Cologne Conference will be U.S.-centric

Germany's leading TV fest starts Wednesday

COLOGNE, Germany -- U.S. TV will take center stage at this month's Cologne Conference, Germany's leading television festival/confab.

American productions dominate the lineup, with six of the festival's Top Ten section made in the U.S., including HBO's "The Flight of the Conchords," FBI drama "Fringe" from Warner Bros. TV and A&E's sci-fi miniseries "The Andromeda Strain."

"We've had years where we couldn't find any U.S. series, but U.S. drama is on the ascent now," Cologne Conference organizer Martina Richter told The Hollywood Reporter. "The writing and storytelling, the production value, the issues addressed make U.S. shows simply the best in the world right now."

The Cologne Conference's international focus -- and its new positioning right ahead of MIPCOM -- have drawn an impressive lineup of keynote speakers including Fox Television Studios vp Daniel Hetzer, writer-producers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci ("Fringe," "Alias") and Luke Taylor and Gavin Rowe, the directors of viral Web show "Kate Modern."

A highlight of this year's conference will be the Friday night awards gala, where the winners of the Cologne Film Prize, last year presented to Oscar winner Paul Haggis, and The Hollywood Reporter Award, honoring excellence in the German media industry, will be announced.

The Cologne Conference begins Wednesday and wraps Oct. 13.