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John Oliver, Amy Schumer, ‘Black Mirror,’ ‘Rectify,’ ‘The Americans’ Among Peabody Winners

The 74th annual Peabody Awards will be handed out to a typically eclectic list of entertainment programs, ranging from the ribald “Inside Amy Schumer” to the incisive “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver” to lower-profile critical darlings including Channel 4’s “Black Mirror” and SundanceTV’s “Rectify.”

The CW continued its kudos hot streak with “Jane the Virgin” also landing the coveted trophy from the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication.

FX grabbed two, with “Fargo” and “The Americans” making the cut. SundanceTV was also recognized for miniseries “The Honorable Woman.” HBO got the nod for Steven Soderbergh’s period medical drama “The Knick.”

The Peabody org noted that this year’s entertainment selections featured a high volume of strong roles for women, from Schumer’s unabashedly raunchy comedy to Keri Russell’s icy Soviet spy in “Americans” to Gina Rodriguez’s infectiously charming Jane to “Honorable Woman” Maggie Gyllenhaal in a potboiler set against the backdrop of Mideast politics.

Additional Peabody winners in the news and radio categories will be announced April 20; documentary, public service, kidvid and educational winners will be unveiled April 23.

The kudos will be handed out May 31 in a ceremony at Cipriani Wall Street hosted by “Portlandia” star (and two-time Peabody winner) Fred Armisen.

Here is the Peabody org’s rundown on this year’s winners:

The Americans (FX)
Fox Television Studios and FX Productions
In this ingenious, addictive cliffhanger, Reagan-era Soviet spies – married with children and a seemingly endless supply of wigs — operate out of a lovely 3BR home in a suburb of Washington, D.C. Between their nail-biter missions (and sometimes in the midst of them), the series contemplates duty, honor, parental responsibility, fidelity, both nationalistic and marital, and what it means to be an American.

Black Mirror (Channel 4)
Zeppotron/Channel 4
This cinematically arresting, brilliantly written series from England is an anthology of dark-side tales – dark as a black hole. If its narrative shocks don’t wreck your sleep pattern, its moral conundrums will.

Fargo (FX)
MGM and FX Productions
“Fargo,” the series, boasts the same snow-swept backdrop and dark, deadpan ambience as the Oscar-winning movie but tells a different, more complicated story. Its villain, Billy Bob Thornton’s mischievous, murderous, charismatic Lorne Malvo, is a character worthy of Norse mythology.

The Honorable Woman (Sundance TV)
BBC Worldwide, Drama Republic, Eight Rooks Productions, Sundance Channel
A visually rich, densely-plotted thriller set against the backdrop of the Israeli-Palestine conflict, it suggests complexities and age-old vendettas that often escape even the best documentaries, to say nothing of the evening news.

Inside Amy Schumer (Comedy Central)
Jax Media LLC
Schumer’s wholesome, disarming “Brady Bunch” looks belie and enhance a comic intelligence that’s smart, distinctively female and amiably profane, whether she’s applying it to sketch comedy, stand-up, or person-on-the-street interviews.

Jane the Virgin (The CW)
Eye Productions Inc., CBS Television Studios Inc., Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc., Electus; RCTV; Poppy Productions.
Immaculately conceived, it’s a smart, self-aware telenovela that knows when and how to wink at itself. Its Latina lead, Gina Rodriguez, is incandescent.

The Knick (Cinemax)
Cinemax Entertainment in association with Ambeg Productions, Anonymous Contend and Extension 765
Graphic, gripping, unapologetically grisly when it has to be, this lavish historical drama masterfully dissects surgical experimentation, doctors’ egos, race relations and socials mores in the New York City of 100 years ago. It gives new meaning to the term “operating theater.”

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)
HBO Entertainment in association with Sixteen String Jack Productions and Avalon Television
A most worthy addition to the news-as-comedy genre, “Last Week Tonight” doesn’t just satirize the previous week’s news, it engages in fresh, feisty investigative reports that “real” news programs would do well to emulate.

Rectify (Sundance TV)
Gran Via Productions, Zip Works
A powerful, subtle dramatic series about a death-row inmate freed after nearly two decades thanks to new DNA evidence, it ponders whether what’s been lost can ever be repaid, not just to him but to everyone he and his alleged crimes touched.

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