'Japanese Game Show' tops Rose d'Or

Strong showing for Britain, Canada at 49th awards

LUCERNE, Switzerland -- ABC's fish-out-of-water format "I Survived a Japanese Game Show" was the big winner at the 49th Rose d'Or festival, one of Europe's most prestigious TV honors, taking the Best of 2009 prize as well as the Rose trophy for best reality show.

Accepting his trophies, Tim Crescenti of Small World IFT, which produces and distributes "Japanese" internationally, wondered aloud why he was one of only a few Americans attending this year's Rose d'Or.

"Maybe it's because so many of the shows on air in America now come from here -- from Europe, Asia or South America," Crescenti said. "Maybe Americans are afraid to compete with you."

Crescenti went on to trace the history of the show, which started as a paper format out of Denmark and, outside the U.S., is now on air in several European territories.

Britain and Canada, two territories whose TV industries have taken a beating this past year, were showered with Roses at Tuesday night's ceremony in the Swiss resort town of Lucerne. Brit shows took home four Rose d'Or statuettes including best arts documentary for Channel 4's "The Curse of Mona Lisa" and best sitcom for ITV's long-running "My Family." Canada grabbed three Roses, among them the best comedy prize for CBC's "The Rick Mercer Report."

Iranian-American comedian Maz Jobrani hosted the Rose d'Or ceremony, which featured a smattering of Hollywood talent as presenters, among them Jennifer Garis of "The Bold and the Beautiful" and "CSI Miami" star Sofia Milos, who brought the house down with her pitch-perfect Swiss German, retained from her childhood in Zurich.

Full list of winners of the 49th Rose d'Or

Best of 2009
"I Survived a Japanese Game Show," A. Smith & Co./Small World IFT

Arts documentary
"The Curse of Mona Lisa," Oxford Film & Television/Channel 4

"Rick Mercer Report," Island Edge/CBC

"Windfall & Misfortunes," Locomotion TV/Distraction Formats

"The Anthill," 7 y accion

Game show
"Relentless," Zig Zag Productions/ITV Global Entertainment

Performing arts
"The Eternity Man," Goalpost Pictures/Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Performing arts -- Special mention
"La Traviata at Zurich Main Station," SF

"MI High, Whack the Mole, The MI High Alternate Reality Game," Xenophile Media/BBC

Pitch pilot
"The Telephone," Pixcom

"I Survived a Japanese Game Show," A. Smith & Co/Small World IFT

"My Family," DLT Entertainment/Rude Boy

Honorary Rose d'Or
Sheena Macdonald, director of special projects at the Canadian Film Center (CFC); and writer/producer George Anthony