SEC Network’s TrueSouth Presented by YellaWood has been nominated for the prominent James Beard Award, earning a finalist nod in the Visual Media—Short Form category as part of Wednesday’s 2022 James Beard Foundation Broadcast Media Award Nominees announcement. The Lake Village, Ark. episode in the fourth season of TrueSouth received the recognition from the foundation, with the media awards focusing on digital and terrestrial media—social media, radio, television broadcasts, podcasts, documentaries, online sites—covering food and beverage topics appearing widely for the first time in the United States in 2020 and 2021.
“From the very beginning, TrueSouth has used food as a backdrop for telling beautiful and often untold stories about the cities, towns, and people of the South,” said Ilan Ben-Hanan, ESPN Senior Vice President of Programming and Acquisitions. “It has resonated deeply with our audience. We are so proud of the show, and honored to be nominated for this prestigious award.”
The mission of the James Beard Awards is to recognize exceptional talent and achievement in the culinary arts, hospitality, media, and broader food system, as well as a demonstrated commitment to racial and gender equity, community, sustainability, and a culture where all can thrive. The winner of the Visual Media—Short Form category will be announced at the Media Awards ceremony in Chicago on the campus of Columbia College Chicago on Saturday, June 11.
Executive producer Wright Thompson shared, “we are grateful to the people of the Arkansas Delta for allowing us into their lives, and to Greg Sankey and the SEC for the support and belief.”
“To be nominated for the James Beard Award is a deserving recognition for TrueSouth, one of the signature programs on SEC Network,” said SEC Deputy Commissioner Charlie Hussey. “John T. Edge and Wright Thompson have created and developed a program that is unique among conference networks and is reflective of the distinct connection between sports, food and culture in the SEC.”
TrueSouth floats along to the great state of Arkansas, and focuses on the river that defines its eastern flank. Sometimes when the Mississippi River changes course, it leaves behind an old bend in the main channel called an oxbow. Lake Chicot, home to Lake Village, Ark., is the largest oxbow in North America.
Here, we explore how that river has shaped place and people. At Cowboy’s Steakhouse, Santa Lee, the first-born son of Chinese immigrants, cooks prime ribeyes in the rear of a chain pizza restaurant. At Rhoda’s Famous Hot Tamales and Pies, Rhoda Adams and her daughter Dorothy Adams Mitchell bake half-pecan and half-sweet potato pies worth a three-hour drive.
In Lake Village, we celebrate family legacies with a daughter who looks after her mother. And a son who, like his father, works to make his children proud. Local music is always foundational to our shows. This time out we crowd-sourced a number of songs from viewers. Listen out for Arkansans Greg Spradlin from Pangburn and Adam Faucett from Benton.
TrueSouth is a limited series on Southern food and culture, airing monthly in the fall on SEC Network. Four-time James Beard Award winner John T. Edge writes and hosts the show, which is executive produced by two-time New York Times best-selling author, ESPN senior writer Wright Thompson, and produced by Bluefoot Entertainment.
The series, currently filming its fifth season on SEC Network, revolves around two food stories told from one place, which TrueSouth sets in conversation to make larger points about Southern beliefs and identities. Last season’s featured places are Scott, La., Lake Village, Ark., Mobile Bay, Ala., St. Louis, Mo., and Greenville, Miss. Seasons 1-4 of TrueSouth are available in their entirety on ESPN+.
Music plays an integral role in TrueSouth’s storytelling via on-screen performances and on-screen credits. TrueSouth playlist on Spotify shares the full soundtrack and score of every season of TrueSouth.
About SEC Network
The Southeastern Conference and ESPN launched SEC Network on August 14, 2014. The network televises hundreds of games across the SEC’s 21 sports annually. Programming includes in-depth analysis and storytelling in studio shows such as SEC Nation, Thinking Out Loud, Out Of Pocket and Rally Cap, daily news and information with The Paul Finebaum Show and SEC Now, original content such as TrueSouth, SEC Storied and SEC Inside, and more. Hundreds of additional live events are available for streaming exclusively on SEC Network’s digital companion, SEC Network+, via the ESPN App and SECNetwork.com. The network is also available in more than 135 countries throughout Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia via ESPN Player, ESPN’s sports streaming service in the region.