9:52am PT by Lesley Goldberg
'Glee' Promotes Five to Series Regulars (Exclusive)
Glee is cementing the future of New Directions.
The Fox musical has promoted Melissa Benoist (Marley), Jacob Artist (Jake), Becca Tobin (Kitty) and The Glee Project alums Blake Jenner and Alex Newell to series regulars, The Hollywood Reporter has learned exclusively.
The news comes days after news broke that New Directions and McKinley High alums Heather Morris (Brittany), Mark Salling (Puck), Amber Riley (Mercedes) and Harry Shum Jr. (Mike) had been downgraded from regulars. The quartet -- along with Dianna Agron (Quinn) and Jayma Mays (Emma) -- will likely return for guest appearances going forward, as has become the norm on the dramedy. Mays, meanwhile, already has found her next gig and will co-star in CBS' upcoming Will Arnett comedy The Millers.
Fox and studio 20th Television renewed the Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk musical for its fifth and sixth seasons in April and the promotions come as little surprise; all five have been considered the future of the series as its original core cast marches toward the show's latest graduation. (Morris' Brittany graduated in May's fourth season finale, and the actress' pregnancy further complicated the ditzy cheerleader's likelihood of returning.)
Benoist's Marley has been considered the heir apparent to Lea Michele's Rachel within Glee's New Directions; Artist's Jake portrays the younger half-brother to Salling's Puck and her love interest. Tobin was cast as Kitty, the new snarky mean girl of the club, and Jenner is the all-American Finn Hudson (Cory Monteith) of the group. Newell, meanwhile, plays Wade "Unique" Adams, a transgender teenager with a killer voice. The latter duo first joined the series after winning five-episode arcs on Oxygen's The Glee Project in seasons two and one, respectively. Oxygen is mulling the future of the reality competition series.
Benoist is repped by UTA, Authentic and Frankfurt Kurnit; Artist is with UTA and David Dean; Tobin is with Innovative, Schumacher and Felker Toczek; Jenner is with CAA and Mosaic; Newell is with CESD.
Glee returns for its fifth season Sept. 19 at 9 p.m. on Fox.