EMMYS: Exec Producer Defends Choice Of Cory Monteith For Individual Tribute

Cory Monteith will be among the deceased to whom special tribute is paid at Sunday’s Primetime Emmy Awards in an effort to appeal to a younger generation, the Emmy show’s exec producer Ken Ehrlich told reporters on a conference call this morning. On Monday, CBS and the TV Academy announced that, in addition to what has become the traditional In Memoriam segment, the Emmycast also will include special tributes to recently deceased industry figures James Gandolfini, Gary David Goldberg, Jonathan Winters, Jean Stapleton and Monteith. Some reporters on the call questioned the inclusion of the former Glee star, while others felt more deserving folks, including Larry Hagman and Jack Klugman, were left out.

“Cory’s appeal was to maybe a little different generation than some of the others, and we felt they needed to be represented,” Ehrlich said, reminding the reporters Monteith was “just 31” when he died under “very tragic circumstances.” “It was important to be responsive to younger viewers, to whom Cory Monteith meant as much as the other four individuals meant to their own generations. We made the choice it was important to have, as part of these segments.”  Ehrlich admitted that when the decision was made to include Monteith, “there was discussion about the fact that this probably is going to become an interesting topic of conversation. We stand by what we’re doing.” Last weekend’s controversial 45-Second Rule – in which winners at the Creative Arts Emmys ceremony were given 45 secs to get to the stage and deliver a speech — will not be in place Sunday when CBS broadcasts the Primetime Emmys show, Ehrlich and CBS Specials EVP Jack Sussman indicated on the conference call. Winners will be warned to “use that time efficiently,” Sussman said, in response to questions about how they expected to fit in the many extras being added to this year’s broadcast. To date those announced extras include the five tributes, a number celebrating choreography, several “surprises” Ehrlich teased on the call but would not discuss, and this morning’s announced tribute to the 50th anniversaries of two landmark TV events — coverage of the JFK assassination and the Beatles’ U.S. debut — followed by a Carrie Underwood-performed medley of Beatles tunes and other music from that era. The longer some winner speaks early in the show, the less time another winner will have later in the show, Sussman said ominously. “We want to give them their moment,” he said, but winners have a responsibility to “keep the show moving.” That’s the deal with the devil an academy makes when it accepts a license fee from TV networks to turn its awards ceremony into a TV special.

“Many of these people, it’s not their first time coming to the Emmy Awards show, it’s not their first time up to be celebrated,” said Ehrlich. “They know the rules, they know what’s expected of them, and I like to think that by in large they really do respect that. They understand the constraints we’re all under to produce a good show and a show that does get off the air on time.” Winners also will be directed to “be emotional” and “be personal.” “We want to be respectful, but … they know we have a job to do as well,” he said.

Asked if the Emmy show would benefit from slashing the number of awards dispensed, to more closely emulate the Grammy Awards — a performance-focused special in which about 10-ish statuettes are delivered — Sussman answered candidly: “Viewers want to be entertained … but we are obligated to get out a certain number of awards, and our job is to make the best and most entertaining show possible. Ultimately if you could put more entertainment in it, you’d probably make a better show.”

  1. Ehrlich is backtracking from the comments he made a few months ago, where he more or less admitted that Monteith was getting a special tribute because of pressure from the Academy – most likely from Ryan Murphy and his lapdog Bruce Rosenblum.

    1. Why should Cory be included, he died of a drug overdose. REALLY, because he was stupid they are going to honor him. Same as People Magazine supporting Whitney Houston on the cover, another drug overdose. What is wrong with these people.

  2. Hmmmmm. No callout for Larry Hagman, whose TV career spanned a half-century and several genres, and who was *the* iconic international small-screen star of the 1980s and an Entertainment Weekly cover subject made relevant again in 2012-2013? This is a bad creative and executive call, no matter how you spin it.

    1. You are absolutely correct. I don’t know what these people were thinking when they included Monteith but didn’t include Larry Hagman. The excuse used that they want to appeal to younger viewers is baloney. Younger viewers don’t watch these award shows. I’ll predict though, that those who do watch are going to be surprised that Hagman was left out of the special tribute. Bad call!

    2. BAD CALL
      They should be giving Larry Hagman an honorary Emmy for his work in Television. He WAS television. This is a travesty.

  3. Bottom line is he doesn’t deserve it. Sends a terrible message, both ethically and morally. But, that’s Hollywood!

  4. It’s a shameless ratings grab – pure and simple. Reprehensible and disgusting. More deserving honorees like Hagman and Klugman should be turning over in their graves. Monteith’s passing was shocking and sad. My condolences to his friends and family, but his resume does not come close to the accomplished careers of those being passed over for individual tribute. Last year, Taxi’s Jeff Conaway (who’s battle with drug abuse was well-documented) was completely ignored by the Emmys during their In Memoriam segment. Taxi was nominated or won the Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series for five straight years. Conaway was a key member of that ensemble cast for four of those seasons, yet the academy failed to acknowledge his passing during last year’s ceremony.

  5. The Monteith tribute is, unfortunately, very unfortunate, indeed. If he were part of the “In Memoriam segment” it would have been appropriate. With Gandolfini, Stapleton, Goldberg and Winters, it makes Monteith look bad by comparison. Now, finding out that Hagman and Klugman have been ditched – it’s beyond tacky. The producer should have stood his ground. I’ll be watching Breaking Bad, Talking Bad and Dexter. I’ll check out the Gandolfini clip later. This is really bad.

  6. That’s right.

    Exploit the dead to attract a new audience to your show and win BIG RATINGS!

    Oh, what a world!

  7. Between this Cory Monteith tribute, and the frankly horrible Creative Arts Emmys this past Sunday, I’m really embarrassed for the Academy. Bruce, please, get your act together. You are tarnishing the Emmy brand.

  8. Larry Hagman was a three-time Emmy nominee.

    Jack Klugman was a ten-time Emmy nominee, and three-time Emmy winner.

    Both are television icons, each having starred in not one but two long-running iconic hit series.

    It’s unthinkable that they aren’t being afforded the same “special tribute” as those others.

    There’s still time to fix this.

    1. Yes, Jack Klugman and Larry Hagman will live on in reruns of various tv shows much longer than Monteith was alive. Sorry he’s dead, but this is such a bad decision. If he were alive, he wouldn’t be mentioned at the show. Even if you want younger viewers, what is the harm in including the others? Idiots.

  9. Well, to see a tribute to Cory Monteith would be nice…if it weren’t for a ratings grab. The demographic that they’re searching for probably won’t watch the Emmy’s (or have ever watched and would have no investment to watch it again next year unless another “Glee” character passes away) or know any of the other people who are being paid tribute to along side Cory Monteith. Should he be honored, yes. Should he be honored for ratings sake, no. Should Larry Hagman’s legacy be trumped for ratings…absolutely not. If you want to attract a wider demographic of viewers, put together a decent show…consistently…and your problem is solved! This is a sad day in our industry!

    1. They’re well aware of the Cory tribute. Glee fans will absolutely be watching that. Not sure why you think they wouldn’t be.

  10. This is in incredibly poor taste. I appreciate making a tribute to Cory. His death was a tragedy that I, as a Glee fan, was upset by. However, Ehrlich has outright stated that he’s doing this to try to gain a younger viewership! What a vile individual.

    1. VILE individual???….Really Mr. Bailey…..Ken is one of the most experienced and creative producers around…He gets the benefit of the doubt. Watch the show and then feel free to weigh in. You might not agree with the choices made but if that is what you consider a vile individual you need to move out your mother’s basement and get a life.

  11. Does anyone really think that this tribute will bring in a younger demographic when that constituency could care less about the Emmy Awards and its show? If that was the motive then the TV Acad doesn’t know its own business.Singling out people for special memorial tributes is a no-win situation as there will always be omissions and questionable inclusions. Better to have left things as they were … or give another form of Governor’s award not part of the necrology. The Motion Picture Acad knows better and hopefully will heed this cautionary TV blunder.

  12. It’s sad that a majority of the performers who passed this year will not get a special tribute but you’re in one series and die from a drug overdose and you are the special one? They are all deserving a special word but it’s not possible. They should just show everyone’s picture like they always do and show no special treatment to anyone.

  13. Larry Hagman and Jack Klugman,two of “the” most iconic actors that television brought to us from the 60s right through to the 2000’s. Even Hagman worked up ’til the year of his passing. What happened to Cory Monteith is tragic and very sad but I feel if cory were here to see what the Emmy Awards are planing to do to 2 TV legends,just because he’s young and the awards people want a young demographic to tune in,he’d be just as apalled as we are and maybe more so. Any young actor knows they owe a debt of thanks to actors who came before them. In terms of the In Memoriium itself,it’s not the first time they’ve left people out but I sure wish it were the last. Leaving out Larry and Jack is a hideous insult to their memory. Lastly,do the people who make this show “really” believe the younger viewers care thagt much about that segment? The “only” name they’ll care about is Cory’s,then they’ll tune out.

  14. Well, yeah, sure, Cory Monteith deserves special recognition because his career spanned like, what, almost 34 months?… that’s like almost 3 whole years. And poor Jack Klugman only had a career that lasted about 50 years, going back to the original Twilight Zone… oh, and Jack Klugman had the bad fortune to have only used drugs that fought his cancer… none of the cool ones that seem to be what gets you a special tribute. Morons.

  15. So he pretty much confirmed what we all knew already — it was to draw in the younger crowd. Well, let me say this. I’m in the target generation that the Emmy’s are trying to get at with this inclusion (I’m almost a decade younger than Cory). However, I’m horribly upset at this inclusion. It should have been someone else, like Larry. Their theory that the younger generation (that I would be a part of) should be represented is absurd. It’s about honoring people who changed and revolutionized TV and there is no argument that can be provided for how Cory did this. His death was unfortunate and tragic. That doesn’t, however, warrant a singling out amongst industry powerhouses like the others. There is no defending this choice. “Glee” is a very low-end mediocre show as it is. On top of it, it’s such an ensemble that it’s not like Cory necessarily stood out more than everyone else. His contribution to TV had potential to be significant with another decade or so. But what he contributed to TV was a few seasons on a pretty bad show. Not worthy enough of special mention. Sorry.

  16. I feel that it is completely appropriate. While I feel terrible that some other people aren’t included, Cory deserves it just as much as anyone else. Just because he was younger (which is tragic) and he died of drugs (ADDICTION IS A DISEASE) doesn’t mean that he doesn’t deserve it. Let young people learn from his story. Tell young people with addictions to seek out help, like Cory did, before it’s too late, which unfortunately, it is for Cory as well.

  17. With all these extras, the Emmys this year are going to be a bigger shitshow than the Oscars were — despite NPH.

    Courting younger viewers for an award show? That’s idiocy.

  18. I agreemthat Hagman and Klugman deserved to be honoured. And Monteith is ot ofmthe same calibre as the others honoured. But he and the other Glee cast managed to get kids interested in musicals again, be sensitive to bullying in school, etc. and also get kids and parents to watch tv together. So maybe this isn’t a major faux pas. There are other major issues that society is addressing.

  19. “We stand with what we’re doing”. I guess that’s a nice way of saying “we’re tone deaf, artistically bankrupt, and rating whores”. It’s also another way of saying “yeah, we’re wrong, but we won’t admit it.”

  20. Actually many of the other “in memoriam” candidates” also had ‘addictions’ that they were fortunate to have lived through. Therefore regardless of the allotted time all of the Deceasesd should be remembered! I can understand remembering Cory Monteith. – however the others have contributed to the history of T.V. – they should also be honored ! ! Be respectful to ALL !

  21. Okay… are they serious???????????? In 20 years from now how many people are going to remember the name ‘Finn Hudson’ from TV??? The Odd Couple went off the air 38 years ago, but I would bet that if someone mentions the name ‘Oscar Madison’ more people will know that character than ‘Finn Hudson’.Now lets get to ‘J.R. Ewing’…are they kidding that Larry Hagman does not deserve to be recognized!! His character of J.R. is iconic around the world. He was the man you loved to hate, and that lead to the success of ‘Dallas’ being on the air for 14 seasons, and not only that but he drew viewers in again last year on the new ‘Dallas’ series. I have always respected the Emmy Awards, they have been fair in their nominations and awards over the years, but this slight has left me know other choice than to not watch the show this week. Hopefully other viewers will follow suit-

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