‘Glee,’ ‘Modern Family’ Snag Peabody Awards

And look which late-night host won the prestigious University of Georgia honor: TV’s Craig Ferguson

Primetime newcomers "Glee" and "Modern Family" have been honored with 2010 Peabody Awards, as has CBS’s "Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson."

Several other entertainment shows also snagged the prestigious Peabody this year, including HBO’s "No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency" and "In Treatment," Sundance Channel’s reality documentary "Brick City," PBS’s "Endegame" and an episode of PBS’s "American Masters" devoted to Jerome Robbins.

The Peabody committee called "Glee" "dependably tuneful and entertaining," while "Modern Family" was noted for maintaining "an old-fashioned heart." CBS’s Ferguson was singled out for making "late-night television safe again for ideas." Ferguson’s interview with Desmond Tutu was specifically honored.

Ferguson is not the first late-night host to get a Peabody. His boss, David Letterman, was honored for his old NBC "Late Night" show, while Comedy Central’s "The Daily Show" and "The Colbert Report" have also won.

The 69th annual Peabody awards will be handed out in May. The awards are handled by the University of Georgia and recognize "distinguished achievement and meritous service" by broadcast, cable, radio and Web producers and journalists.

This year’s nominating committee was comprised of a mix of academics, critics, and editors, including the Hollywood Reporter’s Elizabeth Guider, TV Newsday editor Harry Jessell, IMDB TV editor Melanie McFarland, the AP’s Frazier Moore and omnipresent quote chimp Tim Brooks.

The full list of Peabody winners follows:


Modern Family (ABC)

This wily, witty comedy puts quirky, contemporary twists in family ties but maintains an old-fashioned heart.

The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson: An Evening with Archbishop Desmond Tutu (CBS)

As this fascinating, often funny interview attests, the Scottish-born Ferguson has made late-night television safe again for ideas.

Noodle Road: Connecting Asia’s Kitchens (KBS1 TV)

The who, where, what, why and how of Asia’s culinary staple, rolled into one visually delicious hour.

A Hidden America: Children of the Mountains (ABC)

A powerful documentary shot in the hollows and house trailers of Appalachia reminds us that not all critical problems lie in “developing” nations.


Big Bird and company display prodigious adaptability on this delightfully educational, interactive site.

BBC World News America: Unique Broadcast, Unique Perspective (BBC America)

A nightly newscast like none the United States has ever had, it places our actions and concerns in a global context.

The Cost of Dying (CBS)

Steve Kroft’s report addressed inconvenient truths about the cost of end-of-life medical care with courage and compassion.

Independent Lens: Between the Folds (PBS)

A beautiful documentary about the art of paper folding, it makes you gasp at the possibilities – of paper and of human creativity.

Glee (FOX)

Dependably tuneful and entertaining, the musical dramedy that revolves around the motley members of a high-school choral club hit especially high notes with episodes such as “Wheels,” about the daily struggles of a wheelchair-bound singer.

The OxyContin Express (Current TV)

With tales of drug-dealing MDs in Florida and Appalachian “pill-billies,” the documentary makes clear the enormity of the prescription-drug epidemic.


A whole lot of things considered, from “South Park” to North Korea, make this one of the great one-stop websites. And there’s music you can dance to.

Diane Rehm Personal Award

Now available to National Public Radio listeners after decades on Washington’s WAMU-FM, Rehm’s talk show is the gold standard for civil, civic discourse.

The Day that Lehman Died (BBC World Service)

Merging news with dramatic reconstruction based on exhaustive interviews, this rare docudrama for radio put listeners in the boardroom and halls of Lehman Brothers as the financial giant collapsed.

In Treatment (HBO)

Giving new meaning to the phrase “theater of the mind,” this fictional series of psychiatrist-patient one-on-one’s is the very essence of drama.

Inventing LA: The Chandlers and Their Times (PBS)

Digging into the lives and machinations of the first family of Los Angeles newspapers, documentary filmmaker Peter Jones finds drama enough for several feature films.

No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency (HBO)

Alexander McCall Smith’s best-selling novels about Precious Ramotswe, an African detective, come vividly to life in this groundbreaking series, shot on location in Botswana.

Sabotaging the System (CBS)

Alarming and then some, Steve Kroft’s survey of cyber-threats to America’s infrastructure made it clear the siege is on and questioned our readiness to defend.

Brick City (Sundance Channel)

In this five-hour documentary series, the struggles of Newark’s young mayor and other citizens trying to resurrect their blighted communities are sociologically instructive and dramatically compelling.

Thrilla in Manila (HBO)

Taking its title from the last of three legendary heavyweight bouts between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier, the documentary pulls no punches and lays bare misconceptions about their rivalry.

FRONTLINE: The Madoff Affair (PBS)

The documentary takes viewers into the very heart of Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme, explaining how and why it worked for so long.

I-Witness: Ambulansiyang de Paa (GMA Network)

Condemning deplorable conditions while celebrating neighborly valor and ingenuity, the report shows how people in a poor village carry their sick and injured over dangerous terrain to distant medical care using “ambulances on foot.”

Independent Lens: The Order of Myths (PBS)

Margaret Brown’s exploration of two Mardi Gras traditions in Mobile, Ala., one white, one black, is highly original, moving and insightful.

Hard Times (OPB Radio)

The Main Street repercussions of Wall Street’s reckless ways were nowhere in the media more humanly and thoughtfully documented than in this series of radio reports.

Iran & the West

A spectacular, epic documentary that explains in fascinating, sometimes startling detail how the West and Iran arrived at the present standoff, it’s imminently watchable and historically invaluable.

Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson: Covering Afghanistan (NPR)

No reporter in any medium gives us a better sense of the variety of life inside Afghanistan than the multi-lingual chief of NPR’s Kabul bureau.

The Great Textbook War (West Virginia Public Broadcasting)

This thoughtful, balanced and gripping radio documentary shows how a 1974 battle over textbook content in rural West Virginia foreshadows the “culture wars” still raging.

Mind the Gap: Why Good Schools Are Failing Black Students (KLCC Radio)

Independent producer Nancy Solomon exhibited great empathy for the students and teachers at the suburban New Jersey high school she studied, meanwhile asking tough, necessary questions.

Endgame (PBS)

This intensely dramatic film, focused on secret negotiations at an English country estate – talks that helped to end apartheid in South Africa – offers a lesson in the possibilities of peaceful conflict resolution.

Sichuan Earthquake: One Year On (Now-Broadband TV News Channel)

The Hong Kong-based news organization noted the anniversary of the terrible
Sichuan quake with respect for the victims and their families and hard questions about the substandard construction that worsened the death toll.

BART Shooting (KTVU-TV)

KTVU’s quick response to a train-station altercation that ended in a fatal shooting gave its reporters an edge, but it was their persistent digging afterwards that revealed serious, systematic problems in the Bay Area Rapid Transit police’s tactics.

American Masters: Jerome Robbins – Something to Dance About (PBS)

A retrospective of Robbins’ life and work illustrated with dazzling performance clips and annotated with comments from noted ballet and Broadway colleagues, this brilliant documentary captured the legendary director/choreographer’s “dark genius.”

Chronicle: Paul’s Gift (WYFF-TV)

Simple, ingenious and effective, this public-service special followed the donated organs of an accident victim to a variety of recipients, showing their joy and gratitude, thus boosting a most worthy cause.

Under Fire: Discrimination and Corruption in the Texas National Guard (KHOU-TV)

Dogged work by the Houston station’s investigative reporters found such blatant discriminatory treatment of female soldiers that three top Texas Guard generals were fired and a new commanding officer was appointed.

Derrion Albert Beating (WFLD-TV)

WFLD got national attention with horrifying video it obtained of the beating death of an honor student just blocks from his Chicago high school, but the greater feat was its comprehensive follow-up coverage of the suspects, the legal process and prevalence of similar violence.

Where Giving Life Is a Death Sentence (BBC America)

Correspondent Lyse Doucet trekked deep into Afghanistan’s rugged Badakshan province to document conditions that give it the worst recorded rate of maternal mortality in the world.

Up in Smoke (KCET-TV)

Lively, eye-opening coverage by KCET’s “SoCal Connected” included a revelation that there are now more legal, medical-marijuana dispensaries in the city than Starbucks franchises, and a rare look at the “Cannabis Cowboys,” an elite police team of pot-farm eradicators.