UGA's Peabody Award winners include Amy Schumer, John Oliver, 'Rectify,' 'The Americans,' 'Fargo'

Comedy Central's well regarded comedy show "Inside Amy Shumer" took home a Peabody. CREDIT: Comedy Central
Caption
Comedy Central's well regarded comedy show "Inside Amy Shumer" took home a Peabody. CREDIT: Comedy Central

Credit: Rodney Ho

Credit: Rodney Ho

By RODNEY HO/ rho@ajc.com, originally filed April 16, 2015

The University of Georgia George Foster Peabody Awards this year will fete Amy Schumer, John Oliver and shows such as the CW's "Jane the Virgin," Cinemax's "The Knick" and FX's "The Americans."

The Peabodys, established in 1940, reward excellence in multiple mediums such as scripted programming, talk shows and journalistic pieces.

For the first time, the awards are not being announced all at the same time.

Jeff Jones, director of the Peabodys, said he didn't want journalistic efforts to get overshadowed by entertainment so this year, ABC's "Good Morning America" announced the nine entertainment-oriented programs that won Peabody's. (A 16-person panel of academics, TV writers and media professionals make the selections.)

For the first time, the awards will be an evening, red-carpet affair as opposed to a luncheon in New York City on May 31. Fred Armsen (part of previous Peabody winner "Portlandia") will host. Pivot will air highlights June 21.

The winners and the descriptions provided by the Peabody are below. Notably, Sundance's "Rectify," now in production for its third season, is the first scripted program shot in metro Atlanta to win a Peabody in recent history.

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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