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Peabody Awards Recognize Diverse TV Shows Often Overlooked

Executive producer Jason Blum, left, director and producer Alexandra Shiva and producer Bari Pearlman pose with their award for the documentary "How To Dance in Ohio", at the 75th Annual Peabody Awards Ceremony at Cipriani Wall Street on Saturday, May 21, 2016, in New York.

CREDIT: Evan Agostini/Invision/AP.

The Peabody Awards recently recognized a number of television shows and films that the Emmy Awards failed to recognize. From Netflix’s Beasts of No Nation and Marvel’s Jessica Jones to Amazon’s Transparent and Lifetime’s UnREAL, the Peabody Awards Board of Jurors announced a diverse set of winners.

Netflix’s Beasts of No Nation won the most awards at the Peabodys. Directed by Cary Fukinaga, the movie stars Idris Elba as a war criminal that recruits child soldiers. The Peabodys also recognized Netflix’s Master of None and Marvel’s Jessica Jones. Aziz Ansari created and stars in Master of None, a show that focuses on identity, specifically Ansari’s role as the child of immigrants and as a Millennial in a relationship. Jessica Jones stars Krysten Ritter as a female superhero with PTSD from a history of sexual abuse. Another Netflix winner, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt also features a female rape survivor with PTSD.

Netflix was not the only streaming network with Peabody winners. Amazon was also awarded for its groundbreaking show Transparent, a series that features a transgender woman and her dysfunctional family. The Peabody Awards recognized Transparent‘s second season for its wit and sense of self-awareness.

The awards show also recognized non-streaming network shows like USA’s Mr. Robot and Lifetime’s UnREAL. Mr. Robot deals with our modern issues with technology and violence, while UnREAL is show within a show about society’s reality TV obsession. HBO won for the philosophical sci-fi show The Leftovers, while ABC received an award for black-ish, a show that took on headline issues like police brutality this season.

Despite this diverse selection of programs, a 2015 Writer’s Guild of America report showed that Caucasians and men still dominate TV writers’ rooms. The study revealed that female writers made up 29 percent of TV staff jobs during the recent season, down from 30.5 percent in the previous season. Minorities accounted for 13.7 percent of employment, compared to 15.6 percent during the 2011 to 2012 season.

Alexandra Kilpatrick is a reporter with Generation Progress.

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