‘Nightline’ wins Peabody

Alphabet gets nod for Sept. 11 coverage

ABC’s “Nightline” may eventually be replaced by a late-night comic, but with the announcement of the Peabody Awards yesterday, it now has the last laugh.

The judges of the prestigious annual prize for broadcast excellence bestowed the imperiled news program with an institutional award. “A truly remarkable television (show) demonstrating the medium’s capacity to serve a vital social function, offering the best in longform news programming for more than 20 years,” its board said.

Alphabet, which was shut out last year, also got a nod for its news division’s Sept. 11 coverage. As a whole, the awards give its embattled net a booster shot.

“I’m enormously proud of all the men and women of ABC News who, like all Americans, were deeply affected by the devastating attacks on our country and yet worked tirelessly,” ABC News prexy David Westin said. “‘Nightline,’ which celebrates 22 extraordinary years in the air this week, could receive no finer anniversary present than this.”

PBS seized the day, repeating last year’s perf with eight nods, including awards for its “American Masters” series and ExxonMobil Masterpiece Theater’s “Talking Heads II: Miss Fozzard Finds Her Feet.”

HBO also had a little deja vu, capturing five nods for the second year in a row. “Band of Brothers,” “Conspiracy” and “Wit” were among its winners.

Kiddie cabler Nickelodeon had a twofer with “Blues Clues” and “Little Bill,” as did CNN Prods. and Channel 4 International for documentaries “Beneath the Veil” and “Unholy War,” and NPR for its own Sept. 11 coverage and its program “Jazz Files.”

The 61st annual George Foster Peabody Awards were announced in Athens, Ga.

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