When the Peabody Awards were first awarded in 1941, it was a safe bet that the creators never envisioned a show like South Park. They recognized the crudely animated cartoon today, though, giving it an award along with NBC Nightly News and Fox drama House, among others.
The always controversial South Park was lauded for being the sharpest satire on the tube. The Peabody board feels the primitive animation of the show lets it be more topical and immediate than any of its competitors. The show has recently pointed its barbs at Isaac Hayes and the religion Scientology.
NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams also received an award for coverage of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. The awards cited the commitment of the network to covering the Gulf coast disaster with as much ardor as it had done with the 9/11 terror attacks. Williams and the news team produced extraordinary analysis with After the Storm: The Long Road Back.
The medical drama House was awarded because it places a misanthropic lead character into mind-bending medical mysteries and dares the audience to follow along. The Peabody board called House "the most distinctive doctor drama in a decade."
TV shows Boston Legal, The Shield, and Battlestar Galactica were also honored.
The Shield was noted for being a riveting adult drama that poses questions with no easy answer. Galactica was called a brilliant sci-fi reimaging that speaks to the very nature of humanity. Boston Legal was chosen because it veers deftly between courtroom drama and political satire, all while letting William Shatner chew the scenery.
The Peabody Awards, named after industrialist and philanthropist George Foster Peabody, are a Pulitzer Prize for broadcast, noting distinguished achievements by radio and television networks and individuals. The annual awards ceremony will be hosted by two-time Peabody winner Jon Stewart on Monday June 5, 2006, at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City.
For a full list of winners, visit the Peabody Web site.