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Norman Lear, ITVS to Receive Peabody Awards

Norman Lear
Kristina Bumphrey/StarPix/REX/Shutterstock

Television legend Norman Lear and the Independent Television Service (ITVS) have both been selected as recipients for this year’s Peabody AwardsVariety has learned.

The Peabody Awards, based at the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia, are reserved for individuals and institutions whose work and commitment to broadcast media define and transform the field.

Lear is well-known as a television producer and writer who helped bring racial and gender diversity to the medium, in addition to featuring characters with controversial and brash opinions. Among the hits that he worked on are “All in the Family,” “Sanford and Son,” “Maude,” “Good Times,” and “The Jeffersons.” Each show in its own way tackled sensitive issues like racial discrimination, sexism, homosexuality, abortion, and even rape.

ITVS, conceived by independent filmmakers who saw scarce diversity in public media, was formed by Congress in 1988. The service has helped fund more than 1,400 films and has received 32 Peabody Awards since its creation. Landmark films within the Peabody canon include: “How to Survive a Plague” by David France; Marco Williams and Whitney Dow’s “Two Towns of Jasper;” Leslee Udwin’s “India’s Daughter,” and “The Invisible War” by Kirby Dick and Amy Zeiring.

Lear and ITVS will be celebrated at a gala event on May 20 in New York. The event will be taped for a television special to air on both PBS and Fusion networks on June 2 at 9 p.m./8c. Rashida Jones, a previous Peabody Award winner for “Parks and Recreation” will serve as host.