Winner 1981

“Viewpoint,” “Nightline,” and “America Held Hostage: The Secret Negotiations”

ABC News

The role of the Peabody Board in seeking to recognize excellence in radio and television is a difficult one. It is difficult not because there is so little to recognize, but because there is so much. ABC News has a cup which almost “runneth over.” As the Board viewed program after program from ABC News, each of which indicated the excellence of that organization, it came to the conclusion that recognition was due ABC News for the superb overall effort, for the sustained excellence, and, in particular, for some programs and series which stood out. Thus, a Peabody Award to ABC News for excellence in its overall coverage and reporting g of the news, but an award with special reference to three outstanding program efforts. Viewpoint is ABC’s new, experimental program which provides a forum for criticism and analysis of television news. It is hosted by the able and engaging Ted Koppel and is produced by William Lord and George Watson. Nightline, like Viewpoint, is still a relatively new phenomenon in network news programming. Also, like Viewpoint, it is enhanced by the exceptional talents of William Lord and Ted Koppel. As an example of the excellence of ABC News in a different vein, the Board highlights the great quality of the three-hour account of the 14-month, behind-the-scenes struggle to resolve the Iran crisis. Utilizing the exceptional talents of Pierre Salinger, who was not only the chief reporter but served as its narrator, America Held Hostage, was timely, informative, and clearly exceptional. A Peabody Award to ABC News for its talents, its abilities, and its excellence.