Peabody Awards announced; 'Glee,' 'Modern Family,' NPR among winners
ATHENS, GA. -- The winners of the 2009 Peabody Awards, announced Wednesday, include the ABC sitcom "Modern Family," the Fox network's "Glee," CBS's "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" and HBO's "The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency." The awards recognize achievement and public service by TV and radio stations, networks, producing organizations, individuals and online outlets.
Other winners include the BBC's dramatic reconstruction "The Day That Lehman Died" and National Public Radio's Web site.
"To those who say all media content is the same, or presented from a single perspective, we offer this great range of material as a response," Horace Newcomb, director of the Peabody Awards, said in a statement. "Our selections demonstrate that great work available in 2009 varied widely and appealed to viewers and listeners with very different tastes, interests and concerns."
A ceremony presenting the Peabodys will be held May 17 in New York. It will be hosted by ABC's "World News" anchor Diane Sawyer, who will also receive an award for "A Hidden America: Children of the Mountains," a documentary shot in Appalachia.
Announcing the 69th annual awards, Cully Clark, dean of the University of Georgia's Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, said "Modern Family," which follows the ups and downs of an extended family, "reinvents the situation comedy."
Also honored were "Glee," a musical dramedy about a high school singing club; "In Treatment," HBO's therapy drama; and "The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency," a series about a female detective in Botswana based on the novels by Alexander McCall Smith.
Blurring the line between entertainment and news, CBS's Ferguson, a Scottish-born late-night talk show host, garnered an award for an interview with Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who helped lead opposition to apartheid in South Africa in the 1980s.
The global financial crisis was a common theme among some winners, including "The Day That Lehman Died," PBS's "Frontline: The Madoff Affair" and Oregon Public Broadcasting's "Hard Times."
NPR's Web site was heralded as a model of what a news site should be. The news organization's Kabul bureau chief, Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson, also got a nod for her extensive coverage of life in Afghanistan.
Several local news organizations got laurels. They include Houston's KHOU-TV, for its investigative series "Under Fire: Discrimination and Corruption in the Texas National Guard," which led to the firing of three Texas Guard generals; Chicago's WFLD-TV, for its reporting on the sidewalk beating death of honor student Derrion Albert; and KTVU-TV in Oakland, Calif., for a series of reports on a deadly train station confrontation.
Hong Kong-based Now-Broadband TV News Channel won for "Sichuan Earthquake: One Year On," anniversary coverage of the Chinese quake that asked hard questions about construction standards that may have increased the death toll.
Arts and culture were represented by two "Independent Lens" documentaries: "The Order of Myths," which examined race relations through the prism of Mardi Gras in Mobile, Ala., and "Between the Folds," a study of the art of origami and paper folding. Making mouths water was "Noodle Road," a survey of the Asian culinary staple by South Korea's KBS1 TV.
The Grady College, in Athens, Ga., has administered the Peabodys since the program's inception in 1940.