“The Simpsons” and “Frontline” have been given the Peabody Awards’ top honor, its institutional award. That recognition was announced on Wednesday, along with this year’s 30 Peabody Award winners — programs that include OWN’s “David Makes Man,” Amazon’s “Fleabag,” Hulu’s “Ramy,” HBO’s “Succession” and “Watchmen,” and Netflix’s “Stranger Things” and “When They See Us.”
Those 30 programs were selected as “the most compelling and empowering stories released in broadcasting and digital media during 2019.” The announcement comes after Monday’s news that Cicely Tyson has been named named winner of the Peabody career achievement award.
“This year’s winners are a vibrant collective of inspiring, innovative, and powerful stories,” said Jeffrey P. Jones, executive director of Peabody. “True to the spirit and legacy of Peabody, our winners are also distinguished by the presence and resilience of many emerging and diverse voices.”
The Peabody institutional award “goes to programs that have made a significant impact on media programming and the cultural landscape,” the org said. Jones added that PBS’ “Frontline” was singled out “as an unwavering source for truth through quality journalism when both are actively under attack,” while Fox’s “The Simpsons” was chosen for its position as “one of the most consistently funny and culturally important satirical sitcoms over the last three decades.”
“Frontline” executive producer Raney Aronson noted that the documentary series has earned 20 Peabody Awards over its 38-year run. “[There was a] believe and hope long form journalistic documentaries would find a wide audience on public television,” she said of the show’s launch back then. “More than ever this mission is critical in our challenging and changing times.”
PBS led the roster of 30 winners with seven awards, while HBO and Netflix had four each. CNN and NBC had two, while Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV Plus, Hulu, Lifetime, and OWN had one award each. (This is the first Peabody for both OWN and Apple TV Plus.) Other winning platforms included APM, BBC Sounds, Montana Public Radio, Newsday, WBBM Chicago, and WNYC Studios.
“This is an incredible honor and the company we find ourselves in is inspiring, to say the least,” said “Stranger Things” executive producers the Duffer Brothers.
The Peabody Awards were adjudicated earlier this spring, prior to the recent protests and action in the wake of the murder of George Floyd in Minnesota. But seven winners focused on police brutality and systemic racism in the criminal justice system: the documentary “True Justice: Bryan Stevenson’s Fight for Equality”; “When They See Us”; the podcast “In The Dark: The Path Home”; and the limited series “Watchmen.”
Other topics explored in the Peabody winners include rape culture, the importance of belief in science, immigrant rights, environmental degradation, authoritarian threats to democracy from the past and present, and the will of families to navigate and survive in times of war and global crisis.
“This show amplifies that our stories, that our voices and our culture matter,” “David Makes Man” executive producer Denitria Harris-Lawrence said in accepting the award.
Peabody, which was founded in 1940 at the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia, plans to also partner with PBS on a production special featuring conversation with all 10 directors of this year’s winning documentaries. PBS digital channels will have access to that special starting June 23.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be no in-person Peabody Awards ceremony this year; originally, the event was scheduled to take place in Los Angeles on June 18.
Here are this year’s 30 Peabody award winners.
HBO Miniseries and SKY in association with Sister, The Mighty Mint, and Word Games (HBO)
“David Makes Man”
Page Fright and Outlier Productions in association with Warner Horizon Scripted Television
(OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network)
Apple / wiip / Anonymous Content / Tuning Fork Productions / Sugar 23 Productions (Apple TV+)
All3Media International Limited and Amazon Studios (Prime Video)
Hulu, A24 Television (Hulu)
Monkey Massacre Productions & 21 Laps Entertainment (Netflix)
HBO Entertainment in association with Project Zeus, Hyperobject Industries, and Gary Sanchez Productions (HBO)
Timberman-Beverly Productions, Sage Lane Productions, Escapist Fare, Katie Couric Media, and CBS Television Studios for Netflix (Netflix)
HBO in association with White Rabbit, Paramount, Warner Bros. Television and DC (HBO)
“When They See Us”
Participant Media, Tribeca Productions, Harpo Films, Array Filmworks for Netflix (Netflix)
CNN Films (CNN)
FRONTLINE PBS, Channel 4 News, ITN Productions, Channel 4 (PBS)
“Independent Lens: HALE COUNTY THIS MORNING, THIS EVENING”
A production of Idiom Film, LLC and Louverture Films, in association with Field of Vision (PBS)
“POV: Inventing Tomorrow”
Fishbowl Films, Motto Pictures, 19340 Productions, Shark Island Institute, HHMI Tangled Bank Studios, IQ190 Productions, American Documentary | POV (PBS)
“POV: Midnight Traveler”
Old Chilly Pictures LLC, American Documentary | POV, Independent Television Service (PBS)
“POV: The Distant Barking of Dogs”
Final Cut for Real, Mouka Filmi, STORY, Bayerischer Rundfunk, ARTE, American Documentary | POV (PBS)
“POV: The Silence of Others”
Semilla Verde Productions, Lucernam Films, American Documentary | POV, Independent Television Service, Latino Public Broadcasting, El Deseo (PBS)
“Surviving R. Kelly”
Bunim/Murray Productions and Kreativ Inc. for Lifetime (Lifetime)
“The Edge of Democracy”
A Busca Vida Filmes Production in association with Violet Films for Netflix (Netflix)
“True Justice: Bryan Stevenson’s Fight for Equality”
HBO Documentary Films and Kunhardt Films (HBO)
“Dolly Parton’s America”
Osm Audio and WNYC Studios (WNYC)
“Have You Heard George’s Podcast?”
BBC Sounds/George the Poet Ltd. (BBC Sounds)
“In the Dark: The Path Home”
American Public Media (APM Reports)
“Threshold: The Refuge”
“A Different Kind of Force: Policing Mental Illness”
NBC News, Engel Unit (NBC/MSNBC)
“Long Island Divided”
“The Hidden Workforce: Undocumented in America”
CHILDREN’S & YOUTH
“Molly of Denali”
WGBH Educational Foundation, Atomic Cartoons (PBS Kids)