Iconic television actor Jack Klugman's son, Adam, is a bit annoyed with the producers of this year's Emmy Awards ceremony over their inclusion of Cory Monteith in their set of special tributes to stars in the "In Memoriam" segment of the 2013 show. His three-time Emmy-winning father will be part of the snapshot tribute but the additional longer tributes have been given to others, the recently deceased "Glee" star included. And he thinks that doing so and pandering to the younger television audience is "criminal."
"I think it's criminal," Klugman said, the Associated Press reported (via Yahoo News) Sept. 21. "My dad was at the inception of television and helped build it in the early days."
Jack Klugman began working in television in 1950 and would go on to to do numerous shows over the next six decades. But he was mostly known for his big screen (1957's "12 Angry Men") and stage moments prior to the 1960s. He won an Emmy Award for his "The Defenders" in 1964. Still, it wasn't until he was paired with Tony Randall in situation comedy "The Odd Couple" that he became a household name. He would win a Golden Globe and two Emmys for his portrayal of Oscar Madison in the iconic show of two mismatched roommates, which was adapted from the Broadway play (which Klugman had starred in as well). He would later star in the popular drama "Quincy, M. E.," which ran for seven seasons that ended in 1983.
Adam Klugman wanted to make it clear that he didn't want to disparage Cory Monteith. He was a fan of "Glee," he said, but his father, who passed away last year at the age of 90, should get a tribute and not the 31-year-old actor that had died in July from an accidental overdose.
Klugman's son said, according to the Los Angeles Times, that "to compare the contribution he made to the contribution my father made -- it doesn't compare."
In an interview, he said, "They're celebrating this self-inflicted tragedy instead of celebrating the life of my father, who won three Emmys.... Cory Monteith never won an Emmy."
Adam Klugman didn't pull any punches as to what he thought motivated the producers to choose someone like Monteith over someone like his father. The Associated Press along with The Hollywood Reporter quoted him as saying, "It's an insult and it really seems typical of this youth-centric culture that has an extremely short attention span and panders to only a very narrow demographic" of young viewers.
Ken Erlich, who is producing the 2013 Emmys ceremony, defended the decision (per UPI) to include Cory Monteith:
"Every generation of television viewers has its favorites, and when we decided to expand the 'In Memoriam' segment to remember certain individuals, we wanted these pieces to be representative as well. To a younger generation, Cory Monteith's portrayal of Finn Hudson was highly admired, and the producers felt that he should be included along with the four other individuals we have singled out."
Those four other individuals are the legendary Jean Stapleton (most famous for her portrayal of Edith Bunker on "All In The Family"), James Gandolfini (who portrayed Tony Soprano on HBO's "The Sopranos"), writer-producer Gary David Goldberg ("Lou Grant," "Family Ties," "Spin City"), and the legendary comedian Jonathan Winters ("The Steve Allen Show," "Mork & Mindy," the voice of Grandpa Smurf on "The Smurfs," "Davis Rules").
But Adam Klugman only scoffs at Erlich and their reasoning for including Monteith instead his father.
"Let's call this what it is," he said. "They're doing this because they think they're gonna get a younger generation of viewers to watch."
And Klugman just might have a point. Although Ehrlich's point that some are always disappointed in the choices made for the "In Memoriam" segment, Cory Monteith's limited acting career seems to pale in comparison to someone as iconic as Jack Klugman. And since the five tributes are additional (it is the first time extra tributes have been added to the Emmys), the inclusion of the young actor among such an exalted group of does seem a bit excessive.
But, then, when has Hollywood ever held itself above pandering?
The 65th Emmy Awards, which will be hosted by Neil Patrick Harris, will be broadcast live on Sept. 22 at 8 p.m. (EST) on CBS Television.