When news broke that Cory Monteith would be among the handful of fallen stars to be honored with special “In Memoriam” segments at this year’s 65th annual Primetime Emmy Awards, some questioned whether the “Glee” actor’s relatively scant body of work warranted an inclusion with such small screen icons like James Gandolfini and Jean Stapleton.
Emmy producer Ken Ehrlich and CBS exec Jack Sussman responded to the criticism during a conference call with reporters on Wednesday (Sept. 18), defending their decision.
“It was a rather personal choice, but Cory’s appeal was to maybe a little different generation than some of the others we’re honoring,” Ehrlich said. “We felt it needed to be represented, that at 31, he passed away under very tragic circumstances. And that it was important to be responsive to younger viewers, to whom Cory Monteith meant as much as perhaps these other four individuals meant to their own generations.”
Singled out for individual tributes during the expanded “In Memoriam” segment alongside Monteith, Gandolfini and Stapleton are legendary comedian Jonathan Winters and “Family Ties” producer Gary David Goldberg.
Beyond questioning the inclusion of Monteith, critics were puzzled over the decision to not include late “Dallas” icon Larry Hagman. During the call, Ehrlich admitted that, in this situation, there’s no way to please everyone: “No matter what we do, there will be people who feel we could have made other options, and done other things.”
The 65th Emmy Awards, hosted by Neil Patrick Harris, air live Sunday (Sept. 22) at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.