NEW YORK, August 24, 2009 – Blair Westlake, Corporate Vice President of Microsoft’s Media & Entertainment Group, will serve as Gala Chair for the 37th International Emmy® Awards, which will take place on Monday, November 23, 2009 in New York City, announced today Bruce L. Paisner, President  & CEO of the International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.

“As a senior executive at Microsoft, Blair is on the front line of the revolution taking place in our industry. We welcome him as chair of this year’s Gala, both as a long-time friend and supporter of the International Academy, and as a sign of the Academy’s broadening mandate in our changing media world.” said Paisner.

Blair Westlake, a seasoned industry veteran of more than 25 years, serves as the liaison within Microsoft for media and entertainment companies. His group has brought over 20,000 pieces of on-demand content to Microsoft customers through products including Xbox LIVE Video Marketplace, Windows Media Center PCs and Zune. His team recently closed agreements with BSkyB in the UK and Canal+ Group in France to bring custom regional content from these providers to Xbox LIVE customers in Europe, the Sky agreement delivering an industry-first live TV service on Xbox 360.

“In the midst of constant change in the television landscape, the International Academy has consistently led the way to bring creative entertainment to growing audiences worldwide,” said Westlake. “I am honored to serve as this year’s chair and look forward to celebrating the Academy’s innovation at such an extraordinary time for the industry.”

Before joining Microsoft in 2004, Westlake was an executive of Universal Studios, Inc. for nearly 20 years, where he was Chairman of Universal Television & Networks Group. As a consultant, Westlake worked with entertainment leaders including Comcast Corp. and NBC Universal, and he served as corporate executive vice president of Gemstar-TV Guide International, Inc.

In addition to the presentation of the International Emmy® Awards for programming, the International Academy will present two special awards. Sir David Frost, one of the preeminent television figures of the 20th century whose interviews with President Richard Nixon were immortalized in last year’s Oscar nominated movie Frost/Nixon, is set to receive the 2009 International Emmy® Founders Award. The International Emmy® Directorate Award will be given to Prof. Markus Schächter, Director General of German public-service broadcaster ZDF, both because of his outstanding leadership of ZDF for the last 7 years and to commemorate the 60th Anniversary of the founding of The Federal Republic of Germany.

The 2009 International Emmy® Nominees will be announced at a press conference in Cannes at Mipcom on Monday, October 5, 2009.  This year’s sponsors, to date, include: Ascent Media, DoriMedia, Ernst & Young, GloboTV, Microsoft, Phoenix Satellite Television, Reed Midem, Sofitel New York Hotel, The Hollywood Reporter and Variety.

The International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences is a membership based organization comprised of leading media and entertainment figures from over 50 countries and 500 companies from all sectors of television including internet, mobile and technology. The Academy’s yearly schedule of events includes the prestigious International Emmy® Awards Ceremony held in New York, The International Digital Emmy® Awards at MIPTV and a series of industry events such as Academy Day, The International Emmy® World Television Festival and Panels on substantive industry topics. The Academy was chartered with a mission to recognize excellence in television produced outside of the United States and it presents The International Emmy® Awards in the following fifteen categories: Arts Programming; Best Performance by an Actress; Best Performance by an Actor; Current Affairs; Children & Young People; Comedy; Digital Program: Children & Young People; Digital Program: Fiction; Digital Program: Non-Fiction; Documentary; Drama Series; News; Non-Scripted Entertainment; Telenovela; TV Movie/Mini-Series. For more information go to

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