When the Emmys are handed out, aside from the fashion, people are tuned in to see the tribute to the stars who passed away since the last telecast. Oh yeah, some people tune in to see the actual awards.
But this year when producers announced that the In Memoriam feature would include tributes to legendary actors, the fact that Glee star Cory Monteith — a relative newcomer to showbiz — was getting a special honour irked some people.
Monteith only became famous in recent years thanks to his role on the Fox show but stars like All in the Family’s Jean Stapleton and Sopranos star James Gandolfini seemed more fitting. Even then, critics were wondering why TV legends Jack Klugman and Larry Hagman were left out. Actually, their own children were bothered, too.
The argument is that legendary TV stars deserve special tribute and not drug-addicted newcomers into showbiz. That’s me paraphrasing sentiments of some in Hollywood, but that is what they said.
Instead of a glowing tribute, the In Memoriam section featured the usual montage of names and pictures fading in and out on the screen. Names the general public wouldn’t recognize showed their claim to fame (read: job title). And stars like Klugman and Hagman got applause for the few seconds their images were shown onscreen.
As for the decision to include Monteith, some were wondering if it was simply a ratings ploy. After all, CBS is known for having some of the oldest viewers, though this year’s broadcast was the highest rated since 2005. (Some credit the high numbers to NFL football as a lead in before the Emmys.)
As for the decision to include Monteith, Emmys executive producer Ken Ehrlich said, “It was a rather personal choice. Cory’s appeal was to maybe a little different generation than some of the others we were honouring.”
In a roundabout way, yes, that seems like a ratings appeal.
It brings up the question of tributes to fallen stars and how long they had been stars. Is it the length of time you were famous or is it based on your popularity that might get people to tune in if the world is abuzz about it? And does the In Memoriam segment also stand as a platform for drug awareness and other causes?
No matter how touching a segment in the TV show, remember it is just that: a TV show.
All in all, Ehrlich said, “In all candor, this became a producer’s option.”