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Emmys In Memoriam Segment Won’t Be Such a Bummer This Year, Producer Mark Burnett Says

Promises ”good-natured fun“ about the less year of television

Emmys executive producer Mark Burnettt has a unique idea for making this year's three-hour ceremony drag a little less: cheering up the In Memoriam segment.

"We're going to do In Memoriam differently. I think In Memoriam doesn't have to be a bummer," he said at Television Critics Association summer press tour.

Also read: New Oscar Producer Brett Ratner: 'Comedy Is the Key'

Despite some laughter from reporters, he was serious about making the segment less morose. "It can be a celebration of what was left behind," he said.

Sitting alongside host Jane Lynch, Burnett also said he received no pressure to choose her or anyone else from a Fox show to host the ceremony, which is airing on the network.

"The most important choice I could have made on this year's Emmys is who would be hosting, and Jane was my first and only choice," he said.

Burnett said he's aiming for a well-paced show, while Lynch hopes for musical numbers, perhaps along the lines of the one she took part in to open last year's ceremony. The Emmy winning actress said her "Glee" character, Sue Sylvester, will be used sparingly if at all.

"I think we'll probably leave her track suit on the Paramount lot," she said.

Added Burnett: "If there's any nod to Sue it will be very, very minor because a little Sue goes a long way."

Asked about awards show moments she wants to emulate and avoid, Lynch went with two safe choices: She liked Jack Palance doing pushups at one Oscars, and cringed through Rob Lowe singing to Snow White, she said. 

Burnett has produced several past awards shows, including the MTV Movie Awards that featured Sasha Baron Cohen being lowered from the ceiling into Eminem's crotch. He said he learned from the moment that online buzz can increase the number of people tuning into a show, as it did for the Movie Awards. He realizes that many people watching the Emmys will be looking at another screen as well, and is planning the show with that in mind, he said.

He was also asked if he had any advice for just-named Oscars producer Brett Ratner, who he called a friend.

"I think it's just have tons of fun," he said.

Here's last year's hard-to-top Emmys opening once again: