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Brits a big hit at Int’l Emmys

Canada, Blighty sweep awards

NEW YORK — British producers nabbed four of the six International Emmys during a gala ceremony in Gotham, hosted by “Hollywood Squares” emcee Tom Bergeron, Nov. 19.

The Brits scooped drama (“Dirty Tricks,” Carlton TV); performing arts (“Jesus Christ Superstar,” Universal Pictures Visual Programming/Really Useful Films); arts documentary (“Miles Davis Story,” Channel 4); and popular arts (“So Graham Norton,” Channel 4).

The other two trophies — children and young people, and documentary — went to Canada for CBC’s “Street Cents” and the Netherlands for KRO’s “North Korea,” respectively.

The strong Brit showing at the 29th awards, bestowed annually on shows produced outside the U.S., came despite efforts by I-Emmy sponsor, the International Council, to encourage a wider range of productions in the shortlist. In fact, France, Germany and Japan all had multiple noms.

Double drama

The Council is also considering enlarging and updating the categories. The drama category will be split in two next year to distinguish between TV movie productions and longer-running series-style programs.

So far, no moves have been made to recognize the burgeoning reality or gameshow categories.

Bergeron was joined on stage by other Intl. celebs including “Absolutely Fabulous” stars Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley, the Disney Channel’s star Hilary Duff, Women’s soccer champion Brandi Chastain and Latin singer Jon Secada.

Earlier in the day the Intl. Council sponsored two panels which addressed some of the burning issues in the global TV biz.

The first panel, dubbed the “Global Outlook for 2002,” honed in on the economic challenges facing media players around the world, while the second grappled with the problems international broadcasters face in covering the war on terrorism.

On the first panel, AOL TV CEO Bob Friedman and Canal Plus CEO Pierre Lescure agreed that getting beyond the economic downturn would mean spending money in crucial areas as well as cutting costs.

Panel games

On the second panel, several N.Y.-based correspondents, from Mexico’s Televisa, Japan’s NHK and Germany’s RTL, argued that it was important for journos to maintain their impartiality despite their emotional involvement in the story. They added that American TV news coverage needed to be more critical of certain aspects of the U.S. government’s conduct of the war.

Aside from the programming kudos, the Intl. Council also bestows annual honors on organizations and individuals that have made significant contributions to international television.

Lescure took home the Founders Award, for an individual whose unique creative accomplishments contribute to the quality of global television. Past recipients include “60 Minutes” exec producer Don Hewitt, Hallmark chairman Robert Halmi Sr. and Muppet creator Jim Henson.

And Gustavo Cisneros, the chairman of the Cisneros Group of Companies, received the Directorate Award for outstanding contributions to the arts and sciences of international television. Past recipients include Viacom founder Ralph Baruch and former BBC director general John Birt.

Finally, two special Emmys were bestowed on broadcasters for their support of children’s rights.

UNICEF’s Goodwill Ambassador Roger Moore was on hand to award a one-time prize to Kenya’s Ace Communications for the best TV campaign promoting the “Say Yes for Children” initiative. The UNICEF-International Council-spearheaded initiative encourages people to pledge their support for 10 key actions needed to improve the lives of children around the world.

Backing kids

The annual Intl. Emmy to recognize the best contribution to the Intl. Children’s Day of Broadcasting went to Columbia’s Canal Capital.

All of the awards were bestowed by the Intl. Council of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, an independent organization consisting of TV and entertainment leaders from around the world.

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