Ken Ehrlich, a producer of Hollywood's upcoming Emmys telecast, says the late actor Cory Monteith is deserving of special recognition at the ceremony.
The show's producers recently announced Monteith, Jonathan Winters, James Gandolfini, Jean Stapleton and "Family Ties" creator Gary David Goldberg would be singled out for individual tributes at Sunday's prize presentation outside of the ceremony's traditional "In Memoriam" segment.
The move to include Monteith -- the "Glee" star who died of a drug overdose during the summer at the age of 31 -- was met with criticism from some members of the media who said he had not amassed the same body of work as the other artists. It was a puzzling decision, particularly since other deceased actors, such as Larry Hagman and Jack Klugman -- whose careers spanned decades -- will only be featured in the memorial montage.
But Ehrlich explained the decision to reporters Wednesday, the New York Post said.
"Cory's appeal was to maybe a little different generation than some of the others, and we felt they needed to be represented," Ehrlich said.
"It was important to be responsive to younger viewers, to whom Cory Monteith meant as much as the other four individuals meant to their own generations," Ehrlich said. "There was discussion about the fact that this [special Monteith tribute] probably is going to become an interesting topic of conversation."
Neil Patrick Harris, who earned an Emmy Award for his guest appearance on "Glee," is to serve as host of this year's prize presentation celebrating the best in television.