FRONTLINE Wins Record 3 Peabody Awards


May 9, 2023

FRONTLINE, the acclaimed investigative documentary series housed at GBH in Boston, has received three 2023 George Foster Peabody Awards.  

The series won two Peabody Awards in the News category for Michael Flynn’s Holy War and Ukraine: Life Under Russia’s Attack and one in the Public Service category for The Power of Big Oil. These wins mark the most Peabody Awards FRONTLINE has won in a single year.

From director Richard Rowley, correspondent Michelle Smith and producers Paul Abowd and Jacqueline Soohen, Michael Flynn’s Holy War — FRONTLINE’s October 2022 documentary in collaboration with The Associated Press — examines how retired three-star general Michael Flynn has emerged as a leader in a far-right movement that seeks to put its brand of Christianity at the center of American civic life and institutions and is attracting election deniers, conspiracy theorists and extremists from around the country. The Peabody-winning FRONTLINE and AP documentary was made with support from WNET’s Preserving Democracy.

The Peabody Board of Jurors called Michael Flynn’s Holy War a “cautionary piece” and “an important exposé of a man on a mission, who remains dangerously under the radar.” The jurors added that this Peabody Award recognizes the film team’s “willingness to shine a bright light on religious extremism and its intersection with current politics.”

From directors Mani Benchelah and Patrick Tombola and executive producer Ben de Pear, Ukraine: Life Under Russia’s Attack — FRONTLINE’s August 2022 documentary with Channel 4 — provides a dramatic and intimate look inside the Russian assault on Kharkiv. The film follows displaced families trying to survive underground, civilians caught in the war and first responders risking their lives amid the shelling of Ukraine’s second largest city.

Peabody jurors said that “the film’s impact cannot be underestimated, as it delivered to international audiences some of the first footage of Ukrainian resistance and resilience, conveyed with raw emotion and authenticity in their own words.” The jurors praised Ukraine: Life Under Russia’s Attack for “its vivid testament to the incredible bravery of the people living through a war with no end in sight.”

And FRONTLINE’s epic three-part documentary series from April and May 2022, The Power of Big Oil, investigates the decades-long failure to confront the threat of climate change and the role of the fossil fuel industry.

With Dan Edge serving as series producer, Part One, directed by Jane McMullen, charts the fossil fuel industry’s early research on climate change and investigates industry efforts to sow seeds of doubt about the science. Part Two, directed by Gesbeen Mohammad, explores the industry’s efforts to stall climate policy, even as evidence about climate change grew more certain in the new millennium. And as leading climate scientists issue new warnings about climate change, Part Three, directed by Robin Barnwell, examines how the fossil fuel industry worked to delay the transition to renewable energy sources — including by promoting natural gas as a cleaner alternative.  The team worked on the series with journalist Russell Gold.

“The series explores in forensic detail how the greatest existential crisis of our time has long been on the radar of big oil companies, which chose to bury damning research, exploit climate-change denialism, and derail transitions from fossil fuel to renewable energy sources,” the Peabody Award jurors said, adding that the series provides  “an invaluable public service in examining the efforts to stall science and climate policy and for holding accountable an industry that placed profit over the planet.”

“It’s so meaningful to see our documentary storytelling be recognized by the George Foster Peabodys — from our domestic reporting with AP, to our international reporting on the war in Ukraine, along with our reporting on climate change, an issue that has global ramifications,” said FRONTLINE editor-in-chief and executive producer Raney Aronson-Rath. “We share today’s great news with our intrepid, award-winning film teams, our editorial partners, and of course GBH, PBS and CPB whose support sustains our ability to tell these complex stories.”

“We celebrate both our winning and nominated film teams today and remain grateful to the Peabody Awards jurors for acknowledging the breadth of our investigative journalism this year,” Aronson-Rath added.

Since 1940, the prestigious George Foster Peabody Awards have honored excellence in broadcasting. The awards now recognize excellence in digital storytelling as well. 

Including our winners this year, seven FRONTLINE documentaries American Reckoning (in partnership with Retro Report); Crime Scene: Bucha (in partnership with The Associated Press and SITU Research); Michael Flynn’s Holy War (in partnership with The Associated Press); Putin’s Attack on Ukraine: Documenting War Crimes (in partnership with The Associated Press); Putin’s War at Home (with ITV); The Power of Big Oil; and Ukraine: Life Under Russia’s Attack (with Channel 4) were nominated for 2023 Peabody Awards. FRONTLINE also received an Immersive and Interactive Peabody nomination for Un(re)solved, in partnership with Ado Ato Pictures and StoryCorps

Of the 35 total Peabody Awards given this year, PBS produced the most with 6 wins. To date, FRONTLINE has won 31 Peabody Awards. Stream our 2023 Peabody Award-winners below:

Michael Flynn’s Holy War (credits)

The Power of Big Oil (credits)

Part One: Denial

Part Two: Doubt

Part Three: Delay

Ukraine: Life Under Russia’s Attack (credits)