'House of Cards,' HBO docs and PBS headline Peabody winners

Wed Apr 2, 2014 1:55pm EDT
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By Eric Kelsey

(Reuters) - Netflix political thriller "House of Cards" and jail house comedy-drama "Orange Is the New Black," along with a trio of HBO documentaries, headlined the winners of the annual Peabody Awards, the oldest and one of the top honors in broadcasting.

Public broadcaster PBS won 12 awards, including one for "League of Denial: The NFL's Concussion Crisis" about football's long-term health risks and "Broadway Musicals: A Jewish Legacy," which examined the Jewish roots of American musical theater.

The Peabody Awards recognize the best in television, radio, Internet broadcasting, producing organizations and individuals. A record 46 awards were handed out this year.

"House of Cards," which was the first online-streaming show to win an Emmy award, was praised for Netflix's unique approach of releasing all the season's episodes at once.

"Netflix took binge viewing to a new level and obliterated the idea that a hit TV show needs a slot in prime time," the Peabody panel said.

Netflix Inc's "Orange Is the New Black," about a bisexual woman reunited with her ex-lover in prison, was lauded for its "complex, riveting character study rich in insights about femininity, race, power, and the politics, inside and outside prison walls, of mass incarceration."

Alex Gibney's documentary, "Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God," about a Catholic priest who sexually abused hundreds of deaf children earned a Peabody for HBO.

The Time Warner Inc-owned premium cable network also picked up awards for documentaries "Six by Sondheim," on musical theater composer Stephen Sondheim and "Life According to Sam," about a teenager with the early onset aging disease progeria.   Continued...

Cast member Kevin Spacey poses at the premiere for the second season of the television series "House of Cards" at the Directors Guild of America in Los Angeles, California February 13, 2014. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni