Robin Williams Emmy Tribute Planned In Shadow Of Previous Missteps

To protests by no one, the EP of this year’s Primetime Emmy Awards says he’s working on a tribute to Robin Williams that will be part of the NBC broadcast of the awards ceremony.  Also not surprisingly, Don Mischer says they’re still in the discussion phase – word Williams had been found dead in his northern California home broke just this past Monday afternoon.

Related: Singular Talent Robin Williams Dead At 63

65th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards - ShowThe Academy will want to tread carefully with this year’s tribute.  It took a thumping with last year’s expansion of the traditional In Memoriam in which Williams played a role. He spoke eloquently about Jonathan Winters, who had died in April of ’13, and was among five industry figures singled out for separate tributes — also including James Gandolfini, Gary David Goldberg, Jean Stapleton, and Cory Monteith.

Related: Reactions To Robin Williams Death

It was a controversial programing decision, angering some who objected particularly to the special treatment afforded Monteith, while industry veterans such as Larry Hagman and Jack Klugman were not afforded the honor. Some cynics – guilty here – also suggested Winters may have been included so as to give CBS, which broadcast that Emmy ceremony, an opportunity to spotlight Williams, who was starring in the network’s new comedy series The Crazy Ones, debuting just days later.

Related: Photos: Robin Williams, 1951-2014

Lisa DeMoraes TV badge verticalToward the end of the ceremony, Modern Family exec producer Steve Levitan joked it had been “the saddest Emmys of all time,” and, as soon as the ceremony wrapped industry pundits began to pontificate as to what went wrong with the memorials, and if it would lead to heavy tribute-lobbying this year.

Related: Apologies Pock Coverage Of Robin Williams’ Death

“Plans for the In Memoriam segment are in discussion,” Emmys executive producer Don Mischer said in a statement about plans to pay tribute to Williams in this year’s Emmycast, on August 25. “While we are all still coming to terms with this week’s tragic news, we are working to give Robin Williams the proper and meaningful remembrance he so well deserves.”

Related: President Obama On Death Of Robin Williams

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences already had tripped up with its tribute to Williams. Monday evening it Tweeted a screen-shot from Disney’s Aladdin, in which the Genie – voiced by Williams — hugs Aladdin. The image was accompanied by a message from the Academy that read: “Genie, you’re free” – a reference to the film, in which Aladdin uses his final wish to free the Genie from the lamp. By Tuesday, it had been retweeted about than 300,000 times which, according to Topsy, means as many as 70 million people could have seen it. Among them, the chief medical officer at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Christine Moutier, who told The Washington Post “if it doesn’t cross the line, it comes very, very close to it,” explaining the Tweet implies suicide is an option and “suicide should never be presented as an option” because “that’s a formula for potential contagion.” Adolescents are most at risk of suicide contagion and the Internet has been criticized in the past for romanticizing high-profile deaths, Moutier’s group explained.

Related: On Stage, Williams’ Comedy Was Rooted In Sweet Sadness

“Jonathan Winters was my mentor,” Williams told Emmy viewers less than a year ago. “I once told him that, and he said, ‘Please – I prefer “idol”.’ But I knew it was true. I knew the moment I saw him on The Tonight Show, when Jack Parr handed him a stick. What happened next was a genius at play. John and that stick transformed into a dozen different characters, complete with sound effects – a fly-fisherman, a matador, Bing Crosby playing a round of golf…he was comedy at the speed of thought and I was hooked…Twenty years later, I got to play Jonathan’s dad on Mork And Mindy…Jamming with Jonathan was like dancing with Fred Astaire. He always brought out your best…The beauty of Jonathan was that he was a big, brilliant kid that never grew up and the world was his playground. In April, Johnny turned out the lights, but he sure burned bright while he was there. Thanks for the spark, Big Guy.”

 

  1. Considering last year’s debacle, I wouldn’t put it past the Emmy producers to use Jonathan Winter’s hologram to honor Robin Williams this year.

  2. A Robin Williams tribute needn’t be a mawkish affair. He was, after all, a brilliant comedian and there are plenty examples of his work to put together an hilarious tribute, not a solemn one. That’s how the Academy should salute and memorialize him.

    1. EXACTLY, I TOTALLY AGREE, THE ULTIMATE TRIBUTE WOULD BE TO PUT TOGETHER A GREAT MONTAGE OF FUNNY CLIPS FROM ALL OF HIS WORK. TV, MOVIES, COMEDY CONCERTS AND TALK SHOW INTERVIEWS. AND LAUGH AWAY.NO ONE WANTS TO SEE ANY SAD, DEPRESSING TRIBUTE. THAT’S NOT WHO HE WAS TO HIS FANS.

    1. Absolutely necessary for Mr. Garner and Mr. Caesar to receive lengthy tributes! Just because Robin Williams was a “recent” and more recognizable name to people under 30 , does not mean his tribute is longer or saved as the poignant one. Still angry snout how Farrah Fawcett was ignored at The a Oscars ceremony.

    2. If they are going to single out one death with the longest or most significant tribute, it better be Mr. Caesar whose historic contributions to sketch comedy dwarf Mr. Williams comedy contributions.

  3. It’s still a disgrace that Larry Hagman didn’t get his own tribute. He was one of the most iconic characters on a tv show.

  4. Great actors who passed away must be remembered. But I really hope they don’t do as last year, when they made the saddest ceremony ever.

    1. Is everybody forgeting Lauren Bacall who died the day after Mr Williams. make no mistake he was part of my generation but lest we not forget that Ms Bacall was a huge star in her own right.
      Not trying to step on any toes.

  5. Producers can sniff ratings gold in turning this into the Emmy Awards and Robin Williams Tribute Show. Grammy producers milked the Whitney Houston death that really juiced the ratings so I suspect the Emmy whores producing this spectacle will not be able to restrain themselves, either. While Sid Caesar and James Garner might not resonate with the much sought after 18-49 key demo audience, they are both entertainment giants in their own right. Caesar, in particular, holds a truly historic connection to early television comedy that dwarfs Mr. Williams contributions. Lauren Bacall is a movie star legend who has very little significance to television and the Emmy Awards,

Comments are closed.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,192 other followers