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April 3, 2008

WNBC's '30 Rock,' AMC's 'Mad Men,' Bravo's 'Project Runway,' ABC News' Bob Woodruff among 67th Annual Peabody Awards Winners

Brian Williams to host Awards Ceremony on June 16 at New York City's Waldorf-Astoria Hotel

Peabody Awards

Peabody Medallion

ATHENS, Georgia, April 2, 2008 -- Thirty-five recipients of the 67th Annual Peabody Awards were announced today by the University of Georgia's Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. The winners, chosen by the Peabody board as the best in electronic media for 2007, were named in a ceremony in the Peabody Gallery on the University of Georgia Campus.


Grady College

University of Georgia

Recipients include "The Colbert Report," Comedy Central's cable-news satire, and "A Journey Across Afghanistan: Opium and Roses," a documentary from Bulgaria's Balkan News Corporation (bTV).

"Whole Lotta Shakin," the Texas Heritage Music Foundation's rollicking public-radio series chronicling the 1950s heyday of rockabilly music received the award, as did "Univision's Ya Es Hora," a public-service campaign that taught legal aliens how to apply for American citizenship.


PROJECT RUNWAY

Photo: A runway model on Bravo's "Project Runway" showcases a dress and matching vest designed by contestant Victorya Hong during the program's November 21st episode. Sarah Jessica Parker was featured on the show as a guest judge. (Photo Credit: Steve & Barry's, Barbara Nitke)


The entertainment series selected included "30 Rock," Tina Fey's hilarious send-up of TV sketch shows and her own network, NBC; and "Project Runway," Bravo's fashion-designer competition. Peabodys also went to "Mad Men," AMC's richly detailed and evocative drama set in the world of New York advertising in the early 1960s.


Planet Earth BBC

Photo: Two polar bear cubs follow their mother across the ice in Hudson Bay, Canada, during filming of the BBC's landmark series, Planet Earth. Discovery's "Planet Earth," a majestic use of HDTV technology showcasing natural wonders of the world, has been honored with Peabody Award. (Photo: BBC Worldwide Americas, Terry Andrewartha/naturepl.com)


In a strong year for local television news, Dallas' WFAA-TV earned a Peabody for four reports that underscored its commitment to investigative work: "Money for Nothing" revealed slipshod lending practices by the U.S. Export-Import Bank.

A Peabody went to "Speaking of Faith: The Ecstatic Faith of Rumi," from American Public Media. This edition of the long-running series explored resurgent interest in the 13th century Persian poet. "The Brian Lehrer Show," from New York's WNYC, was cited for being true "community-building radio," a shrewd blend of news analysis, civil conversation and call-ins that brings together the city's wildly diverse citizenry.

"White Horse," a beautiful and probing feature segment of BBC America's nightly newscast was recognized for illustrating the human and environmental toll of the Chinese government's massive efforts to modernize its hinterlands. A Peabody went to "CNN Presents: God's Warriors," a three-part, six-hour documentary series that examined the rise and impact of fundamentalism in Judaism, Islam and Christianity.

The Peabody Board is a 16-member group, comprised of television critics, broadcast and cable industry executives and experts in culture and the arts, that judges the entries. Selection is made by the board following review by special screening committees of UGA faculty, students and staff.

The Peabody Awards, the oldest honor in electronic media, do not recognize categories nor are there a set number of awards given each year. Today the Peabody recognizes distinguished achievement and meritorious public service by stations, networks, producing organizations and individuals.

"The range of genres, the variety of topics and the consistently high quality of submissions for Peabody consideration indicated again that amazing work is being done in electronic media," said Horace Newcomb, Director of the Peabody Awards. "The Peabody Board labored through many hours of discussion and deliberation to select these works from among more than a thousand outstanding entries."

"As always," Newcomb said, "it was exciting to discover deeply serious work in entertainment, entertaining work in documentaries, education in news reports and thoughtful perspectives on the news in everything from game shows to parody. The Peabody Awards, in all their diverse and innovative examples, are models for what can and should be done across the board."

The awards will be presented on June 16 at a luncheon at the Waldorf- Astoria Hotel in New York City. Brian Williams, the distinguished anchor and managing editor of "NBC Nightly News," will be the master of ceremonies.


COMPLETE LIST OF 2007 PEABODY AWARD WINNERS

• 30 Rock Universal Media Studios in association with Broadway Video Television and Little Stranger Inc.

Tina Fey's creation is not only a great workplace comedy in the tradition of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," complete with fresh, indelible secondary characters, but also a sly, gleeful satire of corporate media, especially the network that airs it.

• Art:21 - Art in the 21st Century Art:21, Inc.

Trusting artists to speak for themselves and viewers to "get" what they talk about, the PBS series provides a unique forum for the display, analysis and appreciation of myriad forms of contemporary visual art.

• Speaking of Faith: The Ecstatic Faith of Rumi American Public Radio

Delving into the "adventurous, cosmopolitan" Islam of a 13th century Persian poet now enjoying revival worldwide, this public-radio series continues to illuminate connections among people of all faiths.

• Bob Woodruff Reporting: Wounds of War - The Long Road Home of Our Nation's Veterans ABC News

Severely injured by a roadside bomb in Iraq, Woodruff made wounded veterans and their struggle with recovery and red tape his special focus and served them well with his sensitive, dogged reporting.

• Money for Nothing, The Buried and the Dead, Television Justice, Kinder Prison WFAA-TV

The Dallas station distinguished itself with not one but four investigative series in 2007, probing dubious practices by the U.S. Export-Import Bank, the Texas Railroad Commission, a police department that got too cozy with a TV sexual-predator sting operation and a Homeland Security Prison holding immigrant families.

• Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial NOVA/WGBH Educational Foundation, Vulcan Productions Inc., The Big Table Film Company

The centerpiece of this thoughtful, topical edition of NOVA was the recreation, verbatim, of key testimony and argument from a six-week trial in Pennsylvania that served as a crash course in modern evolutionary theory, the evidence for evolution and the nature of science.

• Whole Lotta Shakin' Texas Heritage Music Foundation

A red-hot retrospective of rockabilly music, this 10-part series distributed by Public Radio International blended rare interviews, archival radio broadcasts and foot-stomping tunes by obscure practitioners as well as legends such as Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins.

• White Horse BBC World News America, BBC America, BBC World

Uncommonly beautiful for a nightly news feature, but no less trenchant for being artful, it captured a rustic, sleepy inland village on the verge of obliteration by the Chinese government in its attempt to further the country's economic miracle.

• Just Words The Center for Emerging Media

Mark Steiner's 55 weekly radio reports, four minutes each, gave voice to marginalized people -- low-wage workers, recovering drug addicts, the homeless -- who rarely get to speak for themselves in the mainstream media and, in doing so, made common social issues immediate and personal.

• CNN Presents: God's Warriors CNN

In six hours over three nights, CNN explored how rising fundamentalist disenchantment with the modern, secular world has affected Judaism, Islam and Christianity in sometimes similar but also different ways.

• Dexter Showtime, John Goldwyn Productions, The Colleton Company, Clyde Phillips Productions

With a premise that questions our fondness for avenging heroes -- a serial killer who channels his dark urges into police forensics and the killing of other sociopaths -- this Showtime series is a masterful psychological thriller and a complex and ambiguous meditation on morality.

• Planet Earth Discovery Channel, BBC

Awesome, spectacular, humbling, exhilarating -- pick your effusive adjective -- the 11-part series documented the natural wonders of our world, some familiar, others never before seen, in stunning high-definition clarity.

• CBS News Sunday Morning: The Way Home CBS News

Two unflinchingly candid women who lost limbs while serving in the military in Iraq were the centerpiece of this powerful, thought-provoking report by correspondent Kimberly Dozier, a recovering war casualty herself.

• Fight for Open Records WTAE-TV

The Pittsburgh station's relentless legal campaign to obtain public records of a state-run student loan program netted evidence of financial misconduct and pushed the state to rewrite an antiquated right-to-know law.

• To Die in Jerusalem HBO Documentary Films in association with Priddy Brothers

The anguish of the Israeli-Palestine conflict was embodied in this frank documentary about two mothers who lost their respective teenaged daughters, one a suicide bomber, the other her victim.

• Design Squad WGBH Educational Foundation

Created to inspire boys and girls in their 'tweens and teens to consider an engineering profession, this lively, fast-paced series puts an educational emphasis into the reality-competition television format.

• Craft in America: Memory, Landscape and Community Craft in America Inc.

This three-hour chronicle of America's rich, ongoing traditions of weaving, quilting, woodworking and other craft art was as carefully wrought and as beautifully shot as its subject matter.

• Univision's Ya Es Hora Univision Communications

More than a million legal Hispanic immigrants sought U.S. citizenship as the result of Univision's multi-faceted campaign to explain the benefits and responsibilities of becoming citizens and how to go about applying.

• NATURE: Silence of the Bees Partisan Pictures, Inc., Thirteen/WNET New York

The first in-depth investigation of an alarming, world-wide die-off of honeybees, this documentary underscored the critical role of these pollinators to our food supply and surveyed the forensics that have yet to solve the mystery.

• A Journey Across Afghanistan: Opium and Roses Balkan News Corporation - bTV

Surprising and visually distinctive, this Bulgarian news network's road trip yielded a rare, everyday Afghan perspective on the fighting between Taliban and western troops, while revealing fascinating efforts to supplant the growing of opium poppies with rose bushes to produce rose oil.

• The MTT Files American Public Media, San Francisco Symphony

Conductor Michael Tilson Thomas brought his wealth of knowledge and idiosyncratic insight to bear on subjects as diverse as Igor "Firebird" Stravinsky and James "Cold Sweat" Brown in this delightful, surprising public-radio series.

• Project Runway Bravo, The Weinstein Company, The Magical Elves, Full Picture

A series that redeems the reality-contest genre, this face-off competition among upstart fashion designers demands, displays and ultimately rewards creativity that can't be bluffed.

• Taxi to the Dark Side Jigsaw Pictures, Tall Woods, Wider Film, ZDF/ARTE

The brutal death of an Afghani cab driver while in U.S. military custody gave director Alex Gibney the central thread of his searing exploration of detainee interrogation techniques and who, ultimately, bears responsibility.

• Security Risks at Sky Harbor KNXV-TV

This Phoenix station's unnerving expose of outrageous lapses in baggage-screening at the city's main airport shook up the Transportation Security Administration all the way to Washington, D.C.

• Wait, Wait ... Don't Tell Me! National Public Radio, Chicago Public Radio, Urgent Haircut Productions

A zippy update of one of broadcasting's long-ago staples, this live quiz show reminds listeners of the week's news even as host Peter Sagal and various panelists make witty sport of it.

• Independent Lens: Sisters in Law Vixen Films, Independent Television Service (ITVS)

Directors Kim Longinotto and Florence Ayisi make viewers flies on the wall of a small-town courthouse in Cameroon overseen by two dynamic, wisecracking, larger-than-life sisters - one the court's president, the other its state prosecutor - who are helping women stand up to abuse.

• Virginia Tech Shooting: The First 48 Hours WSLS-TV

Covering the worst mass shooting in United States history and its immediate aftermath, the news staff of this station in Roanoke, Virginia, demonstrated knowledge of their community, mastery of their journalistic craft and remarkable, much-needed calm.

• The Brian Lehrer Show: Radio That Builds Community Rather Than Divides WNYC Radio

Lehrer's talk show is a wide open yet shrewdly managed forum in which every sort of political, social and cultural issue is considered and where New Yorkers, in all their diversity, can get to know each other.

• Nimrod Nation Sundance Channel, Public Road Productions, Wieden and Kennedy

The subject of Brett Morgen's lyrical, unhurried, eight-part exploration of small town life is Watersmeet, Michigan, a folksy hamlet reminiscent of Mayberry and Lake Wobegone, but undeniably, hearteningly real.

• FRONTLINE: Cheney's Law FRONTLINE, Kirk Documentary Group, Ltd., WGBH-Boston

In a strongly researched and reported hour that sometimes played like a political thriller, "FRONTLINE" traced the Bush Administration's expansion of Presidential wartime powers to a determined, secretive campaign by the Vice President, that stretches back three decades.

• mtvU: Half of Us mtvU

Responding to studies that have shown that nearly half of all college students have experienced bouts of disabling depression, mtvU created an impressive, multi-platform campaign that includes public-service spots and a comprehensive website where students can get information, advice, even upbeat music.

• Independent Lens: Billy Strayhorn - Lush Life

Robert Levi Films, Independent Television Service (ITVS) Along with celebrating the work of the often overlooked arranger and composer ("Take the 'A' Train") who was crucial to Duke Ellington's sound and success, the documentary sensitively explored the homophobia that kept Strayhorn in the shadows.

• CBS News 60 Minutes: The Killings in Haditha CBS News, 60 Minutes

This thorough, open-minded investigation of the worst single killing of civilians by American troops since Vietnam put not just the incident into better perspective but the entire Iraq War and the terrible choices it presents both soldier and civilian.

• Mad Men AMC, Lionsgate Pictures Television

The way they were on Madison Avenue, in the Manhattan towers and the bedroom communities of New York, circa 1960, is recalled in rich detail and a haze of cigarette smoke in this exemplary period dramatic series.

• The Colbert Report Hello Doggie Inc., Busboy Productions, and Spartina Productions

Let none dare call it "truthiness." Colbert, in his weeknight Comedy Central send-up of politics and all that is bombastic and self-serving in cable-news bloviasion, has come into his own as one of electronic media's sharpest satirists.

Source: Peabody Awards

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