Jane Lynch

Modern Family co-creator Steve Levitan said Sunday night’s Emmys were a buzz-kill due to producers over-stuffing the ceremony with tributes to fallen celebrities.

The telecast featured the usual “In Memoriam” slideshow, plus five break-out tributes scattered throughout the evening honoring talents such as James Gandolfini, Jonathan Winters and — most controversiallyGlee co-star Cory Monteith. Plus, there was a “power of television” segment touching on John F. Kennedy’s assassination. With all those black suits in the audience, one could have easily mistaken the Emmys for a funeral.

Levitan first made a reference to the ceremony being the “saddest Emmys of all time” while on stage to pick up his award for Modern Family winning best comedy series. Later he told EW the endless tributes dragged down the emotional flow of the show — particularly for host Neil Patrick Harris.

“Listen, nobody is more respectful of those who have come and gone and made a mark in this business, but I believe the Emmys should be a celebration about all that is exciting and wonderful about television,” Levitan said. “All those people are very deserving, and other people are deserving too. I thought it was too sad. Poor Neil Patrick Harris, who was so brilliant, had to keep digging himself out of the holes dug by these sad moments, time and time again. It was very difficult.” — Reporting by Tanner Stransky.