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ATAS goes international

The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences is offering international markets a cut-down version of the 55th Emmy Awards, expecting to bring in seven figures in worldwide license fees, ATAS president Todd Leavitt said.

ATAS will create a one-hour version of the show that highlight the most popular U.S. shows in each market.

The main goal of the effort, Leavitt said, is to promote the return of U.S. scripted TV shows to international prime time.

Increasingly, foreign broadcast networks have pushed U.S. TV shows to late and early hours, which is less profitable for U.S. studios and provides less money for financing domestic prime-time shows.

The Emmys also have faded from international television, although in the past, they have aired in the United Kingdom and in other markets.

Leavitt and ATAS will kick off their push by attending MIPCOM in Cannes, France, this weekend, even though the United States is likely to be bombing Iraq by then.

ATAS has selected Fireworks International, a subsidiary of Canadian company CanWest Entertainment, to distribute the show internationally, while ATAS will retain the North American distribution rights.

GK Media will distribute the show in Australia and New Zealand, Leavitt said. The 55th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards will air on Fox Sunday, Sept. 21.