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BEVERLY HILLS — The first question for Fox Entertainment president Kevin Reilly at the network’s Televisions Critics Association press tour Friday morning was about the controversy surrounding Glee.
When Ryan Murphy told the Hollywood Reporter that stars Lea Michele, Chris Colfer and Cory Monteith would graduate and in fact not be on the show beyond the upcoming third season, the blogosphere erupted in protest. And Murphy and his co-creator Brad Falchuk told fans at Comic-Con that it was not true.
STORY: Comic-Con 2011: ‘Glee’ Trio ‘Are Not Done With the Show After This Season,’ Says EP
“All of us were a little surprised on how it took on a life of its own,” said Reilly. “I think it’s taken on a little more momentum than it actually [deserves].”
Reilly acknowledged that managing the show is a “huge undertaking.”
“But I think that Ryan and his associates there do a fabulous job of managing that every day,” he said. “Brad is the most even-keeled guy in the world. And Ryan is who he is. That’s why I love him. Ryan is a creative force.”
STORY: ‘Glee 3D Concert: The Movie’: Track-by-Track
Reilly confirmed that Michele, Colfer and Monteith’s characters will indeed graduate. But he did not elaborate on where the show – or those characters – would go beyond that.
“How [that’s] going to play out I’m not going to say,” he said. “It’s not going to be predictable.”
Reilly said that last season he discussed a spinoff with Murphy and Falchuk that would include graduating cast members.
“Ryan did talk to all the actors about it. I think the public nature of it did take everybody a little bit by surprise. In the end we decided to really focus on this year,” he said, adding that they will “revisit” a spinoff during the “back half” of the upcoming season.
He also confirmed that there will not be a bevy of musical guest stars or any tribute episodes in the first half of the season, though earlier this year Murphy said that he was in talks with a big-get musician for a single tribute episode.
“You’re going to see a back-to-basics season this year,” he said.
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