Peabody Awards Singles Out Roles For Women Among TV Honorees

The Peabody Awards said it was “affirming the continuing expansion of significant roles for women on television” with this year’s entertainment TV programming winners announced this morning. State-of-the-industry comment aside, the list of winners also included HBO’s Last Week Tonight With John Oliver and Cinemax’s period medical drama The Knick.

“From an honorable woman entangled in Israeli-Palestinian conflicts to a virginal Jane; from a faux-American/spy to an irrepressible North Dakota cop — strong, multi-dimensional women stand out among the 74th Peabody Awards’ entertainment winners,” the trophy-dispensing org said pointedly, as it announced wins for such shows as BBC’s The Honorable Woman, Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer, and CW’s Jane The Virgin.

This partial list of winners was announced separately today, so as to be unveiled on ABC News’ Good Morning America. The University of Georgia-based awards’ news and radio winners will not get so much fanfare; they’ll be announced on Monday on the Peabody website, as will recipients in the areas of documentary, public service, education, and children’s programming on April 23. Individual and institutional Peabodys  previously were announced, respectively going to British nature documentarian Sir David Attenborough and the long-running public radio series Afropop Worldwide.

Today’s announced winners will be presented with their awards May 31 at the first-ever nighttime, red-carpet Peabody ceremony. Fred Armisen is set to host the gala at Cipriani Wall Street in New York. Pivot will premiere The 74th Annual Peabody Awards On Pivot, a 90-minute special on Sunday, June 21 at 9 PM ET/8 PM CT.

From today’s winners announcement:

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 Content 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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