Peabody Awards: ‘Hacks’, ‘Sort Of’, ‘My Name Is Pauli Murray’, ‘Philly D.A.’, January 6 Coverage Among Latest Winners

HBO Max’s comedy Hacks and its CBC series Sort Of, Julie Cohen and Betsy West’s documentary My Name Is Pauli Murray, PBS’ Independent Lens docuseries Philly D.A. and the New York Times’ and PBS NewsHour‘s respective coverage of the January 6 insurrection are among the latest winners of 2022 Peabody Awards.

The Peabodys, in their 82nd year, honor the year’s most powerful content across the fields of entertainment, documentary, news, podcast/radio, arts, children’s and youth, and public service programming. This year’s awards are being bestowed daily through Thursday, with presenters including Melissa McCarthy, Morgan Freeman, John Legend, Kevin Bacon, H.E.R., Ethan Hawke, Jon Stewart, Hasan Minhaj, Riz Ahmed, LeVar Burton, Jenny Slate, Malcolm Gladwell and Adam Scott announcing winners on Peabody’s social channels.

A total of 30 winners will be announced via short videos on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook that will include the awards presenters and an acceptance speech. Newsman Dan Rather and Fresh Air‘s Terry Gross have already won this year’s Career Achievement Award and Institutional Award, respectively.

Hacks, from Universal Television in association with Paulilu, First Thought Productions, Fremulon Productions and 3 Arts Entertainment, won three Emmys for its first season and was nominated for Best Comedy. It stars Jean Smart and Hannah Einbinder and was created by Lucia Aniello, Paul W. Downs and Jen Statsky.

Sort Of, which debuted on HBO Max in November after its Canadian premiere on CBC Gem, was created by showrunners Bilal Baig, who also stars, and Fab Filippo. The coming-of-age story follows the journey of Sabi, a gender-fluid millennial who straddles various identities from sexy bartender at an LGBTQ bookstore/bar to the youngest child in a large Pakistani family to the de facto parent of a downtown hipster family.

Both Hacks and Sort Of won in the Entertainment category, joining fellow winners Reservation Dogs from FX and Hulu’s limited series Dopesick which were honored Monday.

Check back with Deadline all week as more winners are revealed. In the meantime, below are the Peabodys’ descriptions of the winners so far:

DOCUMENTARY

My Name is Pauli Murray

A towering figure in mid-twentieth century law—Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Thurgood Marshall cited them as an intellectual influence—Pauli Murray finally gets their due in Julie Cohen and Betsy West’s My Name is Pauli Murray. Using Murray’s own words and excavating the personal history that informed the distinguished lawyer, poet, priest, and writer, Cohen and West have crafted an indelible portrait of a figure who deserves to be better known.

Drexler Films, Storyville Films, Participant (Amazon Prime Video)

Philly D.A.

The Philadelphia District Attorney at the heart of this Independent Lens docuseries is Larry Krasner, a criminal justice reform-minded lawyer who approached his role as a chance to rethink how the city of Philadelphia understood criminality. As Krasner ushers in a new era in the D.A office, facing blowback both from career staffers and local officials (including the increasingly combative police department), Krasner’s story becomes emblematic of the challenges facing those intent on restructuring a broken system.

All Ages Productions, Department of Motion Pictures, PBS, ITVS, Topic (PBS)

High on the Hog: How African American Cuisine Transformed America

Building on the research of food historian Dr. Jessica B. Harris, High on the Hog: How African American Cuisine Transformed America charts the evolution of Black foodways with both clarity and awe. Taking viewers across the Atlantic from Benin to South Carolina and up the eastern coast of the United States, High on the Hog serves as a corrective to histories that have excluded Black people’s contributions from this country’s culinary records.

A One Story Up Production and Pilgrim Media Group for Netflix (Netflix)

Mr. SOUL!

A joyful tribute to the local television program SOUL! and its creator, the impresario Ellis Haizlip, the documentary film Mr. SOUL! is a loving celebration of Black creative achievement and vitality in late twentieth-century America, capturing the majesty, confidence, and revolutionary force of Black artists, intellectuals, writers, and performers. The time between 1968 and 1972 was an extraordinary period in American broadcast television and cultural history, and Haizlip’s SOUL! was uncompromisingly and unapologetically Black, serving as a visual and sonic record of Black Americans at their most radical.

Shoes In The Bed Productions, ITVS, Black Public Media (BPM), WNET (PBS)

ENTERTAINMENT

Hacks

HBO Max’s Hacks became a word-of-mouth hit thanks to the brilliantly funny intergenerational pairing of Jean Smart as standup legend Deborah Vance and Hannah Einbinder as Ava Daniels, the desperate young comedy writer sent to freshen up Deborah’s act. Created by Broad City writers Lucia Aniello, Paul W. Downs, and Jen Statsky, the series follows Deborah and Ava as they try to revive their respective careers despite the entrapments of Vegas culture and the sexism that haunts multiple generations of women in comedy.

Universal Television, a division of Universal Studio Group, in association with Paulilu, First Thought Productions, Fremulon Productions, 3 Arts Entertainment (HBO/HBO Max)

Sort Of

Sabi is set on changing their life. They really should leave that part-time nanny job behind. They really should dump that homo-ish boyfriend of theirs. They really should move to Berlin with their BFF and start a newer, queerer life abroad. But then an accident forces Sabi to choose the kids they nanny over their own brighter future. With its blazingly original comedic sensibility, Sort Of spins a somewhat simple sitcom-sounding premise into a dry-humored and tender portrait of a queer nonbinary individual embracing the multitudes they contain within.

Sphere Media Toronto (CBC, HBO Max)

Dopesick

Dopesick brings to life the ongoing opioid epidemic in the United States, courtesy of the now-infamous Sackler family, owners of Purdue Pharma, the company responsible for the drug OxyContin. The Michael Keaton-starring limited series is truly a gut punch, forcing us to see, constantly and unwaveringly, how the choices the Sackler family and its company made directly led to the destruction of countless lives and families.

Hulu, Danny Strong Productions, John Goldwyn Productions, The Littlefield Company, 20th Television (Hulu)

Reservation Dogs

Reservation Dogs follows the scrappy adventures of four indigenous youth—Elora, Bear, Cheese and Willie—as they drift through life in Oklahoma. Co-creators Taika Waititi and Sterlin Harjo, citizen of the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma, offer a long-overdue show that takes seriously the hopes, dreams, and electricity of its youthful native protagonists while tackling fatherless households, addiction, discrimination, and grief with aplomb. The series brims with surrealist imagination and deadpan humor that vividly captures a sense of defiant joy in the face of withering dislocation.

FX Productions (FX)

NEWS

Day of Rage: How Trump Supporters Took the U.S. Capitol

In a masterful display of forensic journalism, this 40-minute documentary video from The New York Times meticulously reconstructs January 6, 2021, when, at the President Trump-inspired attack on the U.S. Capitol, a mob sought to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election and stifle the peaceful transfer of power. The result is a culmination of a six-month investigation and reporting from thousands of cell phone videos, police radio dispatches, news broadcasts and footage, photographs, livestreams, social media postings, and police bodycam footage that pinpoints what happened that day—and shows just how close the political insurrection was to being successful.

The New York Times (The New York Times)

January 6th Reporting

On January 6, 2021, as rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to stop Congress from certifying Joe Biden as the victor of the 2020 presidential election, PBS NewsHour correspondent Lisa Desjardins was the only reporter broadcasting live on television in the halls of the building, outside the lockdown. Her reporting provides a critical and singular document of the historic day’s events as they happened, invaluable for viewers’ understanding in the moment as well as for historians of the future.

PBS NewsHour (PBS NewsHour)

NBC Bay Area: “The Moms of Magnolia Street” & “No Man’s Land: Fighting for Fatherhood in a Broken System”

In two stories focused on unhoused mothers and fathers, the NBC Bay Area news teams examine the complexity and reach of the housing crisis produced by ineffective public policy and predations of economic greed. “The Moms of Magnolia Street” reports on a group of unhoused mothers, from their decision to occupy an abandoned house, to their eviction, and finally to collective action efforts that led to their partnership with the city of Oakland to purchase the home. In “No Man’s Land: Fighting for Fatherhood in a Broken System,” the investigative team follows the lives of single men and their children as they navigate housing bureaucracies, sensitively challenging stereotypes of single fathers, Black fathers, and formerly incarcerated fathers.

NBC Bay Area (NBC Bay Area)

“Politically Charged”

ABC15 Arizona’s reports on the arrests of street protesters and the very questionable tactics used against them by local police is a compelling series that warns us of the present-day erosion of our civil liberties. The investigation found that, in 2020, Phoenix police and county prosecutors routinely exaggerated and lied to grand juries to obtain felony charges against protesters. As a direct result of this series, 39 felony protest cases were dismissed, high-level officials resigned, the police chief was suspended, dozens of officers and prosecutors were reassigned, and the Department of Justice opened a sweeping pattern-of-practice investigation.

ABC15 Arizona (KNXV)

Transnational

Vice’s series Transnational spotlights the stories of various trans communities around the world: from the ballroom scene in Detroit to a government-sponsored safe haven in Mexico City, with stops in the United Kingdom and Indonesia along the way. In grouping them together and cutting across them—building, as it were, a trans-national collective—Vice’s team pushes back against notions of the global trans community as being any kind of monolith, honoring collectivity in individuality, the many in the few.

Vice News (Vice News Tonight)

“‘So They Know We Existed’: Palestinians Film War in Gaza”

In just a heart-wrenching 14 minutes, “So They Know We Existed” captures the devastation to daily civilian life during the 11-day war between Israel and Hamas in May 2021 in Gaza. Citizen cell phone footage from the attacks and interviews after the fact document a harrowing portrait of life amid warfare, from a 10-year-old girl to teenage sisters; a young man who lost his father; a musician who lost his livelihood to an explosion, among others. The piece presents a range of civilian Palestinian perspectives and bears witness to the resilience of those who continue to survive the trauma of war long after ceasefire.

The New York Times (The New York Times)

PODCAST/RADIO

Throughline: Afghanistan: The Center of the World

Throughline’s magisterial three-part miniseries on Afghanistan offers the long view of a country that Americans often treat as a threat, afterthought, or tragedy, particularly after the chaotic withdrawal of the U.S. military in 2021. By centering the country in its own story and pulling back the frame to consider Afghanistan as a full “civilization,” the team restores a necessary sense of scale to what is often lost in our understanding of the region across the decades and centuries of countless western media reports.

Throughline (NPR)

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