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posted: 8/4/2012 7:32 AM

Emmy producer says memorial segment a challenge

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  • Jimmy Kimmel will host of the Emmy Awards in September.

    Jimmy Kimmel will host of the Emmy Awards in September.
    Associated Press

Associated Press

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. -- The producer of this year's Emmy Awards said it's a challenge to decide who to include in the ceremony's memorial tribute.

About three-dozen stars and other industry notables typically are honored in the "in memoriam" segment, although many more are deserving, executive producer Don Mischer said Friday.

He said he and the TV academy identify the late actors and other TV notables who will create an "emotional response" among Emmy viewers. That drew a wry observation from Jimmy Kimmel, who will host the Sept. 23 awards on ABC.

"I love that even in death, you're subject to a popularity contest," Kimmel said.

Omissions typically are more an issue for the Oscars than the Emmys. But some viewers objected when the death of "Taxi" star Jeff Conaway wasn't noted in last year's Emmy tribute.

Other than the host, the segment is consistently the audience's favorite part of the telecast, Mischer said told a meeting of the Television Critics Association.

He was asked if Andy Griffith, who died July 3 at age 86, would get special attention because of the actor's beloved 1960s comedy, "The Andy Griffith Show," and his subsequent long-running legal drama, "Matlock."

There are ways to focus attention on individuals with a unique position in the industry, Mischer said, such as placing their tribute at the beginning or end of the memorial segment.

ABC late-night host Kimmel was asked if he was annoyed the network didn't ask him to host the Emmys the last time it aired the awards, in 2008. The emcee job went to five reality TV show hosts, including Jeff Probst of "Survivor" and Heidi Klum of "Project Runway," who were roundly panned.

Kimmel said he took some satisfaction in the outcome.

"I was able to look good by not doing anything at all. That's my goal in life, by the way," he said.

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