The Onion wins Peabody Award

Fake news site among those honored

The Onion won a coveted prize at the 68th George Foster Peabody Awards — whether it wanted the kudo or not.

The fake news site plus China’s SCTV (which covered the Sichuan earthquake), YouTube and “Saturday Night Live” didn’t actually submit entries to the Peabody board but the U. of Georgia awarded the prizes anyway.

Onion News Network exec producer Will Graham thanked his “fellow journalists” in his acceptance speech.

The $650-a-plate luncheon ceremony, held at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel Monday, was accompanied by emcee Brian Williams’ joke-filled patter.

At one point the anchor dubbed AMC’s meth-dealer drama “Breaking Bad” “The Wolf Blitzer Story,” and welcomed mid-show viewers by saying, “For those just joining us at the Peabody Awards, our celebration of crystal meth continues.”

A pleased Vince Gilligan, creator of the edgy skein, said he was “amazed that the show is even on the air.”

Scripted winners at the mostly nonfiction awards show also included Nickelodeon cartoon “Avatar: The Last Airbender” and HBO’s “Entourage.” HBO did particularly well at the ceremony, with awards for Maysles Films’ docu “The Gates,” Vermillion’s “Hear and Now” and Ted Leonsis’ “Nanking.”

Maysles Films’ Albert Maysles (co-helmer of the “Grey Gardens” docus) had an eye on the Central Park-based Gates art installation since 1979 when his friends Christo and Jean-Claude dreamed up the idea.

“It took a lot of vision for HBO to see that the film had value,” Maysles said. “Nobody knew what the Gates was going to look like.”

At his table, Williams boosted fellow NBCer Richard Engel and commented on the presence of a chocolate Peabody Award next to each place setting, saying, “Ya know, people have tried to pass it off as the real thing, and they’re beneath contempt.”

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