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Peabody Awards Salute Tom Brokaw, Storytellers Across the Media Spectrum

JournalismBreaking Bad (tv program)Bryan CranstonU.S. MilitaryJeff ZuckerNetflix Inc.Ken Burns

Thesps from "Scandal," "Breaking Bad," "House of Cards" and "Orange is 
the New Black" mingled with documentary filmmakers, news producers, Tom Brokaw and Anthony Bourdain Monday at the Peabody Awards, the TV 
industry's most eclectic annual kudos ceremony.

The 46 winners, the most in org's 73-year history, were chosen from
 more than 1,100 entries by the 16-member Peabody board and presented at the
 Waldorf Astoria Hotel. Awards are not given in categories; the sole criteria for winning is
excellence in storytelling.

"I hope somebody warned you," host Ira Glass, of "This American Life," told the crowd. "I was going over the 
script yesterday and I was like, (this show) is really long. There's 
no way around it."

Veteran NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw received the org's achievement award
 recognizing his long career in journalism.

"This is a humbling moment for me," Brokaw said. "If you live long 
enough these kind of awards come to you and/or you get cancer. Turns
out, I ended up getting both. It's going to work out. Life is going to
 be OK because I'm in the enviable position of getting the best
 treatment in the world and it has made me much more conscious of what 
a privilege it is to have the kind of job that I have."

Brokaw went on to tell the crowd that "we are living through the most
 transformative time in the history of journalism." "It's not just about 140 characters," Brokaw said. "It's not just
 about who you are going to meet for coffee. It's about serving mankind 
with the information they need to know to make good decisions about
 their lives."

"House of Cards" showrunner Beau Willimon accepted the show's trophy on 
behalf of the cast and crew.

"As David Fincher always says, 'Cast well and get the hell out of the
way," Willimon said. "We'd be nowhere without our cast." After recognizing Netflix as the company "who has really changed the
game," Willimon acknowledged fellow honoree, documentary "The 
Invisible War," about sexual assault in the U.S. military, which he said inspired a storyline in "House of Cards'" second season.

Bryan Cranston accepted the second Peabody given to AMC's "Breaking Bad."

"Seven years ago Vince Gilligan had this idea of turning a good man 
into a bad one," Cranston said. "He played this parlor game that we've 
all played at home - 'What would you do if you had two years to live? 
How would you live your life? Walter White lived that in his own 
world. On behalf of everybody (from the show) who I thought were going
 to follow me up to the stage, but didn't, we greatly appreciate (this 
award)."

The crowd got out of their seats when three subjects from "The Central
 Park Five" took the stage alongside director Ken Burns. Doc tells the
story of the five black and Latino teenagers from Harlem who were
 wrongly convicted of raping a white woman in New York City's Central 
Park in 1989. While the Academy didn't acknowledge the well-received PBS doc, Burns
 compared receiving the Peabody to getting to the "top of Everest."

Anthony Bourdain, a winner for his CNN series "Parts Unknown," gave a shootout to the all-news cabler and its leader, Jeff Zucker, who has faced a critical scorching in recent months for some of its programming choices.

"We handed in some difficult and risky material to the network and (Zucker) has been a steadfast friend. So I'm very, very grateful to Jeff in particular," Bourdain said.

 

Cabler Pivot will air highlights of the Peabody ceremony next month.

(Pictured: "Breaking Bad's" Bryan Cranston, Betsy Brandt and R.J. Mitte)

Related storiesPeabody Awards Underline the Radical Changes in Electronic MediaPeabody Awards: Tom Brokaw Shines In Stellar Last ActPeabody Awards: Sundance Channel Spots Live Genius in Undead Series 'The Returned' 2014 Variety Media, LLC, a subsidiary of Penske Business Media; Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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