Cable originals, public TV honored

“Breaking Bad,” “Entourage,” “Lost” and “Saturday Night Live’s” political satire are among the George Foster Peabody Award honorees for 2008.

PBS programs earned a total of six Peabody nods, while HBO garnered five.

In all, there were 36 electronic-media awards, chosen by a jury assembled by the U. of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism & Mass Communication. There are no noms or award categories for the recognized programs.

The Peabody Awards ceremony is set for May 18 at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York. NBC News anchor Brian Williams will host.

In the digital realm, YouTube, the New York Times website and the satirical Onion News Network were recognized.

Other honorees include cabler Turner Classic Movies; NBC news division’s “Richard Engel Reports: The Tip of the Spear,” about the dangers American soldiers face in Afghanistan; and the Peacock’s coverage of the Opening Ceremony of the Beijing Olympics.

Aside from “Lost,” ABC was honored for its medical reality skein “Hopkins.”

Other networks represented included CBS (“60 Minutes”), ESPN (“Black Magic”) and Nickelodeon (“Avatar: The Last Airbender”). On the radio side, honorees included “The Giant Pool of Money,” the co-production of Chicago Public Radio’s “This American Life” and NPR examining the causes of the mortgage crisis.

PBS’ wins include nods for the “Independent Lens” docs “King Corn” and “Mapping Stem Cell Research: Terra Incognita” and segs of “Nova” and “P.O.V.”

In addition to “Entourage,” HBO’s trophies went to mini “John Adams” and docus “The Gates,” “Hear and Now” and “Nanking.”

At NBC, the 2008 presidential campaign paid off for “Saturday Night Live,” which was acknowledged not only for its entertainment value but for how it “may have swayed the race itself.”

YouTube was cited as being an “ever-expanding archive-cum-bulletin board that both embodies and promotes democracy.”

With its win for “Breaking Bad,” AMC is now two-for-two in Peabodys with its original drama series, following last year’s win by “Mad Men.”

ABC’s “Lost” was cited for “breezily mixing metaphysics, quantum physics, romance and cliffhanger action” in a thriller that has “rewritten the rules of television fiction.”

“The works recognized by the Peabody board this year not only reflect great diversity of content and genre but also true technical innovation and the varied roles of new distribution systems,” said Peabody director Horace Newcomb.

Go to Variety.com/awardcentral for a complete list of winners.

  • NBC Coverage of 2008 Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremony and Zhang Yimou (NBC)
  • ”This American Life: The Giant Pool of Money” (Public Radio International/NPR)
  • Coverage of 2008 Presidential Primary Campaigns and Debates (CNN)
  • ”Entourage” (HBO)
  • ”Depression: Out of the Shadows” (PBS)
  • The New York Times Web site (www.nytimes.com)
  • ”Black Magic” (ESPN)
  • ”Jungle Fish” (KBS 2TV)
  • ”China: The Earthquake of Chengdu” (National Public Radio)
  • ”NOAH Housing Program Investigation” (WWL-TV)
  • ”Hopkins” (ABC)
  • ”Saturday Night Live” Political Satire, 2008 (NBC)
  • ”John Adams” (HBO)
  • ”Here and Now” (HBO)
  • ”Washington Week with Gwen Ifill” (PBS & pbs.org/weta/washingtonweek)
  • ”Independent Lens: King Corn” (PBS)
  • ”Breaking Bad” (AMC)
  • ”The Gates” (HBO)
  • ”The Red Race” (Shanghai TV Station)
  • ”36 Years in Solitary: Murder, Death and Justice on Angola” (NPR/All Things Considered)
  • ”Avatar: The Last Airbender” (NICK)
  • ”Crossfire: Water, Power and Politics” (KLAS-TV, Las Vegas)
  • ”Ape Genius” (PBS)
  • ”CBS News 60 Minutes: Lifeline” (CBS)
  • ”Lost” (ABC)
  • ”Sichuan Earthquake Coverage” (Sichuan Television)
  • ”Independent Lens: Mapping Stem Cell Research — Terra Incognita” (PBS)
  • ”P.O.V.: Campaign” (PBS)
  • ”Failing the Children: Deadly Mistakes” (KMGH-TV)
  • ”Richard Engel Reports: Tip of the Spear” (NBC)
  • ”The Metropolitan Opera: Live in HD Series” (The Metropolitan Opera Association)
  • ”Nanking” (HBO)
  • Hearst-Argyle Television: Commitment 2008(Hearst-Argyle Stations)
  • Onion News Network (www.theonion.com)
  • Turner Classic Movies (TCM)
  • YouTube (www.youtube.com)

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