TV thesps, doc directors and news producers among the honored

Thesps from “Game of Thrones,” “Portlandia” and “Parks and Recreation” mingled Monday with documentary directors, news producers, Benazir Bhutto’s sister and Patrick Stewart at the television industry’s most eclectic annual kudos ceremony, the George Foster Peabody Awards.

In its 71st year, the teeming afternoon event at the Waldorf Astoria hotel honored 38 programs culled from broadcast, cable and the Web. There are no categories and no restrictions on the number of winners, which were announced April 4. Showtime drama “Homeland” took home a Peabody. Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report” won for its SuperPAC segments.

“I want to thank the network for all the freedom they gave us to do this thing that was possibly illegal, and especially Viacom for strongly resisting us doing this thing that was possibly illegal,” Colbert said in his acceptance speech. “This is our accidental Peabody… I was just trying to mock a Tim Pawlenty ad and we didn’t know how to finish our ad and I said, ” ‘Well what’s at the end of his ad?’ and they said ‘Libertypac.com’ and I said, ‘So just put Colbert pac on the end of our ad.’ “

CNN won for its series “CNN Heroes.” CNN, Al Jazeera and PBS all took home statuettes for coverage of the Arab Spring. Also a winner was “Eames – The Architect and the Painter,” the American Masters series from New York’s PBS Channel 13.

Ted.com won for the TED talks (technology, entertainment and design conference). So did long-running gameshow “Jeopardy.”

Host Stewart recalled when his series, “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” when that show won a Peabody in 1987. “As a newcomer to American TV, I didn’t know what a Peabody was. So I went over to the big man (creator Gene Roddenberry) and I asked him, bluntly. Gene’s face reddened… ‘Listen you ignorant Brit. Forget about your Oliviers, forget about your BAFTAs or Emmys, your Golden Globes. There is nothing finer than to receive a Peabody.’ “

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