HBO's gritty cop show The Wire, BBC America's cheeky comedy The Office, Nickelodeon's bilingual preschooler favorite Dora the Explorer, and the Showtime TV movie Soldier's Girl were among the recipients of the 63rd annual Peabody Awards, announced Wednesday in Atlanta. The Peabodys, administered by the University of Georgia's Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, aim to put the spotlight on "excellence in electronic media." Winners in 29 categories were selected from more than 1,100 entries of programs that aired last year, Peabody officials said. The awards will be presented May 17 at a luncheon ceremony hosted by NBC's Katie Couric at New York's Waldorf-Astoria Hotel.
The list of this year's winners includes the first Web site to earn a Peabody, which went to the www.Transom.org site, maintained by Atlantic Public Media. The site was recognized by Peabody judges for providing "clear guidance--both technical and conceptual--on how to create original radio productions." Veteran newsman Bill Moyers earned an individual Peabody for his career achievement, with the judges citing his most recent PBS productions, the public-affairs series Now With Bill Moyers and the documentary Becoming American: The Chinese Experience. Viacom and the Kaiser Family Foundation were saluted for their worldwide AIDS education public-awareness campaign "Fight for Your Rights: Protect Yourself" public-education partnership.
The Wire was cited by Peabody judges as a TV drama "that has the depth and intensity of a complex novel." The Office earned its award for delivering laughs but "no predictable jokes, no easy punch lines, no laugh track, and no known stars." Dora the Explorer earned a Peabody for teaching Spanish phrases to its pint-size audience and "emphasiz[ing] the importance of multilingual education." The film Soldier's Girl was selected for its compassionate dramatization and "array of outstanding performances" in retelling the true story of an ill-fated romance between a military serviceman and a transgendered woman.
CBS's 60 Minutes earned another Peabody for its "All in the Family" report about conflicts of interest between government officials and defense contractors. NBC News was recognized for "A Question of Fairness," Tom Brokaw's in-depth report on the affirmative action controversy at the University of Michigan. PBS's NewsHour With Jim Lehrer won for its "Jobless Recovery: Non-Working Numbers" report from correspondent Paul Solman on complex economic issues. PBS's Frontline was cited for its "A Dangerous Business" report, a coproduction with The New York Times and the Canadian Broadcasting Corp., on dangerous manufacturing conditions for workers in America.
The PBS independent-film showcase series P.O.V. picked up two Peabodys: for Flag Wars, about culture and class warfare between gay gentrifiers and African-American homeowners in Columbus, Ohio; and Two Towns of Jasper, a study of the truck-dragging death of a black man in the small Texas town. Other PBS series that earned Peabodys were: Nova ("The Elegant Universe"); Great Performances ("Degas and the Dance") and American Experience ("The Murder of Emmett Till"). TV stations KRON in San Francisco, WCNC in Charlotte, N.C., KHOU in Houston, WESH in Winter Park, Fla., as well as Minnesota Public Radio's KSJN-FM were among the local TV and radio stations honored for news productions.