Emmys snub Hagman for drug addict, Monteith

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from Uncle Barky,

In life he never won an Emmy, although nominated twice.

In death he won’t receive one of the five separate special “In Memoriam” tributes during the Sunday, Sept. 22nd awards ceremony on CBS. The program’s executive producer made that firmly if imperfectly clear when asked by unclebarky.com during a Wednesday afternoon teleconference.

Such is the lot of Larry Hagman, who came to international stardom on CBS as J.R. Ewing of Dallas. He died in the show’s namesake city on Nov. 23rd during filming of the TNT reboot’s second season.

CBS announced Monday that Emmy’s traditional “In Memoriam” clip segment would be enhanced by five tributes interspersed throughout the telecast. Those selected for special treatment are James Gandolfini (to be remembered by Sopranos co-star Edie Falco); Jean Stapleton (Rob Reiner); Jonathan Winters (Robin Williams); Family Ties producer Gary Goldberg (Michael J. Fox) and Corey Monteith (Jane Lynch).

The criticism quickly took flight, most notably in a commentary by Variety digital editor-in-chief Andrew Wallenstein. He questioned whether Monteith, the former Glee star who died at age 31 of a drug overdose, merited “being elevated” in this fashion. After all, he’s never even been nominated for an Emmy.

“By putting Monteith in this elite group, the Academy is risking having its honorable intentions misconstrued as using the actor’s memory to cater to the younger audiences that are in decreasingly short supply for award shows these days,” Wallenstein wrote in part.

Wallenstein also mentioned the omission of Hagman, who died at age 81 and co-starred in another enduring if lightweight series, I Dream of Jeannie. “Monteith could have gone on to a tremendous career, but Larry Hagman, for instance, already had a tremendous career, and putting Monteith on a pedestal casts a shadow over the memory of this iconic Dallas star,” Wallenstein wrote.

During Wednesday’s teleconference, veteran producer Ken Ehrlich, who’s presiding over his sixth Emmy telecast, made it clear that he made the call on the chosen few.

“In all candor, this becomes a producer’s option,” he said, “knowing that there are certainly others that could have been treated this way.”

Asked specifically about Hagman, Ehrlich repeated the “producer’s option” talking point. “I don’t know that I want to go into that in greater depth . . . No matter what we do, I think there will be people who will say we had other options.”

Including Monteith “was a rather personal choice,” he said in response to another questioner. “But Corey’s appeal maybe was to a different generation than some of the others we’re honoring.

“At 31 he passed away under very tragic circumstances,” Ehrlich added, and perhaps “meant as much” to a younger generation as the likes of Stapleton and Winters.

Still, it’s all very puzzling if not insulting. And CBS, should be ashamed of itself!

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