'Glee's' Final Season Episode Count Officially Trimmed

'Glee's' Early Preview and Ryan Murphy

The executive who greenlit Nip/Tuck at FX got into the Ryan Murphy business early and helped catapult the writer/exec producer into one of today's most successful showrunners. Reilly also had the foresight to preview musical Glee behind the season finale of American Idol in May, giving birth to a worldwide phenomenon. Reilly is credited with giving the network note to give the glee club a villain -- thus creating Jane Lynch's Sue Sylvester.

It's official: Fox's global phenomenon Glee will be cut in half for its final season.

The musical from creators Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk will be trimmed from its typical 22-episode order to 13 episodes, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

Sources tell THR that Murphy sat down with the network and studio 20th Century Fox Television to discuss the best way to end the series and decided that the story would be best told in one final run of 13 consecutive episodes.

For its part, Glee has been showing its age. The musical has repeatedly hit series lows in its fifth season, with ratings down considerably from those of its early heyday.

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The move comes as little surprise after Glee — one of the lowest-rated scripted series to earn an additional season renewal after Fox's two-season pickup a year ago — was left off the network's fall schedule. The musical starring Lea Michele and Chris Colfer will return midseason as part of Fox's 2015 lineup. An exact date and time slot have not yet been revealed, but the network plans to make the sixth and final run of the series into a big event for fans.

The decision to hold Glee for a midseason bow comes after the network trimmed its current fifth season from 22 to 20 episodes, following production delays at the start of the season after the death of star Cory Monteith. Sources told THR that Fox was mulling tacking the final two episodes onto season five, bringing the total to 24 after the show's two-season pickup a year ago. (The two-season renewal was for 44 episodes.)

In May, then-Fox Broadcasting president Kevin Reilly said the standard 22-episode count for seasons is no longer the norm as more networks adopt a cable model in a bid to retain viewers and eventize programming.

Murphy, meanwhile, told THR in April that he has a final idea for the series, which will not be "New York-centric" after the series was uprooted from its former Ohio-set high school location.

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"The final season is really its own story and its own location and while the New York stuff will be alive, the final season is not New York-centric at all," Murphy said at the time, noting there will be a time jump for the final episodes. "It really [will be] a lovely, fitting season that…dwells on the original people that were on the show and what happens to them and how they give back. That really is the last season.… We'll revisit some of the new kids that came and went. There's a return of the Jane Lynch-Matt Morrison characters in a big way. It's a really interesting, very sweet, satisfying ending to the story."

The news comes mere hours after Murphy picked up a whopping 34 Emmy nominations for programs including HBO's The Normal Heart, FX's American Horror Story: Coven and Glee, which was nominated in the directing category for its 100th episode. Click here for our interview with Murphy about all the Emmy attention.

Email: Lesley.Goldberg@THR.com
Twitter: @Snoodit

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