Emmys Producer Ken Ehrlich Defends Controversial Tribute Segment

Emmys producer Ken Ehrlich defended the tribute segment of Sunday night’s telecast Monday.

The segment honored James Gandolfini, Cory Monteith, Jean Stapleton, Jonathan Winters, and Gary David Goldberg with tributes from their co-stars.

But some, including the sons of Larry Hagman and Jack Klugman, felt there were other stars who have passed away in the last year who deserved more than a brief mention in the “In Memoriam” photo montage.

Ehrlich told TV Guide that it was important to put a more personal touch on the second segment, which is why the producers didn’t run pictures of the deceased actors.

“That was a very conscious decision,” he said. “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.”

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

Ehrlich also addressed Adam Klugman’s criticism of the tribute segment. Klugman’s father died on December 24, 2012 from prostate cancer at 90. The Odd Couple star’s son said it was “criminal” and “an insult” that his father wasn’t honored. He also said that Monteith, who was 31 when he died on July 13 from a drug overdose, “won no Emmys and it was a self-induced tragedy.”

Ehrlich said, “I know there was vocal reaction from Jack Klugman’s kid. Honestly, I would have loved to do more. But there’s only so much time you have. And I thought we devoted the proper amount of time to those five pieces and then to the ‘In Memoriam’ segment.”

However, Larry Hagman’s son, Preston, didn’t feel that the segment was long enough.

“I think three seconds was short. I think all of them were short,” he said. “If you are going to honor [the ‘In Memoriam’ recipients], honor them with the respect and dignity that they portrayed. Do it for everyone.”

Ken Ehrlich said he wouldn’t have done anything differently.

“I’m not my own harshest critic. I leave that to others,” he said. “I think the Emmy show this year was funny, touching, humorous, emotional, dramatic, and I think it elevated television. You couldn’t watch this show and not think at the end of it that there’s meaning in what we do. I’m not saying others are going to find that, but that’s what I felt.”