NEW YORK (Reuters) - British music impresario and prickly former “American Idol” judge Simon Cowell received an honorary International Emmy award on Monday at the annual prizes for television produced outside the United States.
Britain won five of the competitive prizes and Portugal took home its first-ever Emmy.
Cowell, who left Fox’s hit talent show “American Idol” after last season, was presented with the Founders Award by News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch, who lauded Cowell as a “peerless executive” who had also boosted Fox’s financial fortunes.
“Whoever said that fame, money and success will destroy you -- completely wrong,” quipped Cowell, who eschewed his trademark T-shirts for the black-tie gala in favor of a crisp white dress shirt, unbuttoned halfway down his chest.
Cowell added that he has had the time of his life for the past 10 years, fostering franchises including “Got Talent” and “The X Factor” that air in countries around the world.
This season he will bring “The X Factor” to U.S. television.
While Britain again dominated the 38th annual awards, winning five of the 10 awards, the Emmys were more widely international this year with Romania, Israel, Argentina, South Korea and Portugal, which won the telenovela prize for “My Love,” all taking home awards.
Top acting honors went to Bob Hoskins for “The Street” and Helena Bonham Carter for “Enid,” in which she plays children’s author Enid Blyton. Neither was on hand to accept the awards.
“The Street,” which chronicles the lives of neighbors all living on the same street in Manchester, was named best drama series.
Best comedy series went to Israel’s “Traffic Light,” about three friends in their 30s each enmeshed in differing stages of relationships.
Romania’s “The World According to Ion B.,” about a homeless man who finds success as a contemporary artist, won for arts programing, while “Mom and the Red Bean Cake,” a South Korean production about a mother fighting stomach cancer, won the documentary Emmy.
Britain’s also won for children’s programing for “Shaun the Sheep,” while “Small Island” was named best TV movie or miniseries.
“CQC,” Argentina’s irreverent look at the week’s news, won for non-scripted programing.
The Directorate Award was presented to Lorne Michaels, creator and producer of the long-running NBC comedy show “Saturday Night Live,” by Jimmy Fallon, one of the show’s former stars, and “30 Rock” star Alec Baldwin.
Presenters at the ceremony, hosted by actor Jason Priestley, included Elisabeth Moss of AMC’s hit show “Mad Men,” veteran actor Eli Wallach, who recently received an honorary Academy Award, and journalist Bill Moyers.
Christopher Michaud, New York bureau