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David E. Kelley, Linda Ellerbee Among Top Peabody Winners

Awards: NPR is honored three times; Christiane Amanpour is recognized for her foreign reporting.

April 01, 1999|From Associated Press

Two prime-time television series produced by the same man, "Ally McBeal" and "The Practice," earned 1998 Peabody Awards for broadcast and cable excellence Wednesday.

Linda Ellerbee was another one of 33 recipients of the annual award for her efforts to explain President Clinton's impeachment to children on her "Nick News" program shown on cable's Nickelodeon.

The awards, chosen from among nearly 1,300 entries, are administered by the University of Georgia's Henry W. Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communications.

David E. Kelley produces "Ally McBeal," a comedy series about a young lawyer, for Fox, and "The Practice," a courtroom drama series, for ABC.

National Public Radio received three of the four radio awards given out, for a documentary on Paul Robeson, for the "Performance Today" series and for Charlayne Hunter-Gault's reporting from Africa. It is Hunter-Gault's second Peabody.

CNN correspondent Christiane Amanpour also won her second Peabody for her international reporting on CNN and CBS' "60 Minutes."

Other individual winners include Jac Venza, who has presented cultural programs such as "Dance in America" and "Great Performances," and television producer Robert Halmi Sr., known for family-oriented movies such as "Gulliver's Travels" and "Alice in Wonderland."

HBO's "The Larry Sanders Show" won its second Peabody for "Flip," the series' final episode.

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The head of Peabody's national advisory board, Neil Aronstam, said the committee pointedly made Ellerbee the only winner for coverage of the Monica Lewinsky scandal during a year the story dominated the news.

"Ellerbee's straightforward explanations to her young audience proved to be the most insightful telling of the story to children and adults alike," he said.

Other winners included:

* "Africans in America: America's Journey Through Slavery," a documentary produced by WGBH-TV in Boston.

* "Frank Lloyd Wright," a portrait of the architect by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick.

* "Cold War," CNN's documentary series, together with CD-ROM and Internet materials.

* "The American Experience: Riding the Rails," about teenage hobos during the Depression, produced by the American Experience, the American History Project, Out of the Blue Productions and WGBH Educational Foundation.

* "Dateline NBC: Checks and Balances," a newsmagazine story on the transition from welfare to work.

* "Dr. Katz: Professional Therapist," the Comedy Central cartoon.

* "Mobil Masterpiece Theatre: King Lear," Shakespeare's story told by Chestermead Production for the BBC in London and WGBH-TV in Boston.

* "The Baby Dance," a movie on open adoption by Showtime Network, Egg Pictures and Pacific Motion Pictures.

* "NYPD Blue: Raging Bulls," an episode about racial intolerance on the ABC series, by Steven Bochco Productions.

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