The reality competition series will not return for a third season on Oxygen, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. A spokesman for the NBCUniversal-owned cable network reiterated that the decision has nothing to do with the sudden passing of Glee star Cory Monteith, who was found dead in his Vancouver hotel Saturday. Monteith was one of the original Glee stars who served as a mentor on The Glee Project.
Despite a strong desire internally to bring the reality competition series back, the late renewal for Fox’s Glee made it too late to turn around a third season of the unscripted vehicle.
“The Glee Project will not be returning to Oxygen but we are extremely proud of this series, which launched the careers of several talented individuals. The show had so much heart, and we thank Ryan Murphy and all of the creative talent who helped make the series a critical darling,” Oxygen said in a statement.
Oxygen ideally wanted a new cycle of The Glee Project — in which the winner receives a major arc on Fox’s Glee — to air consistently with the series’ established pattern, but Glee‘s April renewal (for seasons five and six) would have made it at least 18 months before The Glee Project would have aired again.
After ending its first season with a record haul of 1.2 million viewers, The Glee Project was moved to a new night and later time for its second run. When factoring in DVR viewing, the return was up 38 percent compared with the series premiere but a far cry from the season-one finale.
The series, a critical darling, featured Glee choreographer Zach Woodlee, casting director Robert Ulrich and vocal coach Nikki Anders training contestants in the rigorous singing, dancing and recording regimen of Glee. Co-creator Murphy ultimately determined whom he would pen an arc for on the flagship series.
In its two seasons, The Glee Project has produced Glee series regulars Alex Newell and Blake Jenner, with Samuel Larsen and Damian McGinty both having regular arcs on the series. Lindsay Pearce also had a small role during season three. Larsen continues to recur on the musical dramedy.
Oxygen will begin airing syndicated repeats of Glee later this year, acquiring the series during its first season.