Winner, along with Showtime’s "Homeland," HBO’s "Game of Thrones" and "Treme," NBC’s "Parks and Recreation" and IFC’s "Portlandia," in the 71st annual George Foster Peabody Awards.
What is "Jeopardy!"?
Yes, Alex, it’s April, when the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication honors achievements in television – and other "electronic media" – with awards blessedly unaccompanied by lame production numbers and E! Entertainment red-carpet coverage. (The awards will be presented May 21 at a luncheon in New York, hosted by actor Patrick Stewart.)
Best of all, the Peabodys don’t bother with categories, avoiding the head-scratching dilemmas posed by, say, the Emmys, where the lines between comedy and drama, and series and miniseries, have become meaningless.
This year’s winners, announced Wednesday morning, are, as usual, an eclectic group. Aside from the entertainment shows mentioned above – the citation for "Jeopardy!" was, appropriately phrased as an answer ("Encouraging, celebrating and rewarding knowledge is this Peabody Award winner’s legacy") – news and information figured heavily, with honorees ranging from PBS, NPR and the BBC to Comedy Central’s "The Colbert Report," singled out for Colbert’s launching of his own Super PAC "as a satirical protest against megabucks politics."
Here’s the complete list of this year’s Peabody winners:
CNN’s Reporting of the Arab Spring including Worldwide Coverage: Egypt –Wave of Discontent and Uprising in Libya (CNN)
With seasoned correspondents already stationed throughout the Middle East, CNN was prepared when revolution began to leap like wildfire across the region.
An outgrowth of a 1984 conference that brought together leaders in technology, entertainment and design (TED), the site makes creative thinkers and their ideas available everywhere, anytime.
American Experience (PBS)
American Experience in association with Apograph Productions, Firelight Media and Q-Ball Productions
Three exceptional documentaries – Triangle Fire, Freedom Riders and Stonewall Uprising – are recognized this year under the banner of this grand American history anthology.
Native Foster Care: Lost Children, Shattered Families (NPR member stations)
National Public Radio
This three-part report detailed how cultural bias and possible financial gain led North Dakota and 32 other states to ignore federal law barring the separation of Native American children from their families or tribes.
POV: My Perestroika (PBS)
American Documentary/POV/Red Square Productions, Bungalow Town Productions, ITVS International in association with YLE
Russia’s past, present and possible future are revealed in nuanced detail by this beautifully constructed film about five schoolmates, now adults, who lived through that country’s difficult transition from communism.
The Colbert Report – Super PAC Segments (Comedy Central)
Hello Doggie Inc., Busboy Productions, Spartina Productions, Comedy Central
Launching his own Super PAC as a satirical protest against megabucks politics, Colbert mixed cerebral comedy with inspired sight gags, interviews and preposterously funny monologues.
CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute (CNN, CNN International, CNN Espanol)
CNN, Done & Dusted (aka Fun & Trusted)
The star-studded, televised tribute is the culmination of a year-long effort to identify and reward 10 people from around the world who’ve made truly significant differences in the lives of others.
StoryCorps 9/11 (NPR Morning Edition)
StoryCorps, NPR, POV, National September 11 Memorial & Museum
The oral history project’s powerful response to the 9/11 anniversary presented authorized excerpts from interviews with survivors and victims’ relatives as well as YouTube postings of short animated features inspired by their remembrances.
With access to more than 2,000 journalists and the BBC’s 72 overseas news bureaus, the site is uniquely situated to provide immediate, evolving coverage of news events great and small.
Who Killed Chea Vichea? (KBDI Denver and other NETA stations)
Loud Mouth Films, Limited, Independent Television Service (ITVS)
This investigative documentary, produced on a shoestring budget, covers the 2004 assassination of a Cambodian trade union leader and exposes corruption in one of the world’s top exporters of low-cost clothing.
News Magazine: People’s Republic of Cheating and
Misjudged Cases (TVB Jade Channel)
Television Broadcasts Limited, Hong Kong
The Hong Kong-based magazine series excelled on two reports, one dealing with the spurious and plagiarized academic publications and dissertations, the other with unjust arrests and prosecutions.
Showtime Presents, Teakwood Lane Productions, Cherry Pie Productions, Keshet, Fox 21
This serial drama from Showtime is a game of cat and mouse, a psychological thriller and a Rorschach test of post-9/11 doubts, fears and suspicions rolled into one.
The Untold Stories of the Tsunami in Japan (Fuji Television)
Fuji Television Network, Inc.
Detailed, thorough and heart-stopping, this reliving of the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster painstakingly combines familiar and unseen video, expert commentary and interviews with survivors.
Human Rights Watch:
Acting Up: Russia’s Civil Society (www.newyorker.com) and
Gold’s Costly Dividend: The Porgera Joint Venture (www.hrw.org)
The New Yorker, Human Rights Watch
These arresting, detailed online reports combine photography, video, interviews and written analysis. One documents Russian dissidents, the other the abuse of inhabitants of a remote part of Papua New Guinea by mine security personnel.
Earth Made of Glass (HBO)
Clover and A Bee Films, 33&Out, Inc. in association with HBO Documentary Films
This moving documentary explores how Rwanda is dealing with its horrific legacy of genocide. Both the country’s president and an ordinary survivor offer personal perspectives.
Arab Spring from Egypt to Libya (NPR member stations)
National Public Radio
Eloquently describing events or passing her microphone to everyday protesters or regime supporters, NPR foreign correspondent Lourdes Garcia-Navarro provided exemplary coverage throughout the Middle East.
Restoring the American Dream: Fixing Education and
CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS: Interpretation and Commentary on Iran (CNN)
Zakaria applies his interviewing and analytical skills to impressive effect in his prime-time special devoted to America’s education quandary and in his measured, insightful ruminations on Iran.
Independent Lens, Bhutto Film, LLC
In this documentary, former Pakistani president Benazir Bhutto’s life story unfolded like an epic novel, with a fairy tale beginning, a martyr’s death and years of social awakening and political courage in between.
Blown Deadline Productions in association with HBO Entertainment
The storylines snake and swoop like an unhurried jazz jam in this rich drama in which everyday people get on with life in post-Katrina New Orleans.
Broadway Video, IFC
A funhouse mirror reflection of Portland, Oregon, a city that takes its progressivism – and its diet – very seriously. The satire is fresh, organic and cage-free.
Their Crime, Your Dime (KING-TV)
KING-TV, Seattle, WA
KING’s investigation of food stamp and welfare scams prompted Washington’s state legislature to fund a $5 million fraud-prevention squad.
Somalia: Land of Anarchy (BBC1)
Six years after his producer was gunned down in Somalia, a BBC reporter returns to provide the world with an unflinching look at life in a failed state.
Al Jazeera’s Coverage of the Arab Awakening (Al Jazeera English)
Al Jazeera English
From December 2010, when protests erupted in Tunisia, through 201, Al Jazeera was a network of record for millions of viewers throughout the world. On-the-ground reporting was thorough, enterprising and brave.
Toxic Secrets (KPHO-TV)
CBS News 5, KPHO, Phoenix
A dying veteran’s confession sparked this powerful account of secretly buried drums of Agent Orange on a South Korean U.S. Army base. Reporter Tammy Leitner traveled to Korea and examined the chemical’s effects on Korean kids and U.S. military personnel.
By turns poignant and exhilarating, this documentary appraises the impact of the 9/11 attacks on five individuals. Their stories illuminate movement from anger and grief to hope, purpose and renewed spirit.
Game of Thrones (HBO)
Bighead, Littlehead, 360 Television, Grok and Generator Productions in association with HBO Entertainment
Adapted from dark-age fantasy books by George R.R. Martin, the series immerses viewers in a multilayered, distinctly imagined world of mysticism and earthiness, fidelity and deceit, wonder and mayhem.
CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley: Inside Syria (CBS)
With a small, disguised camera and no crew, CBS correspondent Clarissa Ward entered Syria posing as a tourist. Her courageous, undercover reporting gave viewers a rare, close-up glimpse of a country falling toward civil war.
Parks and Recreation (NBC)
Universal Television, Deedle-Dee Productions, Fremulon
This shrewd, good-natured comedy about parks department staff in Pawnee, Indiana, never condescends or caricatures. Instead it confronts the characters with problems from the trivial to the serious.
Desert Underwater (KLAS-TV)
KLAS-TV, Las Vegas, NV
The station used a sharply detailed series of reports and a prime-time special to explain how Las Vegas came to take such a crushing hit when the housing bubble burst. The excellent online data base still helps foreclosure-threatened homeowners.
Surviving the Tsunami (NHK)
NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corp.)
Combining its own archival footage with video shot by ordinary citizens, this documentary meticulously examines what happened the day the monster wave hit and what Japan’s people and leaders can learn from it.
Operation Deep Freeze (WEWS-TV)
NewsChannel 5, WEWS-TV, Cleveland
This investigation of Navy personnel unwittingly exposed to radiation at an Antarctica base sparked public hearings by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
American Masters: Charles and Ray Eames – The Architect and the Painter (PBS)
Quest Productions, Bread and Butter Films in association with Thirteen’s American Masters for WNET
This fascinating and visually inventive biography demonstrates that the mid-century "modern" furniture for which the Eamses are best remembered represents merely a fraction of their ingenious and influential design work.
A Year in the Clouds (PTS)
Public Television Service, Taipei, Taiwan
Beautifully photographed, the film records a year among indigenous Taiwanese mountain people who rely on eco-tourism and shared ownership of land and property to support their communal way of life.
ABC News Brian Ross Investigates:
Peace Corps – A Trust Betrayed (ABC)
ABC News 20/20
Looking into the murder of a Peace Corps volunteer in Africa, Ross’ team made stunning discoveries of sexual assaults and official cover-ups. The result was a Congressional investigation of the iconic humanitarian program.
On Location (www.globalpost.com)
Focused on news and events neglected or ignored by other media outlets, the site’s growing cadre of writers and videographers posted video reports from 34 different countries in 2011.
Intersexions (SABC 1)
John Hopkins Health and Education South Africa, Curious Pictures Pty Ltd, Ants Multimedia, SABC Education
Aimed at stemming South Africa’s AIDS epidemic, Intersexions is public service as educational serial entertainment. The HIV virus itself plays a role as a seductive voice in this well-acted, candidly written program focused mostly on young, restless, high-risk adults.
Austin City Limits (PBS)
KLRU-TV, Austin, TX, PBS
Austin City Limits receives a rare Institutional Peabody Award. Thirty-seven seasons on air make it the world’s longest running live music television program. Concerts by the likes of Coldplay, Widespread Panic and Randy Newman made 2011 a banner year for the Lone Star State’s music showcase.
Sony Pictures Television
TV quiz shows for $500, please. "Encouraging, celebrating and rewarding knowledge is this Peabody Award winner’s legacy." Buzzzzz. "What is Jeopardy!?" Correct.