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Three L.A. stations win Peabody Awards

April 06, 2006|From Times staff and wire reports

THREE Los Angeles television stations were among the winners announced Wednesday of the 65th annual Peabody Awards for excellence in TV and radio programming -- an eclectic list that also included Hurricane Katrina news coverage, the irreverent comedy "South Park" and the sci-fi drama "Battlestar Galactica."

The winners for 2005 were announced by the University of Georgia's Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. The awards will be presented June 5 in New York City.

The local winners were KNBC-TV Channel 4 for "Burning Questions," a four-part news series about a commercial and residential development built on the site of a leaking subterranean gas reservoir; KCET-TV Channel 28 for "A Place of Our Own," a bilingual public-service project designed to help kindergarteners develop social and cognitive skills; and KMEX-TV Channel 34 for "15% of the United States," a 19-part series about the history and future of America's Latino population.

Two Gulf Coast TV stations were honored with Peabodys for their coverage of Hurricane Katrina: WWL, which judges said was the only New Orleans station to broadcast in the city through the storm and its aftermath, and WLOX, which kept Biloxi, Miss., residents informed even after broadcasters were forced to the halls when the roof of their building was blown off.

Peabody judges said Katrina also brought out the best in broadcasters. CNN's continuous coverage made it what the judges called "a go-to channel for the most current news about Katrina and its effects," while "NBC Nightly News With Brian Williams" was cited for its "extraordinary coverage and analysis" of the hurricane's aftermath.

Comedy Central's "South Park," which received its first Peabody, was praised as "TV's boldest, most politically incorrect satirical series."

The Sci Fi Channel won its first Peabody for "Battlestar Galactica," a drama about a war-ravaged civilization trying to start anew. Also winning their first awards were FX, for the police series "The Shield," and the Sundance Channel, for presenting "The Staircase," an eight-part documentary about a North Carolina murder case.

HBO picked up three awards: for "Children of Beslan," a documentary about the aftermath of the September 2004 terrorist capture of a Russian elementary school; "Yesterday," a South African-produced film; and "Classical Baby," which judges called "an inventive, whimsical marriage of animation to classical music."

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