International Emmys to Honor Al Gore

By CHARLES J. GANS
The Associated Press
Sunday, November 18, 2007; 4:56 PM

NEW YORK -- Al Gore will be able to add another award to a collection that already includes an Oscar, an Emmy and the Nobel Peace Prize when Robert De Niro presents the former vice president with a special honor Monday night at the 35th annual International Emmy Awards.

British television productions garnered a leading eight International Emmy nominations, including two for the BBC1's "The Street," which follows the lives of residents of a Manchester street. It was nominated for best drama series and best actor, Oscar winner Jim Broadbent, who plays an embittered pensioner.

Brazil finished a close second with a record seven nominations, five of which went to TV Globo productions, including "Elis Regina Special: All My Life" for arts programming.

Japan had four nominations, followed by South Africa with three, including two for "Home Affairs," for best drama and best actress, Brenda Ngxoli, who plays Vuyo in the series about the lives of a diverse group of South African women.

Germany, Denmark, China and the Netherlands had two nominations apiece. Colombia received its first nomination ever, for the documentary "In God's Hands."

The International Emmys honor excellence in TV programming produced outside the U.S.

Gore will receive the International Emmy Founders Award not only in recognition of his role in raising the alarm about global warming, but also for his efforts in launching the interactive Current TV, said Bruce Paisner, president and CEO of the International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.

"One of the main criteria of that award is someone who does something to promote our common humanity ... and in terms of the cause he took up with climate change, he really has done that," Paisner said in a telephone interview.

The award also honors Gore's work as co-chairman and co-founder of Current TV. "He looks at Current as being the first major vehicle at the intersection of television and the Internet, and that's a very important thing in terms of our industry," Paisner said.

Current, a cable and satellite television network with an integrated Web site, relies on viewer-created "pods," or short video segments, for about a third of its on-air content. It is now available in more than 50 million households in the U.S., Britain and Ireland.

"It is a way for viewers to make television theirs as opposed to just the broadcasters'," Paisner said.

This year's 38 nominees in nine categories represent a more diverse and broader field than ever before, spread among 16 countries, Paisner said.

"The depth and quality of television production is just improving at a rapid pace all over the world," said Paisner, who is also president of Hearst Entertainment. "You get entries now from China or Brazil, and except for the language you would think they were coming from someplace which you thought traditionally had the highest standards. They are now setting standards that are world-class standards."

The event, hosted by Roger Bart ("Desperate Housewives"), currently starring in the Broadway musical "Young Frankenstein," will feature several celebrity presenters from U.S. television, including Sam Waterston ("Law & Order"), Lorraine Bracco ("The Sopranos"), Rob Morrow ("Numb3rs") and George Wendt ("Cheers").

The academy is the largest organization of global broadcasters, with more than 500 members from nearly 70 countries and over 400 companies.

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On the Net:

International Emmys: http://www.iemmys.tv

© 2007 The Associated Press