The Peabody Awards, which are being handed out in New York on Monday, will be a tribute to NBC past and future.
While NBC may not be able to generate a 2 rating on many nights, it was able to generate four Peaobody awards with shows that wowed the judges, including the Kevin Reilly-protected, low rated Friday Night Lights, as well as the low-rated Dateline and the not so low rated Office and Scrubs.
Here is what those judges said about NBC programming:
"The Education of Ms. Groves" (Dateline) "Inspiring but not schmaltzy, this program tracks the learning curve of a wide-eyed, first-year middle-school teacher in Atlanta who discovers her job demands skills and resources as well as idealism."
The Office: "This American adaptation of the Peabody-winning British hit of the same title — a comedy of workplace manners and politics presented in faux documentary form — has firmly established its own precise voice and studied brilliance."
Scrubs: "A sweet-and-pungent “Wizard of Oz” parody was just one testimonial to the continuing creative vigor, six seasons into its run, of Bill Lawrence’s hellzapoppin’ comedy about the staff of a Los Angeles hospital."
Friday Night Lights: "No dramatic series, broadcast or cable, is more grounded in contemporary American reality than this clear eyed serial about the hopes, dreams, livelihoods and egos intertwined with the fate of high-school football in a Texas town."
But the Emmys are also a salute to Reilly's successor, Ben Silverman, who has a hand in both NBC's The Office and ABC's Ugly Betty, which is also being Peabodied.
Said the judges of Betty: "Inspired by an internationally popular telenovela, this Americanized version defies category. It’s part comedy, part drama, part soap opera, part fashion-industry satire – but is unmistakably graced with wry intelligence and heart."
But you can't pay your bills with statues.
And while we are talking Peobody, if I set the wayback machine, would I not find another Silverman brought in to help turn-around a, then third-place NBC–this was before Fox, which is why it was only in third. Why yes, I would. It was Fred Silverman, the programming wunder30-something with the golden gut.
Here's hoping the new Silverman has better luck.
By John Eggerton