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TV comedies "Girls," "Louie" headline Peabody Awards

(Reuters) - Irreverent U.S. cable television series "Girls" and "Louie" on Wednesday headlined the winners of the annual Peabody Awards, the oldest and one of the top honors in broadcasting.

The awards recognize excellence in television and radio broadcasting, as well as by webcasters, producing organizations and individuals.

HBO's "Girls," which has earned creator and star Lena Dunham, 26, two Golden Globe awards and a slew of Emmy nominations, was lauded by the Peabody panel for its "singular, decidedly unglamorous take on sex and the single girl."

Comedian Louis C.K.'s "Louie," a cult hit on FX of unconnected story lines and vignettes about a single father in the entertainment business, was praised as a "milestone of comedic reach and candor."

The Peabody panel, which also honors international and local programs, awarded a prize to WVIT-TV, an NBC affiliate in West Hartford, Connecticut, for its coverage of the elementary school mass shootings in December in nearby Newtown.

Other notable winners include British broadcaster ITV's documentary on the late BBC presenter Jimmy Savile that explored allegations of decades-long sexual abuse by the once beloved star.

The BBC science-fiction drama "Doctor Who" won an Institutional Peabody Award for its ability to evolve with the times over its some 50 years in production.

Producer Lorne Michaels, the driving force behind NBC sketch comedy series "Saturday Night Live," won an individual Peabody Award for career achievement.

The website SCOTUSblog.com, which provides analysis and archival material on the U.S. Supreme Court, also won an award and was praised as a one-stop shop for information on the court.

A 16-member board of critics, experts, and news and entertainment industry insiders select the winners of the annual awards handed out by the University of Georgia's Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication.

The winners will be honored at a ceremony in New York on May 20.

(Reporting by Eric Kelsey; Editing by Jill Serjeant and Vicki Allen)

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