Much like the Autobots in 2014, we’re living in an age of extinction, and this time, it’s coming for award shows. On the heels of two other award function disruptions, the Peabody Awards will not hold its first in-person ceremony since 2019 because of the writers strike. As was the case with the MTV Movie & TV Awards two weeks ago, the Peabodys faced a difficult decision. If it held the ceremony, the show could have faced potential picketers and a slew of no-shows.
“Due to the ongoing uncertainty and meaningful challenges that exist industrywide, we have decided to cancel the 83rd annual Peabody Awards ceremony that was set to take place on June 11 in Los Angeles,” the Peabody organization wrote on Facebook. “As an organization dedicated to honoring the most compelling and empowering stories in broadcasting and streaming media, we recognize and respect the position that many of this year’s Peabody Award winners find themselves in.”
“Canceling the ceremony is extremely disappointing as this year’s 39 winners are immensely talented and have brought forth powerful stories that deserve to be celebrated.”
In what is now an unfortunate trend, the Peabody Awards have not been held in person since 2019. The COVID-19 pandemic pushed the ceremony three times, with the organization hoping to bring the event to Southern California for the first time this June. However, because an astonishing number of the 10 entertainment award winners were written by WGA writers (and likely more in other categories), it probably would’ve been a disrespectful way to celebrate. There’s also the concern that picketing outside the show would really kill the vibe—a small price to pay for a fair wage. Nevertheless, the 10 winners—Abbott Elementary, Andor, Atlanta, Bad Sisters, Better Call Saul, Los Espookys, Mo, Pachinko, Severance, and We’re Here—will still receive their Peabodys, which is a pretty nice consolation prize.
The Peabody Awards ceremony is the latest disturbance to the awards circuit as it begins gearing up for another round of statue passing. Two weeks ago, after numerous winners, presenters, and guests rescinded their R.S.V.P.s, the MTV Movie & TV Awards shifted from a live broadcast to a pre-recorded show. Still, with acceptance speeches coming via video, winners, such as Pedro Pascal, RuPaul’s Drag Race: All Stars winner Jinkx Monsoon, and others, had the opportunity to reiterate their support of the WGA.
The Tony Awards are also going through it. Last week, the WGA denied the Tony Awards Management Committee’s request for a waiver for the Tonys to air live on CBS and Paramount+ on June 11. As we’ve previously noted, the Tonys are more of an advertising gambit for Broadway as the national exposure drives ticket sales for theaters on one block in New York City. Though, even if the waiver is granted, it’s unlikely that many actors or writers will cross the picket line to attend. Thankfully, the Tonys have a show pre-written as a contingency plan—which somewhat defeats the purpose since the show advertises live theater, but, hey, it’s something.
Of course, a better option would be for the studios to come to the table and offer a fair deal that meets WGA’s demands. Then, as soon as the writers get their contracts, we can all return to enjoying award shows.