The George Foster Peabody Awards always presents a diverse mixture of honorees, and the entertainment winners who will be celebrated at the 74th annual awards ceremony in New York this May are no exception. Joining FX’s “Fargo” and “The Americans” in the winners circle are Comedy Central’s “Inside Amy Schumer“; HBO’s “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver“; The CW’s “Jane the Virgin” (which has now netted the channel two major TV awards within its first season); SundanceTV’s “Rectify“; BBC’s “The Honorable Woman“; Cinemax’s “The Knick“; and “Black Mirror” from the UK’s Channel 4.
The 18-member Peabody Board has always taken pride at being ahead of the curve when it comes to recognizing the best of the best in electronic media, be it radio, Internet-based or on television.* As such, each year’s eclectic selection of victors includes a number of TV series that may never get within sniffing distance of the Emmys (Miss Schumer, we’re looking in your direction…but with fondness) as well as a few that certainly will.
News and radio winners will be announced on Monday, April 20 on the official Peabody website, while recipients in the areas of documentary, public service, education, and children’s programming will be revealed on Thursday, April 23.
These winners will be honored at the 74th annual Peabody Awards gala on Sunday, May 31, which marks the first time the Peabody ceremony will be held at night, and as a red carpet event. Previous Peabody honoree Fred Armisen will host the event, which will be broadcast June 21 on Pivot TV.
The Peabody Awards, based at University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, are the oldest and one of the most selective prizes in electronic media, recognizing the finest work by radio and television stations, networks, webcasters, podcasters, producing organizations and individuals.
Keep reading for the written descriptions of each winner, taken from the University’s press release.
74th Peabodys — The Short Citations for Entertainment Winners
The Americans (FX)
Fox Television Studios and FX Productions
In this ingenious, addictive cliffhanger, Reagan-era Soviet spies – married with children and a seemingly endless supply of wigs — operate out of a lovely 3BR home in a suburb of Washington, D.C. Between their nail-biter missions (and sometimes in the midst of them), the series contemplates duty, honor, parental responsibility, fidelity, both nationalistic and marital, and what it means to be an American.
Black Mirror (Channel 4)
This cinematically arresting, brilliantly written series from England is an anthology of dark-side tales – dark as a black hole. If its narrative shocks don’t wreck your sleep pattern, its moral conundrums will.
MGM and FX Productions
“Fargo,” the series, boasts the same snow-swept backdrop and dark, deadpan ambience as the Oscar-winning movie but tells a different, more complicated story. Its villain, Billy Bob Thornton’s mischievous, murderous, charismatic Lorne Malvo, is a character worthy of Norse mythology.
The Honorable Woman (Sundance TV)
BBC Worldwide, Drama Republic, Eight Rooks Productions, Sundance Channel
A visually rich, densely-plotted thriller set against the backdrop of the Israeli-Palestine conflict, it suggests complexities and age-old vendettas that often escape even the best documentaries, to say nothing of the evening news.
Inside Amy Schumer (Comedy Central)
Jax Media LLC
Schumer’s wholesome, disarming “Brady Bunch” looks belie and enhance a comic intelligence that’s smart, distinctively female and amiably profane, whether she’s applying it to sketch comedy, stand-up, or person-on-the-street interviews.
Jane the Virgin (The CW)
Eye Productions Inc., CBS Television Studios Inc., Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc., Electus; RCTV; Poppy Productions.
Immaculately conceived, it’s a smart, self-aware telenovela that knows when and how to wink at itself. Its Latina lead, Gina Rodriguez, is incandescent.
The Knick (Cinemax)
Cinemax Entertainment in association with Ambeg Productions, Anonymous Contend and Extension 765
Graphic, gripping, unapologetically grisly when it has to be, this lavish historical drama masterfully dissects surgical experimentation, doctors’ egos, race relations and socials mores in the New York City of 100 years ago. It gives new meaning to the term “operating theater.”
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)
HBO Entertainment in association with Sixteen String Jack Productions and Avalon Television
A most worthy addition to the news-as-comedy genre, “Last Week Tonight” doesn’t just satirize the previous week’s news, it engages in fresh, feisty investigative reports that “real” news programs would do well to emulate.
Rectify (Sundance TV)
Gran Via Productions, Zip Works
A powerful, subtle dramatic series about a death-row inmate freed after nearly two decades thanks to new DNA evidence, it ponders whether what’s been lost can ever be repaid, not just to him but to everyone he and his alleged crimes touched.
*Full disclosure: IMDb TV Editor Melanie McFarland is a Peabody Board emeritus.