Tuning in to TV: Lear, Alda honored at International Emmys

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Producer Ryan Murphy paid tribute at the International Emmy Awards to television legends Norman Lear and Alan Alda, whose cutting-edge, socially conscious shows in the ‘70s paved the way for his shows, including “Glee” and “The New Normal.”

Unlike previous years when Britain dominated the International Emmys, which honor excellence in television production outside the U.S., the winners in the nine categories this year spanned six countries. Argentina, Brazil and Britain each won two awards, and Australia, France and Germany had one apiece, according to The Associated Press.

Mr. Murphy closed Monday night’s awards ceremony by presenting the 40th Anniversary Special Founders Award to Mr. Lear, creator of “All in the Family,” and Mr. Alda, star of “M*A*S*H.” Mr. Murphy said he was pleased to be presenting the awards “to two of my idols, guys who really did change the face of television and thus the world.”

Fittingly, the night’s big winner was Argentina’s “Television x la Inclusion,” a drama produced by On TV Contenidos dealing with issues of social exclusion and inclusion. It became the first series in the history of the International Emmys to sweep both acting categories.

The British winners were in the documentary category for “Terry Pratchett: Choosing to Die,” about the author who after his Alzheimer’s diagnosis travels to a Swiss clinic for a first-hand look at assisted suicide procedures, and “The Twilight Zone”-inspired “Black Mirror,” a suspenseful and satirical look at the unease created by modern technology, in the TV movie/miniseries category.

Both of Brazil’s wins went to TV Globo productions. “The Invisible Woman,” about a publicist married to his boss whose relationship is threatened by the appearance in his life of his imaginary ideal woman, was chosen the best comedy. “The Illusionist,” the story of a scam artist who becomes an illusionist after meeting a magician in jail, won in the telenovela category.

The other Emmy winners included France’s police drama “Braquo: Season 2,” about a group of Parisian cops who circumvent the law, using violence and intimidation, for best drama series; Germany’s “Songs of War,” in which “Sesame Street” composer Christopher Cerf explores the relationship between music and violence after learning his songs had been used to torture prisoners in Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib, for arts programming; and “The Amazing Race Australia” for nonscripted entertainment.

Documentary IDs inmate as killer in Simpson murder

A documentary says a Florida death-row inmate might have been involved in the murder of O.J. Simpson’s ex-wife and her friend, a claim being criticized by one victim’s family and being looked at skeptically by a detective who has dealt with the convict.

The Investigation Discovery show, “My Brother the Serial Killer,” will air Wednesday. The film, according to The Associated Press, is a look at Glen Rogers, a carnival worker Florida jurors convicted in 1997 of killing a woman in a Tampa motel room.

Rogers, who is now 50, also was convicted of murder in California and is a suspect in homicides in Mississippi, Louisiana and Kentucky — and possibly several other states.

Most of his victims were women he had met in bars while drifting across the country. All of his victims were stabbed to death. With blazing blue eyes, a scraggly beard and long, blond hair, Rogers was arrested in November 1995, near Waco, Ky., after a nationwide manhunt for the so-called “Cross-Country Killer” and a 100 mph chase.

Rogers, who is from Hamilton, Ohio, met Nicole Brown Simpson in 1994 when he was living in Southern California, his family said in the documentary.

A criminal profiler in the film said he received paintings by Rogers with clues possibly linking him to the 1994 murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend, Ronald Goldman. The profiler said Rogers sent him a painting of the murder weapon used in the slayings.

“I believe that Glen believes he killed them,” said Anthony Meoli, an Atlanta criminal profiler who has received more than 1,000 letters from Rogers and has interviewed him in prison.

O.J. Simpson was accused in those killings but the so-called “trial of the century” in Los Angeles ended with his acquittal in 1995.

Much of the film is narrated by Rogers‘ brother, Clay Rogers, who used to rob homes with Glen Rogers as a teen, but in 1993 called police on his brother after finding a body at the family’s Kentucky cabin.

Clay Rogers said that in 1994, weeks before the infamous murders, his brother told him about meeting Nicole Brown Simpson.

“They’ve got money, they’re well off and I’m taking her down,” Clay Rogers recalls Glen Rogers saying.

Other family members also said Glen Rogers talked about meeting Simpson’s ex-wife.

In a statement, Goldman’s sister criticized the documentary.

“I am appalled at the level of irresponsibility demonstrated by the network and the producers of this so-called documentary,” Kim Goldman said. “This is the first time we are hearing about this story, and considering that their ‘main character,’ Glen Rogers, confessed to stabbing my brother and Nicole to death, you would think we would be in the loop.”

Mr. Meoli said Rogers told him that O.J. Simpson paid him to break into Nicole Brown Simpson’s house to steal a pair of $20,000 earrings. Other clues, Mr. Meoli said, were that Rogers drove a white pickup for his construction job — a white pickup was seen near the Simpson house on the day of the murders — and that a second bloody footprint at the scene was never identified.

“All those things put together a plausible alternative theory,” Mr. Meoli said.

At least one detective who interviewed Rogers, though, said the convicted killer is lying in a misguided effort to get off death row.

Rejected by ABC Family, comedian turns to Internet

Jake Sasseville had it all planned out: He’d been working for a year on a TV show based on his life, and he was going to get it on the air in a unique fashion — by buying network time.

He purchased eight 30-minute blocks on ABC Family to launch “Delusions of Grandeur.” It was set to debut at 1 a.m. Oct. 4, but the network pulled it two weeks before, Mr. Sasseville said.

“I got a ton of emails from the legal team who all of a sudden chose that the show was not going to air,” the 26-year-old said of the show, which has found on home on Blip, a website for original series. “And this was after I paid for the time.”

ABC Family, which is owned by Disney, said in a statement that Mr. Sasseville’s show didn’t air “because it did not meet our standards for programming for time buy purchases.” According to The Associated Press, the network didn’t provide details. Mr. Sasseville received a refund.

Mr. Sasseville was using the time buy and paid programming format, where the purchaser buys airtime and gets sponsors, but the network retains control. He used the format for “The Edge With Jake Sasseville” in 2008, which aired on ABC affiliates following “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” and for “Late Night Republic,” which aired on MyNetworkTV and Fox stations from August 2010 to October 2011.

He said he funded both programs through sponsorships with Overstock.com, Ford Motor Co., Microsoft Corp. and others.

“Delusions of Grandeur,” a loosely scripted comedy about the actor-comedian’s life and his successes and failures in the TV industry, debuted Oct. 3 on Blip. So far, five 30-minute episodes have aired.

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