Copyright 2002 The Daily News

[ December 23rd 2002 ]

Alert the Hollywood trophy-makers: TV Thursday added two more award shows to the seemingly endless schedule of programs built around the best or most popular this or that. TNN said it will launch the New TNN Video Game Awards late next year, and the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences announced plans for its first national Latin Emmy Awards, to be shown on Spanish-language networks in June.

In an effort to distance itself from the genre's granddaddies, TNN's awards show will include categories recognizing games for having the best free-for-all carnage, hottest graphics, most difficult to master, and best all-around bada-. TNN's show also will honor celebrities involved with video games, such as Angelina Jolie, who starred in a film based on the popular Tomb Raider games. "Video games are a new medium that needs to be honored," said Albie Hecht, president of film and TV entertainment at TNN, who expects the show to appeal to the cable channel's target audience of adults from 25 to 34 years old. "This generation is addicted to the games," Hecht added.

With the music business' Grammy Awards having spun off a show for many of its Latin categories, it's easy to see why the Emmy organizers followed. "Hispanics make up a major population in the U.S. that is doing extraordinary work in television, and it's a sin that isn't being recognized," said the TV academy's president, Peter Price. Already this year, broadcast and cable networks have aired nearly two dozen award shows to recognize everything from the best kiss in a feature film to the best record from a new female country singer. And that's not counting a handful of beauty pageants or CBS' broadcast of the Kennedy Center Honors, coming on Dec. 27.

According to cultural historian Tim Burke, almost all awards shows can trace their TV roots back to the Academy Awards, which were first televised in 1953 with Bob Hope as host. "It's a given that almost every sector of the entertainment industry would have its own awards," said Burke, a professor at Swarthmore College. "The idea of self-congratulation being a watchable TV event is strongly linked to the Oscars."

While many awards telecasts are among the highest-rated prime-time shows the Academy Awards and the Golden Globes are usually the top-rated nonsports specials of the year programmers each year strive to encourage younger viewers to watch the lengthy events. TNN's show should be no exception. "The show will have a rock n' roll feel," Hecht added. "Think of a mix of (MTV's) Video Music Awards and (ESPN's) X-Games."

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