Emmys EP Defends In Memoriam Approach: 'I Thought We Devoted the Proper Amount of Time'

Emmys In Memoriam ControversyFrom the moment it was announced that this year’s Primetime Emmy Awards would handle the annual In Memoriam segment differently, by singling out certain fallen stars for special remembrance, many cried foul.

And in its actual execution, the new approach didn’t earn many fans either.

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Sprinkled throughout Sunday night’s CBS telecast, James Gandolfini (The Sopranos), Jean Stapleton (All in the Family), sitcom scion Gary David Goldberg, comedy icon Jonathan Winters and Glee‘s young Cory Monteith each were paid distinct tribute by individuals who had worked alongside them. But the spoken remembrances took the place of clips. And toward the end of the night, anyone else who had passed on in the past year was denoted in a montage of static B&W photos.

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Clipping the clips was “a very conscious decision,” Ken Ehrlich, the producer of the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards, tells TV Guide Magazine. “I felt it was more important to focus in on the faces of the people that were talking about them, because of their personal relationships, and allow them to speak.

“We’ve all seen clips of All in the Family or Tony Soprano,” he added. “What we haven’t seen is Edie Falco or Robin Williams or Michael J. Fox talking about people they really loved.”

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Still, there’s the fact that this year’s approach gave added due to but a few, not among them the estimable and iconic likes of Larry Hagman or Jack Klugman (whose son last week voiced called the perceived slight “criminal”). “I would have loved to do more. But there’s only so much time you have,” Ehrlich explained. “And I thought we devoted the proper amount of time to those five pieces and then to the In Memoriam [montage].”

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  1. Annie says:

    These people NEVER own up to their mistakes, even when there’s a clear consensus that they *were* mistakes.

  2. hipster hater says:

    finn was on one show, larry hagman and jack klugman had lifetime careers, they where capitalizing on the young kids OD

    • JR says:

      I don’t think the producers were capitalizing on the manner in which Cory Monteith died but rather on the enormous emotional response to his death.

      • bamabunny says:

        In addition it was really generational…Boomers remember Jean and Jonathan the most, I’m sure. The Gen Xers recognize Family Ties and Spin City and the Sopranos, and the Millennials relate more to Glee. You also had a broad array of comedy, drama, male, female, young and old, in front of and behind the scenes.

        • Ann says:

          If they wanted to do a generational one, they should have had a tribute to Lee Thompson Young instead of Monteith. Young’s suicide was also devastating…and if they wanted to send a message to young kids, an anti-suicide message is just as powerful. Plus, Lee Thompson Young has a bigger body of work than Monteith and was a popular former Disney actor on a hit Disney show…I don’t think he even got a nod in the Memorial clips, did he?

      • GOD says:

        not to be mean but Hipster is right JR. I felt bad a young man (in a way) took his own life but to have Monteith and not someone like Klugman or Hagman made zero sense. I guess you’re a Glee fan.

    • jdbasset says:

      Agreed. i don’t know you you can even mention 70s and 80s TV without them. a definite oversight/insult.

    • KG31 says:

      He was on more than one show. He was on Kyle Xy. But Everyone fell in love with Finn, which made him a star.

      • Daven says:

        So, his being on 2 popular shows in a 9 year career makes him more worthy of a tribute to 2 men whose careers spanned more that 50 years in comedy and drama? The Emmy producers used him to get younger people to watch.
        They had better not try to do this In Memorium style again next year. Their idiocy ruined what had always been a special moment of the telecast for me.

      • Ann says:

        Yes, he was on Kyle XY…but only for like one season as a minor character. He was also on Smallville for one episode, also a minor character. So…he only starred in ONE show…and was only the star for the first three seasons…..then after college, he was barely on the show because of his drug addiction. That hardly deserves a special tribute on the Emmys when much more deserving actors didn’t get the same special treatment. If anything, I think Larry Hagman deserved a special tribute…even over Jonathan Winters, Jean Stapleton, that guy who did Family Ties, James Gandolfini, and definitely over Monteith. Hagman was known for more than one role on tv.

  3. Patricia says:

    It is awful that Larry Hagman was skipped. He was a true icon AND starring on a show when he passed away…not like he was out of the limelight!

    He was great in “I Dream of Jeannie”…but as JR Ewing on Dallas and on the TNT version, he truly made TV history. We wouldn’t have had the likes of Tony Soprano or Walter White or other characters like this without him blazing the trail first.

    Glad to see lots of outrage on Twitter and Facebook though! Looking forward to DallasTNT continuing on in a few months and honoring his legacy!

    • S. says:

      He wasn’t “skipped.” Geez, people are acting like he wasn’t in the In Memoriam. I’m sure everyone would like a special segment. The truth is nobody should’ve gotten one. Also, cut the dang mic on the audience. The applause-o-meter for the more famous deaths is so incredibly tacky.

  4. JJM says:

    I cry evry time.

  5. igo says:

    Yes I agree that larry hagman was SO deserved to have his own memoriam segment along w/ the actor with such a long time career that the above comments mention before. What sadden me is that why you have to bring other actors who also had passed away down. It’s just so unnecessary for me

    • Elizabeth says:

      I agree with this. I think it’s atrocious that Larry Hagman was not specifically honored. However, there were many people crying foul because of the way Cory Monteith died. I feel how they died was irrelevant, how they impacted society and their fans was more important.

      • bamabunny says:

        And someone could easily argue that Larry’s own past habits played a factor in his death. Or Jack’s, or James’s…let’s not play that game. Let’s not focus on how they died but how they lived.

        • Mike says:

          But how Cory lived…..lets not focus on that either. And also, Larry Hagman had a huge impact on tv and culture. Who Shot J R was a important tv moment even if you didn’t like the show.

  6. Drew says:

    How many of the actors giving those special tributes had new projects that needed promoting. Michael J. Fox, Robin Williams and Jane Lynch all have new shows. Isn’t that a coincidence?

    Award shows are never about talent or respect. They’re about Hollywood politics and product promotion. Why should the tributes be any different?

    • TV Gord says:

      Jane Lynch doesn’t have a new show. In fact, the show she has has been “old” for a few seasons, now.

      • Chablis says:

        Jane Lunch does have a new show – Hollywood Game night.

        • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

          Which already aired its finale and has already been renewed.

          • Drew says:

            True, but I still say that it was more about who they could get to give the tributes than it was about who died. There were some huge iconic names that were brushed aside for some far less memorable names. You can’t tell me that this wasn’t Hollywood politics at play.

        • bamabunny says:

          Well, technically HGN isn’t back until next summer, but yeah…honestly I think Jane was asked because she was the only cast member of Glee attending (and if she wasn’t nominated, would she still?).

          And yes, it’s all about promotion. The EMMYS are all about promotion, ratings, and advertisers. After seeing how many others were IMO deserving of tribute (not just Jack and Larry, but Andy Williams, Jeanne Cooper, Roger Ebert), I think if they had just folded in the other five it would have worked fine. The “special tributes” to me were a knee-jerk reaction–Cory and James both died right around the time Emmy noms came out, and the producers were under pressure. I think they should have waited a couple of months to see if they still felt the same (I’ll bet they wouldn’t have).

          And what do you mean “we’ve all seen clips,” Erlich? So what? We like to see clips AGAIN! Heck I used to like the Emmys because they were one big clip show. Even if we didn’t watch ALL the shows we could see via the clips what all the fuss was about, or reminisce about our favorite bits. Fewer dance numbers, more clips, please!

        • TV Gord says:

          So you’re saying Miss Lunch was there to promote a show that won’t air until next summer? That sounds much more plausible than being there simply to honor her dead co-star.

  7. Tracy says:

    Everyone should be honored equally. To do otherwise is to create a class system that makes no one happy.

    • philip says:

      Yes that’s true, but I find that in instances like this. You’re always going to find somebody that isn’t happy with the outcome?

      Even if we had had them altogether, we would still have had people saying? How come they forgot this celebrity death? They forgot so and so? (There are too many great people that pass away each year.

      Nothing seems to be an even consensus with everybody, whether it be the people in the “In Memoriam” tribute or the actual nominations and Winners. Everybody has their own tastes and preferences and you can’t make everyone in agreement. That’s one of the major problems in situations like this.

      • Tracy says:

        Forgetting someone is not the same as purposely choosing to highlight a few over the others. Everyone who is included should be given equal treatment. Period.

        • David says:

          I especially find it “interesting” for Ehrlich to say there was only so much time to devote–here’s a thought, delete Elton John, Carrie Underwood and a dance/sketch number and there is plenty of time to devote to Jack Klugman, Larry Hagman and Charles Durning (to name a few). He didn’t want to. It was a fitting that he had death as a theme for the Emmys–because it certainly came off like a disaster movie.

          • S. says:

            The Emmys were already filled with sad segments. The last thing they needed to do was add 2 more. Cut the special tributes to some dead over others, cut Elton and Carrie, and boom–more time to do more fun things and end on time.

    • TV Gord says:

      I agree, Tracy. While I didn’t think the five tributes were as bad as I thought they would be, they still dragged the show down. I hope they never do that again. It’s better to leave everyone in the one big montage. It’s bad enough that the audience crassly applauds for some more than others.

      I think Steve Levitan put it best when accepting the comedy series award for Modern Family: “This may be the saddest Emmys of all time, but…”

    • Joe says:

      No the people who are more talented and have made larger contributions to tv should be honored more. In 10 years people will remember Hagman not the other guy.

  8. Katie says:

    I wouldn’t jump to calling it awful or disrespectful per se, but I think it’s just a tricky situation when you have to decide who is “worthy” of singling out and who isn’t, so it’s probably better to stay away from it all together.

    • tripoli says:

      I think you’ve made the best point on the issue. I didn’t watch but have heard how it was done and it does seem like they really missed the mark. I have trouble with the comments that come across as bashing Montieth because of his manner of death and how that some how makes him even less deserving of a singular tribute. I get that his death was very sudden and really affected a lot of people, even for those like myself who do not watch Glee, but in relaton to the careers and long term impact that some of the other performers who have passed had, it seemed just wrong. It really is tricky and it is probably true that no matter how something like this is done, someone will be unb\happy. I do agree though that they should probably take an even approach in the future. Equal time for all. Even with that set up the well known are still going to pull out the biggest audience response.

    • kate says:

      good point. but would there be anywhere near the second guessing being seen if Monteith wasn’t chosen for a special tribute and they’d gone with someone more accomplished/deserving? Winters, Goldberg, Stapleton, and Gandolfini all had major roles in changing television, in front of and behind the camera. Monteith did nothing of the sort. He overdosed. Sad, but not deserving of special “In Memoriam” treatment at the Emmys, when Hagman or Klugman would have been a much better fit.

  9. Bobbi says:

    The whole show was odd, but sprinkling these tributes throughout the show made it almost funereal in tone. While it was heartwarming to hear people that knew them speak of them, there was no rhyme or reason to the five they picked or those that weren’t picked. Just not well done at all. Honestly, I don’t think the show was done well overall. Was sorry I wasted the time to watch it and I love NPH. Just not good.

    • Slizabeth says:

      It really dragged down the tone, i think. Someone tweeted “award… death… award… death…” It was a strange choice, to be sure.

  10. abz says:

    I would’ve much rather seen a clip montage of their work to remember them than hearing someone talking about them.

  11. ceecee says:

    “There’s only so much time you have”…. well how about cutting the horrible Elton John song and Carrie Underwood song and that awful dance number. Those were a waste of time!! you could’ve added time to the acceptance speeches and included a few more people in the death honoring.

    I count this as one of the worst emmys ever!

  12. Morgen says:

    I believe they should have cut the tribute segments all together, and just had the ‘in memoriam’ segment.
    And the Elton John & Carrie Underwood songs definitely could have been cut – neither added anything to the evening.
    But the worst part – not having a finale recap song from NPH!

  13. chattwen says:

    Larry Hagman deserved a special segment — he was a TV icon unlike one who shall remain nameless.

  14. fanology says:

    Horrible analogy, but it’s like trying to decide which person (people) to throw off the life raft first. In the absence of an actual emergency at sea, it shouldn’t be done. All that’s left are a bunch of bitter feelings for the family, friends, and fans of those not honored. Cory Monteith v Lee Thompson Young? Jonathan Winters v Jack Klugman? Why put a relative value on these lives when we are supposed to be ‘celebrating’ TV.

  15. Dee says:

    This was the first Emmy show that I had not watched in decades.

    First of all I had no interest in seeing who won amongst the nominees. I don’t believe I actually watch any of the nominated programs. The Cable Ace Awards should make a comeback.

    The handling of the In Memorium segment also had me turn away. A druggie gets the spotlight put on him while a true TV Icon gets all but ignored? Please.

    What were the rating like?

    • GS says:

      The best since 2005…sad. I didn’t watch either. The same shows/people get nominated and I, too, was ticked about Larry Hagman getting snubbed in favor of Monteith. It’s just a bunch of rich people celebrating themselves so I found something else to do.

  16. Mike says:

    Totally disagree about “clipping the clips.” I could easily have done without Elton, Carrie, the dancing, and the HIMYM skit to accommodate some clips. It would have made so much more sense to do these tributes all together before the “In Memoriam” segment; short clips of these talented actors would only have added to the tribute – and showed why they were being honored in the first place.

  17. JoyAnne says:

    I was really annoyed at the way they did the memorial section. As for not having time. How about that awful waste of NPH’s talent and time with that sequence at the beginning. All the late night show hosts barging on stage. I nearly turned the show off right then. The supposed strategy to get NPH off. As for the 2 ‘ladies’ demanding he take his pants off. Who the heck came up with that brilliant idea. I can think of more but I’ll call it quits.

  18. MAS says:

    Definitely the minority, but I was ok with how it worked. Perhaps because it was the first time, but the segments actually told me something about the people and not just the work. If repeated, perhaps it would also start to sound the same, but in this instance I heard about 5 distinct people.

  19. Moxie says:

    The problem with picking out a few people to highlight is that inevitably someone is going to be offended by who is left off the list. For me, Jack Klugman and Larry Hagman should have been highlighted as well.

  20. The Kaibosh says:

    I posted this earlier but I think its worth repeating in terms of the relevance: The Emmys overall went well. There were some surprises (good and bad) and the musical numbers and comedy bits were generally good. I have to agree however with the statement that this was the saddest Emmys ever presented: and it didn’t need to be. Every year the industry loses a number of very talented people and we all take a moment to reflect on their achievements and mourn them for that brief moment. Its not excessive and its always done tastefully and meaningfully. The “In Memoriam” portion really is all that is needed. But this year was different. Not because more great people left us than in previous years but because the producers of the show fell victim to what can only be described as peer pressure. Peer pressure drawn from the fact that the producers felt the need to include longer tributes for more people to mask the fact that they were pressured to single out a person that when looked at objectively: was not deserving of the extended accolade. A person that although who’s character was a youth growing into manhood; the actor himself was a full grown man with very few meaningful achievements to his name. Who’s only real achievement was to play a character who was not original. A character based on Chris Klein’s portrayal of Oz from American Pie. The man died tragically. But he was a man: not a child and although he left people behind that love him, its as much an injustice to over inflate his achievements than it is to overlook those who are just as deserving if not more so.

    • Justin11 says:

      IMO, they should’ve ONLY singled out Larry Hagman aka JR Ewing aka Who Shot JR from Dallas which basically changed television on what had become one of the most successful primetime series in history and the foundation of the primetime soap genre and the prime example of a TV villian — Instead, they chose the guy from Glee…

  21. Many of my favorite shows are on TNT, USA, and SYFY and never get recognized. How could they overlook Sharon Glass on Burn Notice?

  22. Alice says:

    The place for eulogies is at a funeral. Not an awards show. These people have already been honored for their lives. Some of them privately, some with entire episodes of their show devoted to them. Whatever the case, the Emmy Awards is not responsible for providing a public memorial service. Having a single segment to collectively acknowledge the people who might otherwise been in that room but are no longer there is what the Memorial package is for, and is an appropriate level of attention. Picking people on currently airing shows to shamelessly use death to cross-promote while snubbing everyone else who died but was deemed unworthy of a personal tribute (ie- there death was not deemed marketable or a ratings booster) is crass and shameful behavior and I fervently hope the Emmys never, ever does it again.

  23. ange says:

    I do not believe it is appropriate to honor those who selfishly took their lives and to not honor those with contributions so great there are no words to explain.

  24. Ralph Hartman says:

    Why wasn’t Elmore Leonard included on the In Memoriam package? He created the novels which Justified is based on among other shows.

  25. Vanessa says:

    To get something out of the way, yes I am a fan or Glee and Finn was my favorite character. I recognize that the show’s last couple of seasons have been inconsistent my interest in some storylines has been waning. But something about Cory Monteith and his portrayal of Finn kept me around. His death really struck a chord with me.

    Now, with that being said, I get why everyone is pissed. While I appreciate that Monteith was given a tribute at last night’s Emmys, I think that Larry Hagman’s and Jack Klugman’s fans were completely snubbed by not having their lives and contributions remembered with tributes as well. If Cory did go on to have a long and lustrous career like Hagman or Klugman, and he didn’t get a tribute, I would be supremely annoyed. The Emmys producers could have totally nixed a musical number, and shortened the best choreography bit. That could have afforded the time for tributes to Hagman and Klugman.

    But I’m just a viewer, what do I know.

    Plus, the absence of clips was a bummer.

  26. Ruth Ellen says:

    I have no vote
    Doing memoriam is the hardest thing to do
    In general population how many people died in one year??
    In entertainment business how many??

    Maybe entietainment weekly can began to count from Emmy 2013 to the next Emmy in 2014
    And awards show can count how many seconds
    Or mins….. Show thier respect

    Maybe it’s best to have show of memoriam of its own to statify everyone

  27. Sidney.B says:

    Does anyone seen the face of Connie Britton when she said ” Tragically died” about the director who won for homeland’s Q&A , she was practically smiling, i thought it was a joke at first and then ,the lady who accepted it for him was strange as well.
    I only got the information of him dying on that special in memorium at the end

  28. Renee says:

    For those who say we shouldn’t honour people who take their own life and are druggies.. I’ve got two names for you. Kurt Cobain is revered by a lot of people as being one of the Kings of Grunge but he commited suicide early on in life.

    Also Heath Ledger, He was an addict and he died a suspicious death at a young age, yet we honoured him at the next Oscars with an award, a tribute and a standing ovation. (Sure he starred in a few more movies, but still….)

    While I think that the In Memoriam segment would have been and still is preferable, Even if they had added at least Klugman and Hagman, then other people wouldn’t have been happy.

    • Alex says:

      I don’t revere Ledger or Cobain or Monteith. They all threw away their lives, and IMO none of them deserve(d) special tributes. That punk Monteith getting a tribute over Jack Klugman? Crazy!

  29. Tracie says:

    Putting more importance on the loss of one person vs the loss of another is awful and disrespectful to all involved. And what was with the people who were in Soap Operas during the montage sequence…why not refer to them as actors like the others, why single out that they were on a soap? It was just strangely handled all the way around.

  30. connerc says:

    I read about this in advance and did not watch the Emmys because of it. I don’t think it is ever a good idea to try and decide whose death is more important. List them all like they always have.

  31. arial2 says:

    I’d rather have just the montage. How can one person’s life be deemed “more worthy” of special notice than another’s? What bothered me even more, though, was the crass use of Cory Monteith’s death to get ratings for the Emmys. In effect, Hollywood continues to glorify drug abuse: was anyone on Glee really that surprised that a known drug addict OD’d? That may sound cold, but I had a brother who did drugs no matter how hard we tried to get him to stop. We all knew it was a question of when, not if, my brother would OD. When he did, we were all sad, but not shocked.

  32. Sandra says:

    Dear Mr Emmy EP

    It doesn’t matter if we’ve all seen the clips a billion times, showing them on the in Memoriam segment allows us to relive/remember those things we love best about the stars we enjoyed watching. It’s a crime not to show them.

    And not owning up to that just makes you look like an idiot


  33. Sandra says:

    Forgot to mention I also didn’t care for the singling out or the way the did it but I have less issue with that than with the B&W photos instead of clips.

  34. TV Fan says:

    Larry Hagman was also on the TNT reboot of “Dallas.” That could’ve been squeezed in as opposed to Elton, Carrie and those dance sequences/pretaped bits.

  35. Marie says:

    I thought the presentation was horribly disrespectful to others who passed away this year.
    I’d much rather have seen a short (seconds actually) highlight reel from all the deceased than to highlight only certain people’s careers like they did. I’d have enjoyed hearing Edith Bunker say “Oh Archie” one last time, among all the others. And yes, of course, some of the deceased are writers and directors, so flash the name of their biggest hit or best production….. let us know something they did. While there are big stars and bigger stars, all of these people played an important role in bringing entertainment that brought us joy, laughter and brought us to tears. Let’s celebrate them all… even if just for a moment.
    Big fail for me. (though I did enjoy the Jonathon Winters stories).

    As far as the Monteith question, his death was a tragedy, for sure, often repeated in Holllywood history. To choose a young man who’s never even been nominated for an Emmy over people who have had numerous nominations and wins just doesn’t make sense to me at all.

  36. DavidSask says:

    The producers for this year need to be fired for this, no death is more important than others and even with those they did single out they chose not to do very important TV legends! The singing of Elton and Carrie was not for this show, and then speeches were cut to less than 30 seconds! Why is the show overtime, gee I wonder?

  37. ejknight says:

    It was a travesty to leave off such iconic performers as Larry Hagman and Jack Klugman. One was the biggest actor playing the biggest character on the biggest show for 13 years originally. Not to mention the revival 20 plus years later. The other played one of the most iconic sitcom characters in TV history– not to mention a successful run as Quincy. They were left off for who? A person who played a character on a show for maybe 2 years or 3 years who died as a result of his own irresponsibility. One can’t measure the contributions to the medium of LH, JK to Montieth. Cory just doesn’t measure up.
    Simply disgusting. Hell they even could have included Andy Williams.

  38. Tom says:

    I don’t mind paying special tributes to actors who are legendary, I think they deserve it for a lifetime of achievements, what bothered me is the fact that Corey Montieth was honored in this fashion. He should not have been included, he died of a drug overdose of his own stupidity. With that being said regardless of how he died he was of the stature or deserving of that honor. In a year when you had some legends pass on such as Larry Hagman, Jack Klugman, Eileen Brennan, Bonnie Franklin or Charles Durning to name a few. Sorry but Corey Montieth was not in the same league.

  39. ronnie says:

    Instead of those awful B & W closeups, they should have sprinkled in clips of their work and what made them famous, Not everyone knows or remembers what each person was famous for outside of their position. Poorly done. I hope there are new producers next year and that the upcoming award shows like SAG do a better job of honoring those we lost.

  40. Maria says:

    I don’t know about picking only 5 or so people from a list of many great talents to focus on their lives to celebrate. All the people who passed on this year is worth celebrating…so I’m not sure why they chose to profile only a select few.

    RIP Dennis Farina.

  41. Linda says:

    What about Andy Griffith???

  42. Annie says:

    They should just do the clips. Its a way to remember who we’ve lost. No special folks talking about their friends; that’s what an eulogy is for. I just wanted to see clips if my favorite actors/ actresses. When an awards show does In Memorium, IMO, is a final goodbye from an audience of their peers and a goodbye from their fans who watch them and will miss them.