Voters are able to make informed choices about the world's top TV

The term “golden age” has been thrown around to describe America’s current television bounty. But it doesn’t stop within U.S. borders.

“Thirty years ago, there was all but an American and British monopoly (on international TV), and that just isn’t true anymore,” says Bruce Paisner, prexy and CEO of the Intl. Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.

The term “golden age” has been thrown around to describe America’s current television bounty. But it doesn’t stop within U.S. borders.

His organization throws the annual Intl. Emmy Awards ceremony, which this year will honor 12 programs and individuals from 68 countries. That’s 12 awards handed out from more than 1,000 applicants, diverse in every conceivable way.

This nearly insurmountable task, though, gets more surmountable by the year. The Intl. Emmys have streamlined the process, ensuring no TV stone is left unturned.

The awards have existed for a while (this year is the 39th iteration), but the Academy stepped up in a big way nearly eight years ago, when Paisner and exec director Camille Bidermann-Roizen noticed a globalization movement in the industry.

“(We) got the sense that original production in the world television community was getting better,” Paisner says, attributing a larger global investment in smallscreen programming, along with access to cheaper TV equipment.

The challenge, he says, became “getting the word out — getting (producers) to understand the best programs really will have a chance. There was a sense back then that the British were going to win everything.”

To level the playing field, the Academy required all submissions be dubbed in English. And jurors from each country, who make the preliminary round of cuts, are required to speak English. “This enables the personality of the show to shine through,” Bidermann-Roizen says.

The next round requires jurors (whose numbers now total 800) look at programs on a regional basis, followed by a final round of straight-up Emmy-style voting. The Intl. Emmys conquer the world by dividing it into manageable-sized chunks; the awards have grown from there.

And the bigger they’ve gotten, the more their effects have been felt in the United States.

“In the past, TV shows from the U.S. were adapted to other countries; today, international shows are being recognized and adapted into the U.S. market,” says Elad Koperman, exec producer of 2010 comedy kudo winner “Traffic Light,” an Israeli show whose format was used for a (now-shuttered) Fox sitcom of the same name. The effect has also been seen with such programs as “Ugly Betty,” “In Treatment,” “The X Factor” and “The Voice.”

“TV professionals around the world have much more in common with each other than anyone might suspect,” Paisner says. “As we got more (professionals) to be part of the process, it sparked much broader revolution and recognition of that common interest.”

And the awards themselves have gained prestige. This year they’ll honor Subhash Chandra, founder of Zee TV — the first privately owned network in India. He admits he rarely accepts outside awards, since his company gives nearly 70 each year, but the Intl. Emmys would garner exposure outside his region.

“We want people to know that India is not only about techy people or computers, but also doing some meaningful programming for the last two decades,” he says. “Now we’re trying to do it for a global audience.”

39th Intl. Emmys Awards
When: 8 p.m. today
Where: New York Hilton
Web: iemmys.tv

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