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Emmys: Executive producer defends Cory Monteith tribute

18th annual screen actors guild awards

(Access Hollywood) — The news that the 2013 Emmys will pay tribute to Cory Monteith set off a bit of controversy this week, after some questioned whether the late actor’s work on “Glee” was worthy of an Emmy moment (versus honoring someone with a larger body of work, like “Dallas” icon Larry Hagman).

Access Hollywood’s Shaun Robinson caught up with Ken Ehrlich, executive producer of Sunday’s Emmy Awards, who defended the In Memoriam decision on Friday.

“I do think when people see this, [when] they see that there’s kind of a message involved and what we’re saying about him, they may revise some of this early unfair advance criticism,” Ken told Shaun.

Is that to say the tribute to the Canadian star (which will be presented by his former “Glee” co-star Jane Lynch) will deliver some sort of anti-drug message to viewers, in light of how Cory died? Not necessarily, Ken said.

“I don’t want to go that far, but there certainly is – yes, there’s a message in this presentation that I think is a good message for people,” he said. “It does celebrate [Cory], because he really did significant work on that show, but it also, in a way, is a warning.”

In addition to Jane’s tribute to Cory, Edie Falco will commemorate James Gandolfini, while Rob Reiner will pay homage to Jean Stapleton. Robin Williams will remember Jonathan Winters and Michael J. Fox will pay tribute to “Family Ties” producer Gary David Goldberg.

The 2013 Primetime Emmy Awards will air Sunday at 8 p.m. on CBS 6.

Watch Access Hollywood weeknights at 7:30 p.m. following CBS 6 News at 7 p.m. with Bill Fitzgerald.