Saturday, June 15, 2024

Emmys In Memoriam Huge Snub: Leaves Out “Saturday Night Live” Music Producer Hal Willner


Why are these In Memoriams always such a mess at every awards show?

This year’s big snub on the Emmys was Hal Wilner, the beloved long time music producer of “Saturday Night Live.” Willner died last April at age 64 from COVID related illness.

This is a BIG goof for the Emmys. Hal was such an important part of “Saturday Night Live” going back to 1981. And his widow, Sheila Rogers, was the long time music booker for David Letterman, and currently books James Corden, especially Carpool Karaoke.

I’m sure there were other omissions, but this one was glaring. Hal was so plugged into the world of music in New York– and everywhere else– that he also became famous for his tribute albums to artists. His last one was released on September 4th in secret by BMG Records (the same people that killed the Pretenders’ new album this summer). “Angelheaded Hipster: The Songs of Marc Bolan & T. Rex” features a wide range of stars.

But Willner’s real work was “SNL.” He was a TV music guy. He chose all the music for “SNL” comedy sketches for four decades. The Emmys really owe Hal’s family an apology.

Hal was a 2005 Grammy winner, so I hope those folks remember to include him.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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