International Emmys to honor "Law & Order" creator

By: AP
By: AP

NEW YORK (AP) -- Producer Dick Wolf is receiving a special honor at the 36th International Emmy Awards for extending the long arm of his "Law & Order" franchise into almost every corner of the globe.

Sam Waterston, who has appeared as prosecutor Jack McCoy in more than 325 "Law & Order" episodes since 1994, is on tap to present the International Emmy Founders Award to Wolf at Monday night's awards gala.

He will be joined onstage by his co-star Linus Roache, as well as Dann Florek, Tamara Tunie and Michaela McManus from the spinoff "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit."

"It's just stunning. People see `Law & Order' everyplace," said Bruce L. Paisner, president of the International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. "Every place in the world they have police and some kind of criminal justice system."

The award to Wolf, the creator and executive producer of "Law & Order," will cap an evening in which 40 nominees from 16 countries will be competing for International Emmys, honoring excellence in TV programming produced outside the United States, in 10 categories.

British television productions picked up a leading eight nominations, including "Life on Mars" which is bidding for its second best drama series award. David Suchet received a best actor nod for his portrayal of media mogul Robert Maxwell, while Lucy Cohu is up for best actress for the true-life drama "Forgiven" about a suburban housewife who discovers her husband has been abusing their 12-year-old daughter.

Brazil had five nominations, including "Mandrake" (drama series) about a criminal lawyer from Rio De Janiero, Pedro Cardoso (actor) for the comedy "The Big Family," and Irene Ravache (actress) for the romance "Eternal Magic."

Argentina and Japan each had four nominations, followed by China and Denmark with three apiece. Jordan and Peru had their first-ever nominations.

Paisner said the International Academy wanted to get the jump in honoring Wolf with its Founders Award before "Law & Order," now in its 19th season, overtakes "Gunsmoke" (1955-75) as the longest-running prime time drama series in U.S. television history.

The Founders Award is presented annually to a person who has made a difference in the worldwide television business. "Law & Order and its spinoffs - in the original U.S. and locally franchised versions - have been sold to almost 300 television markets around the world, Paisner said. Earlier this year, deals were inked to make locally produced versions using existing U.S. "Law & Order" scripts in Britain, France and Russia.

But Paisner says there is a growing two-way exchange as television quality improves outside the U.S. and a growing number of channels need programming.

"Lots of shows are coming from other countries and ending up here," said Paisner. "Everything from `Ugly Betty' to `The Office' started someplace else and they're now becoming mainstays of the U.S. television schedule." he said.

There have also been Americanized versions of several past International Emmy winners, including "Life on Mars," "Little Britain," "Supernanny, " and "Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares."

Paisner said the global economic crisis is likely to accelerate the trend of International Emmy nominees and winners being picked up in the U.S. and other countries.

"In tough economic times, you tend to look for surer things and something that has already been developed someplace, that's played to audiences and worked ... if you're a television executive that's the kind of thing you're going to look to," said Paisner.

The event, hosted again by Roger Bart (Broadway's "Young Frankenstein"), will feature several celebrity presenters from U.S. film and television, including Judith Light ("Ugly Betty"), Willie Garson ("Sex & The City") and John Waters ("Hairspray"), as well as actresses Malu Mader of Brazil and Cecilia Suarez of Mexico.

The academy is the largest organization of global broadcasters, with more than 600 members from nearly 70 countries and over 400 companies.

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On the Net:

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

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