New York: Simon Cowell`s kinder side will be spotlighted when the former `American Idol` judge is honored at the 38th Annual International Emmy Awards.
Cowell, who left "Idol" earlier this year to launch an American version of his hit British singing competition "The X Factor" next year, will be presented the International Emmy Founders Award in recognition of both his television achievements and extensive charitable work. The awards ceremony will take place Monday night at the Hilton New York Hotel.
"Here`s a guy who has really changed television," said Bruce L. Paisner, president and CEO of the International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. "He has taken the form of the television talent show, reinvented and repositioned it, and made it must-view television."
The presentation to Cowell will be the centerpiece of the awards show, hosted by former "Beverly Hills 90210" star Jason Priestley, in which 39 nominees from 15 countries will be vying in 10 categories for International Emmys, honoring excellence in TV programming outside the U.S.
British television productions garnered a leading nine nominations, including two for "The Street," the BBC1 series about the lives of different residents on a road in northwest England. "The Street" is in contention for best drama series and best actor for Bob Hoskins in his role as a reformed alcoholic who runs a pub and stands up to the neighborhood mobster.
Helena Bonham Carter is among the nominees for best actress for the biopic "Enid," on BBC4, in which she portrayed the popular British children`s writer Enid Blyton, who had a troubled personal life.
The Argentine crime miniseries "Epitafios," produced by HBO Latin America, also received two nominations — for best drama series and best actor, with Leonardo Sbaraglia cited for his role as an assassin.
Other contenders for best drama series include "Clouds Over the Hill" (Japan) and "The Killing II" (Denmark). The comedy nominees are "Los Simuladores" (Mexico), "Peep Show" (Britain), "Talok Hok Chak" (Thailand) and "Traffic Light" (Israel).
Brazil received five nominations, all for TV Globo productions, including a best actress nod to Lilia Cabral for her role as a former model coping with a painful divorce in "Seize the Day."
The other nominees for best actor were Germany`s Sebastian Koch for "Sea Wolf" and the Philippines` Sid Lucero for "Dahil May Isang Ikaw" ("Because There Is Only You"), which was also nominated for best telenovela. The other actress nominees include Germany`s Iris Berben for "The Krupps — A Family Between War and Peace" and South Africa`s Lerato Moloisane for "Home Affairs."
Paisner said some eyebrows were raised among members of the special awards committee when Cowell was first proposed for the Founders Award, which recognizes "significant achievements in television that cross cultural boundaries and contribute to our common humanity." But any doubts were quickly dispelled upon a closer look at his career.
The British music executive became a global celebrity for his caustic comments as an "Idol" judge, and then went on to create "The X Factor" and "Got Talent" franchises, which have been adapted by television broadcasters in dozens of countries around the world.
As an "Idol" judge, Cowell helped raise more than $180 million for charities in three seasons of "Idol Gives Back." He also has used his position in the entertainment industry to raise millions more for children`s, animal welfare and other charities worldwide, recently recording REM`s ballad "Everybody Hurts" with an all-star cast from Mariah Carey to Susan Boyle to benefit Haitian earthquake relief.
"The man is actually rather amazing in terms of the things that he supports and lends his personal presence to," said Paisner. "The more you look at this guy the more impressed you become with what he`s done and he kind of hides it all under that rather gruff stage personality of his."
Jimmy Fallon will present the honorary International Emmy Directorate Award for longtime achievements by a television professional to his "Late Night" executive producer, Lorne Michaels, who created and produced "Saturday Night Live, launching the careers of several generations of film and TV comic stars.
"There was nothing like `Saturday Night Live` before he invented it, and he`s kept it going, and kept it fresh and topical for 36 years," said Paisner. "That in and of itself is stunning."