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U.S. TV industry bullish on the Emmy for the world's broadcast community.

The International Emmy Award is the symbol of excellence in television. Instituted nine years ago by the International Council of the U.S. National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS), this year's Emmy Award is to be held in New York, November 23.

Last year, 47 different broadcasters and producers from 21 countries entered in the competition with a record high of 104 TV programs. An even greater worldwide participation is expected this year. The process for the Ninth Annual International Emmy Awards, as it is officially named, began last May when request for participation was sent, in three languages, to more than 200 broadcasters and production companies throughout the world.

The International Emmy competition is open only to non-US. broadcasters and producers. Two programs per entrant may be submitted in each of the four categories: Documentary, Drama, Performing Arts and Popular Arts. Programs may be entered in any language and must have originally been telecast in a country other than the U.S., between July 1, 1980 and June 30, 1981. The "Council" has arranged to have a simultaneous translation prepared, so that American judges could better appreciate the programs. This procedure was instituted in 1980. For the first time this year, programs can be submitted on 3/4-inch video cassettes, in the 525 line (NTSC) or 625 line systems (PAL/SECAM). Producing organizations and broadcasters are asked to record an English sound track on the video tapes' second audio channel, or to send the scripts so that the Council can provide for the English translation.

Panels of U.S. television professionals screen all entries using appropriate evaluating criteria. The three highest scoring entries in each category will be chosen in mid-October. Approximately one month later, another panel of U.S. judges screen the 12 finalists, and one outstanding program in each category is then chosen as the honored recipient of the International Emmy Award at a gala ceremony held at the Sheraton Centre in New York. The accounting firm of Touche-Ross supervises the screenings, tabulation and auditing of the ballots.

The International Council of NATAS was established over a decade ago to "advance the arts and sciences of international television," through regular meetings in the U.S. and abroad. The Council also sponsors an annual U.S. "salute" to foreign television organizations, and supports the New York World Television Festival which also provides a forum for additional exposures of Emmy Award winners. A retrospective of this Festival, which showcases prize winners from major international competitive festivals, is expected to be held in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles.

An indication of the importance with which the International Council and the American television industry regard the International Emmy, is to note the people involved. While this author serves as Chairman of the Awards Committee, the Co-Chairmen are B. Donald Grant, President CBS Entertainment; Brandon Tartikoff, President NBC Entertainment; and Tony Thomopolos, President ABC Entertainment. These are perhaps the three most powerful and influential individuals in American television. The Deputy Chairman is Arthur Kane, Vice President and Managing Director International Sales, CBS Broadcasting International.

The judges are professionals throughout the entire scope of the U.S. television industry, from the commercial as well as the public sector.

Lawrence E. Gershman, director of the International Council of the U.S. National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, and chairman of the Council's Award Committee, is MGM Television's Executive Vice President, Worldwide Syndication. Gershman is also chairman of the Screening Committee, International Radio and Television Society. Throughout his 24 years in television, Gershman visited over 80 countries on every Continent.
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Author:Gershman, Laurence
Publication:Video Age International
Date:Nov 1, 1998
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