Diane Haithman is contributing to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
Sure, 19 Emmy nominations are nice – but Glee co-creators Ryan Murphy and Ian Brennan realized another significant job perk recently: A pitch from Paul McCartney suggesting that Glee feature some of his songs. “I got a mix tape from Paul McCartney a couple of days ago. I thought I was being punked,“ Murphy said at TCA. “It just sort of came out of the blue, in a package, hand-written: ‘Hi ‘Ryan, I am hoping you would consider some of these songs for Glee. I was gobsmacked. I grew up with that guy.” Ryan added that McCartney admires the show because it supports arts education, which is a draw for many artists hoping to have their songs covered by the Glee cast. “Our show is an ultimate pop culture fan letter to all of those artists,” Ryan said, adding that Glee has also given older generation songs another life through the show. He wants to keep the number of songs to around 5 or 6 each episode, instead of going for the 9 featured in that Madonna theme episode.
Meanwhile, the producers said that Glee will dwell on some of the supporting characters. But the plan also is to continue to mine Broadway for guest stars and guest directors. The season’s guest performers will include the previously announced Broadway vet John Stamos who “constantly sent me clips of him in Cabaret, wearing almost nothing, saying: ‘I would like to do this,’” Ryan said. There will be 2 episodes devoted to the music of a specific artist next season. One will be featuring Britney Spears songs. Additionally, the show is in negotiations with an unnamed artist to be showcased in the special post-Super Bowl episode. Adam Shankman also will make his Glee debut as a director.
The TCA critics wanted to know about the grumpy guy who always accompanies the Glee singers on the piano in the series. Ryan revealed the guy is Brad Ellis, and the only direction he has ever gotten from Ryan is: “You hate those kids”. Asked whether the baleful musician will ever speak, Ryan said: “He might say: ‘I hate those kids.’”