The dozens of winners at tonight’s 76th Peabody Award winners had been announced last month, but the official ceremony drew a tony, star-flecked crowd to New York’s Cipriani Wall Street.
Host Rashida Jones, star of TBS comedy Angie Tribeca, established context early in the evening. “There are nobodies, there are somebodies, and there are Peabodys,” she quipped. Given the many honored works exploring a issues across the socio-political spectrum, she also noted the evening’s larger purpose of shining a light on work that brings about greater understanding and effects change. “Truth will stay the course and truth will prevail as long as we have the courage to seek it,” she said.
Decorated shows included Atlanta, Veep and Horace And Peete, with news and documentary honors going to titles from PBS, CBS, ESPN, Netflix and CNN, among others. Norman Lear received a special career honor. Non-episodic work, per tradition, also got shoutouts, ranging from public radio’s This American Life to Beyonce’s “Lemonade” video. Lupita Nyong’o, Ava DuVernay, Louis C.K., Pamela Adlon and Julia Louis-Dreyfus all made appearances. Local TV stations, podcasters and public media types also took bows and filled the vast event hall, and that annual Peabody blend of A-list-ness and earnestness created a night that is wholly unique on the awards circuit.
Al Franken, the comedy writer turned Democratic senator from Minnesota, closed the ceremony with an appearance to present Veep with its award. According to tweets from attendees, he described the HBO show’s plot focusing on “a lying narcissist surrounded by a gang of hangers-on. Sound familiar?” He also joked to cast members: “Do not think what you do is any less important than what I do … except it is.”