance the artist displayed throughout his life and throughout his work. The playful inventiveness that marked “Sandy” Calder and his creations is recalled with easy elegance... read more

  • Christopher
    1998
    Christopher

    Following an earlier story updating the progress of a recipient of an organ transplant, WANE-TV medical reporter Karen Hensel expressed to local hospital officials her desire to do an in-depth story on the organ donation process, from the point of death of the potential donor to the renewed life of the grateful recipient. A few months later, those hospital officials contacted Ms. Hensel to let her know the story could move forward. On July 12, 1998, 11-year-old Christopher Nixon was hit by a car while riding his bike, just two blocks from his home. He was pronounced brain dead the... read more

  • Cold War
    1998
    Cold War

    Last year, R. E. “Ted” Turner was honored with a personal Peabody Award for his many and varied contributions to broadcasting and cable. Unmentioned in that citation was his original conception of, and complete commitment to, the production of this important documentary series. Cold War is more than an outstanding, unparalleled 24 episode television series. Cold War is also a monumental achievement in research, in the creation of original teaching and learning materials, and in making much of this research available worldwide by the Internet, it represents a landmark contribution to global understanding. The bedrock of the effort is the... read more

  • Coverage of Africa
    1998
    Coverage of Africa

    The essence of great reporting remains great writing. In her series of reports in 1998 emanating from all areas of Africa, Charlayne Hunter-Gault’s dispatches simply soared. Based in Johannesburg, correspondent Hunter-Gault followed South Africa’s transition from apartheid to black rule with depth, insight and breadth. Yet, she did not confine herself to South Africa. Through the year, she reported for NPR from Senegal, Congo, Rwanda, the Sudan, Ghana, Kenya, Zimbabwe and elsewhere, covering famine, civil war and the continuing struggles that mark this important, often under-reported and misunderstood continent. Ms. Hunter-Gault demonstrated a talent for ennobling her subjects, and revealed... read more

  • Dateline NBC: Checks and Balances
    1998
    Dateline NBC: Checks and Balances

    Welfare reform is a widely covered topic, often treated by the media with much finger-pointing and hand-wringing. In this exceptional report Dateline NBC and correspondent Maria Shriver avoided these common pitfalls to present a penetrating, revealing look at how four single mothers responded to Wisconsin’s historic attempt to end welfare. Dateline NBC invested a year in examining the lives of these women, and followed their successes and setbacks with commendable balance. Correspondent Shriver did an excellent job depicting the lives of these women, and interviewing the state’s welfare reform architect, Gov. Tommy Thompson. As a result, viewers came away with... read more

  • Dr. Katz: Professional Therapist
    1998
    Dr. Katz: Professional Therapist

    Nowadays, it seems that any comedian with a small following is fated to have his or her own television program. Most of these efforts are mediocre, some achieve excellence, a few even win Peabodys. So far, this is the first reported instance of a comedian making a successful transition from comedy club to “squigglevision.” Dr. Katz: Professional Therapist is the brainchild of comedian Jonathan Katz and partner Tom Snyder, who serve as writers and executive producers, along with co-producers Nancy Geller, Tim Braine, Kevin Meagher, Niki Hebert, Loren Bouchard, and supervising producer John Fisher. The program centers on the life... read more

  • Frank Lloyd Wright
    1998
    Frank Lloyd Wright

    America’s most renowned architect built a wealth of famous structures, while at the same time, he burned bridges between himself, his family, and his colleagues. Filmmaker Ken Burns and his longtime collaborator, Lynn Novick, masterfully told both sides of this story in their remarkable PBS documentary Frank Lloyd Wright. As Mr. Burns has said, “In the end, you have to forgive his excesses, his ego, his sensitivities, his horrible relations with his kids, and realize, on balance, that here was an extraordinary contribution to history.” Indeed. The three-hour production, in which Ms. Novick received her first co-director credit, brilliantly combined... read more

  • FRONTLINE: Washington’s Other Scandal
    1998
    FRONTLINE: Washington’s Other Scandal

    Among the thousands (if not millions) of hours devoted to political scandal in 1998, this report may ultimately prove to be the most significant. In this special FRONTLINE report, correspondent Bill Moyers reveals the corrupting influence of fund raising in the electoral process, and suggests that nothing less than the future of democracy may be at stake. As correspondent Moyers says, “Politics today has become an arms race, with money instead of missiles. One side escalates and the other follows suit faster and faster. The spiral is spinning and today this arms race is undermining our system of self-government.” That... read more

  • HBO Sports Documentaries
    1998
    HBO Sports Documentaries

    Under the guidance of Seth Abraham and Ross Greenburg, HBO’s sports documentaries have been in a league of their own throughout the 1990s. Lyrical, revealing, and invariably touching all the bases, productions ranging from When It Was a Game to Babe Ruth to the recent Sugar Ray Robinson: The Bright Lights and Dark Shadows of a Champion have given viewers a sharp perspective on sports and sports figures. Their exploits are celebrated, as they should be. But we also learn what made sports heroes tick, and in some cases, ticking time bombs. HBO’s biography of Sonny Liston, the ill-fated heavyweight... read more

  • I Must Keep Fightin’: The Art of Paul Robeson
    1998
    I Must Keep Fightin’: The Art of Paul Robeson

    I Must Keep Fightin’: The Art of Paul Robeson tells the story of the legendary athlete, actor, singer and international civil rights activist, who rose to greatness against the odds during the segregationist era. Robeson’s status as an advocate for civil rights and as a supporter of the Soviet Union eventually cost him his career. He did not hesitate to speak his mind. Late in the 1940s, when taking a dissenting stand was ill-advised, he openly challenged the idea that African-Americans should serve in the military of a country that sanctioned racism. Around that time—at the height of his popularity—he... read more

  • Mobil Masterpiece Theatre: King Lear
    1998
    Mobil Masterpiece Theatre: King Lear

    In one of the best and most imaginative approaches to television in years, Mobil Masterpiece Theatre brought Shakespeare’s King Lear to a wider audience. King Lear is the story of an old man’s attempt to manipulate his daughters’ love. In this masterful, eye-catching effort, director Richard Eyre’s award-winning 1997 London stage production was creatively restaged for television by executive producers Simon Curtis and Rebecca Eaton and producers Sue Birtwistle and Joy Spink. The austere stage set, innovative lighting and production design, and unusual costuming perfectly complimented the accomplished ensemble cast, headed by Ian Holm as Lear. Other fine actors in... read more

  • NYPD Blue: Raging Bulls
    1998
    NYPD Blue: Raging Bulls

    A Peabody winner in 1996, this landmark ABC police drama is honored with its second award for an indelible episode that brought racial tensions to a boil between white detective Andy Sipowicz and black Lt. Arthur Fancy. In “Raging Bulls,” the two characters sought to settle their differences with a fistfight that left each man bloodied and emotionally spent. The altercation lasted just several seconds, but its sound and fury spoke volumes about the larger social issues involved in race relations, especially among and between police officers, “perps,” and the public at large. Dennis Franz continues to bring guttural power... read more

  • Performance Today
    1998
    Performance Today

    For 12 years, Performance Today has entertained and educated listeners about an increasingly neglected musical genre—classical music. The show, a mainstay of National Public Radio’s schedule, airs daily and features performances by well-known and emerging performers and world-class orchestras. Performance Today also includes insightful commentary and useful news and information about classical music, brought to listeners by host Martin Goldsmith. Mr. Goldsmith maintains an informal yet serious approach to his subject, with the intention of not only entertaining listeners, but informing them as well. During the course of a typical show, he meets with and interviews musicians, introduces classical music... read more

  • Personal Award: Christiane Amanpour for International Reporting on Cable News Network and “CBS News: 60 Minutes”
    1998
    Personal Award: Christiane Amanpour for International Reporting on Cable News Network and “CBS News: 60 Minutes”

    This past year has seen an abundance of criticism of television news, much of it deserved. By now, we’ve witnessed many of the excesses and heard most of the reasons: competition, fragmented audiences, the blurring line between entertainment and information, and on and on. Against this backdrop of hype, exaggeration, tabloidization and increasing irrelevancy, the international news reporting by Christiane Amanpour stands out. Reporting from the scene of virtually ever source of global conflict for Cable News Network and CBS News: 60 Minutes, Ms. Amanpour reveals the fearlessness and tenacity that are her trademarks. Moreover, as the Peabody Board noted... read more

  • Personal Award: Jac Venza
    1998
    Personal Award: Jac Venza

    This year, television officially begins its second half-century. While many observers might dispute Newton Minow’s characterization of the medium as a “vast wasteland,” few would challenge Edward R. Murrow’s early observation that without leadership, television would amount to little more than a collection of glowing tubes and wires in a box. There is one giant who spans virtually all of TV’s first 50 years and represents both its greatest aspirations and its highest achievements. Jac Venza has been a major figure in the medium since 1950. He honed his craft first as a designer and subsequently as a director and... read more

  • Personal Award: Linda Ellerbee, Host of “Nick News”
    1998
    Personal Award: Linda Ellerbee, Host of “Nick News”

    In making the announcement of this year’s Peabody Awards, chairman of the board Neil Aronstam noted, “In a year when the Clinton/Monica Lewinsky story dominated the news, it is significant to note that Linda Ellerbee’s Nick News reporting on the Clinton scandal was the only coverage of this year-long ordeal that Peabody honored and felt worthy of recognition. Ellerbee’s straightforward explanation to her young audience proved to be the most insightful telling of the story both for children and adults alike.” That outstanding episode of Nick News was worthy of Peabody recognition. But, as the Peabody Board reviewed hundreds of... read more

  • Personal Award: Robert Halmi Sr.
    1998
    Personal Award: Robert Halmi Sr.

    Producer Robert Halmi Sr. is a dreamer and more important, a doer, in times when network television sorely needs both. In the past several seasons, Mr. Halmi has stood virtually alone as a true impresario of the small screen. His 1996 adaptation of Gulliver’s Travels for NBC was considered a giant gamble by both the network and assorted naysayers. But the four-hour production’s critical and commercial success instead spurred equally ambitious Halmi productions, such as The Odyssey, Merlin, Moby Dick and Alice in Wonderland. “I’m filling a void more than anything else,” Mr. Halmi has said. “Nobody else is doing... read more

  • Shot Through the Heart
    1998
    Shot Through the Heart

    Based on the dramatic and tragic true-life story of two men living in Bosnia at the start of that country’s civil war, Shot Through the Heart is a television film that reveals the effects of war on friendship and family. Vlado Sarzinsky and Slavko Simic were best friends and teammates on the Yugoslav National Rifle Team. Vlado, a Croat married to a Muslim, and Slavko, of Serbian descent, were swept into the conflict in Sarajevo. As the film develops with dramatic effectiveness, Vlado’s family fled their home, while Slavko abandoned his to become an officer in the Serbian Army. Vlado... read more

  • Sisterhood of Hope
    1998
    Sisterhood of Hope

    After the lives of her husband and infant daughter had been claimed by AIDS, Teresa Case faced a terrifying and lonely future. In her hometown she found few support services for women and children with HIV/AIDS. In 1991, Ms. Case turned her own living room into a support center for women and children affected by HIV/AIDS. As a symbol of the commitment, Ms. Case and seven friends in similar circumstances each placed $5 in the center of a holiday dinner table, and the House of Ruth was born. WHAS reporter Mary Jeffries spent several months documenting the lives of the... read more

  • The American Experience: America 1900
    1998
    The American Experience: America 1900

    What was it like a hundred years ago when America last faced a new century? That is the subject of this fascinating and revealing three-hour special presentation by the distinguished American Experience series. Producer David Grubin, along with co-writer Judy Crichton and the simply perfect narration of David McCullough, take us back to a time when the future was anticipated with buoyant optimism, when faith in technology as a solution for social ills was unquestioned, and the abiding belief was that the American experiment in democracy would bring joyous, ever-lasting peace to the whole world. As we now know all... read more

  • The American Experience: Riding the Rails
    1998
    The American Experience: Riding the Rails

    They were called “hobos.” They were called “bums.” During the Great Depression, they faced long bread lines in cities or the dust bowl of a rural famine. They were teenagers, most of them, and today we might call them “the homeless.” It is estimated that as many as a quarter million teenagers were homeless during the Great Depression and an uncounted number of them spent their days in search of work, a meal, or adventure by hopping freight cars. This film is a stirring tribute to those teens who jumped fences into train yards and spent days and nights atop... read more

  • The Baby Dance
    1998
    The Baby Dance

    Showtime’s The Baby Dance is an extraordinarily powerful and haunting television film written and directed by Jane Anderson and based on her play. The emotions are raw, the dialogue crackling and the performances magnificent and achingly real in her story about two couples from clashing universes whose lives intersect explosively one sweltering Louisiana summer. Laura Dern and Richard Lineback play Wanda and Al LeFauve, a backwoodsy Shreveport couple who live in a cramped trailer home, already have four children, and are too poor to keep the fifth that Wanda is carrying. Stockard Channing and Peter Riegert are monied Rachel and... read more

  • The Bear
    1998
    The Bear

    Computer-generated animation and a frenetic, flashy, fast-paced production style have come to characterize much of children’s television. The Bear, an enchanting and magical animated tale directed by Hilary Audus, with executive producer Paul Madden, art director Joanna Harrison, and producer John Coates, reminds us that the greatest children’s programs are often wordless, patient, and uncomplicated. The Bear is simply a beautiful film that presents a timeless story about wonder and love, with equal appeal to children and adults. Based on the Raymond Briggs storybook, The Bear is lushly animated and is presented with a lyrical musical score. The combination provides... read more

  • The Human Body
    1998
    The Human Body

    The Human Body takes viewers on a voyage through the seven ages of existence using state-of-the-art photography and specially devised medical imaging to reveal how our bodies really work. Two years in the making, this extraordinary seven-part documentary series is presented by professor Robert Winston, Britain’s leading fertility expert. Each part of the series is illustrated with real stories, from a baby’s birth, to the gradual yet dignified decline and death of a man afflicted with inoperable stomach cancer. Executive producers Alan Bookbinder and Lorraine Heggessey, and series producer Richard Dale, blend stunning scientific images with the life experiences of... read more

  • The Larry Sanders Show: Flip
    1998
    The Larry Sanders Show: Flip

    Its all-too-brief run of six seasons on HBO was longer than many of television’s real-life late night talk shows. And to many viewers, The Larry Sanders Show must have seemed more real than any of them. Such was the power of both its satire and its behind-the-scenes looks at the egos and insecurities of Larry, his staff, and the many stars who played absurdist versions of themselves to perfection. Last May’s one-hour grand finale brought down the curtain in rousing fashion with a star-studded classic. From Jim Carrey’s riotous send-up of show biz phoniness, to a green room altercation among... read more

  • The Olympic Bribery Scandal
    1998
    The Olympic Bribery Scandal

    The Peabody Awards have long championed courage, diligence and investigative zeal in local news reporting, and the work of Chris Vanocur and the staff of KTVX-TV News is particularly laudable. In November 1998, Vanocur and KTVX-TV uncovered the Olympic bribery scandal, having obtained a draft letter from the Salt Lake City Olympic Committee. The letter contained a passage that proved that the college tuition of the daughter of an International Olympic Committee (I.O.C.) member had been paid for by the Salt Lake Olympic Committee. Vanocur, the station’s chief political reporter, had been investigating the budget issues, land deals and potential... read more

  • The Practice
    1998
    The Practice

    The creation of executive producer and writer David E. Kelley, The Practice is consistently clever and emotionally gripping. This compelling drama features a group of young Boston trial lawyers who fight for the disenfranchised, and often with each other, while viciously taking on prosecutors in the process. The show benefits from one of network television’s strongest ensemble casts, who adeptly transform Kelley’s vision into a weekly hour of smart repartee. Overseeing the firm is idealistic Bobby Donnell (played by Dylan McDermott), with a cool, Bond-like ruthlessness and a willingness to take on any client ... as long as the money’s... read more

  • The Reckoning
    1998
    The Reckoning

    For the past 17 years, correspondent Carol Marin and producer Don Moseley have chronicled the story of Joel Sonnenberg, a remarkable young man who was horribly disfigured in a fiery truck crash in 1979. Joel, now a college student in North Carolina, is interviewed by Ms. Marin, whose questions are as direct and unflinching as are the young man’s answers about how he has survived and triumphed against overwhelming odds. In The Reckoning, presented on Public Eye with Bryant Gumbel, Joel and his family attain a sense of closure when they finally confront the truck driver whose negligent actions robbed... read more

  • Travis
    1998
    Travis

    Under the extraordinary direction of the late filmmaker Richard Kotuk, the story of Travis Jefferies is told. Travis is a document of three years in the complex life of a remarkable child with full-blown AIDS, and the unwavering love and support of his grandmother, Mrs. Geneva Jefferies, who has committed herself fully to caring for her sick grandchild. Travis and Mrs. Jefferies live in the South Bronx, a place Mr. Kotuk tells us where there are more than 50,000 people with AIDS, almost 10 precent of whom are children and teenagers. It is a place where 7,000 children have been... read more

  • When Good Men Do Nothing
    1998
    When Good Men Do Nothing

    Originally presented on the British public affairs program Panorama, this international co-production provided important evidence that the 1994 genocide in Rwanda had been foretold and could have been prevented. In this harrowing hour, reporter Steve Bradshaw’s third documentary about the genocide in Rwanda, it was revealed that the United Nations first ignored warnings of genocide, then pretended that the genocide wasn’t really happening, and finally when the massacres began to become public the U. N. Security Council made hollow promises to stop the butchery. At the heart of the reporting were personal stories: of journalists, powerless to save those pleading... read more