International Emmys to honour David Frost
Published Sunday, November 22, 2009 1:44PM EST
NEW YORK - British TV personality David Frost will be honoured at the 37th Annual International Emmy Awards for a wide-ranging career that has taken him from pioneering political satire on television to conducting serious interviews with former U.S. President Richard Nixon and other newsmakers.
ABC's Barbara Walters will present the International Emmy Founders Award to Frost at Monday night's awards gala at the Hilton New York Hotel.
"When they're up there on the stage, you are going to be looking at two of the greatest interviewers in the history of television paired together," said Bruce L. Paisner, president and CEO of the International Academy of Television Arts⪼iences.
The presentation will highlight an evening in which 41 nominees from 17 countries will be competing in 10 categories for International Emmys, honouring excellence in TV programming produced outside the U.S.
British television productions garnered a leading nine nominations, including the long-running MI5 spy series "Spooks" for best drama and the TV talent show parody "Peter Kay's Britain's got the Pop Factor ..." for top comedy.
Mexico's "Capadocia," produced by HBO Latin America, had three nominations. The series set in a fictional women's prison rife with corruption is in contention for best drama, actress (Cecilia Suarez) and actor (Oscar Olivares).
China's "Ultimate Rescue" was a double nominee for best TV movie/mini-series and actor (Chen Li).
Other British nominees include actress Julie Walters for her role in "A Short Stay in Switzerland," inspired by the true story of a woman who took her own life in a Zurich clinic after being diagnosed with an incurable degenerative disease, and Ben Whishaw for his star turn in the thriller "Criminal Justice," about the odyssey of a 21-year-old defendant accused of murder.
Brazil had five nominations, including the comedy "The Slum," followed by the Philippines, Germany and Mexico with three apiece. Thailand had its first-ever nomination for the children's program "Lharn Poo Koo E-Joo."
Paisner said the honorary award to Frost is "long overdue." The Founders Award has been presented annually since 1980 to a person who "crosses cultural boundaries to touch our common humanity."
Frost, 70, first gained prominence on both sides of the Atlantic in the early 1960s as host of the irreverent groundbreaking satirical program "That Was The Week That Was" that lampooned the political establishment.
Frost later turned to producing and hosting more serious interview-based shows. He holds the distinction of having interviewed all seven British prime ministers serving since 1964 as well as all seven U.S. presidents in office between 1969 and 2008. He currently is hosting the weekly program "Frost Over the World" on Al Jazeera English.
"He's had an amazing and unique media career," said Paisner. "One of the really interesting things about David is that he's made a lot of comebacks. I think a lot of people had stopped thinking about him and then (the stage play and Oscar-nominated film) 'Frost/Nixon' appeared and you really saw how good he could be."
Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who is German-born, will present the International Emmy Directorate Award to Markus Schachter for his outstanding leadership of Germany's ZDF television network. Paisner said the award was particularly fitting in a year marking both the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Federal Republic of Germany.
Paisner said the three nominations for "Capadocia" reflect a growing trend toward higher quality television production in more countries outside the U.S. "Capadocia" had the budget to spend a week shooting a single episode, compared to the typical Latin American telenovela which would do one episode in a day, Paisner said.
"There are a lot of places where they are producing more and better dramas and they're putting that on the schedule instead of the lower-cost fare that you might have seen 10 years ago," he said.
The other contenders for best drama include "The Land of the Wind" (South Korea), "The Protectors" (Denmark) and "Sokhulu&Partners" (South Africa). The comedy nominees also include "Hoshi Shinichi's Short Shorts" (Japan) and "Turkish for Beginners" (Germany).
Walters and Suarez will be competing in the best actress category with France's Emma De Caunes for "Night Birds" and the Philippines' Angel Locsin for "The Wolf." Robert de Hoog of the Netherlands was the other best actor nominee for his role in "Skin."