Journalist Allison Hope Weiner is a special correspondent to Deadline and files this exclusive breaking news that executive producer Ryan Murphy stopped work on a Glee post-high school spinoff after three of the show’s stars feigned ignorance over his plans to have them leave the original series at the end of Season 4 and star in the series. We’ll be posting Weiner’s full interview with Murphy shortly:
Glee Executive Producer Ryan Murphy told me in an exclusive Deadline interview that up until a few weeks ago he was working on a planned scripted hourlong spin-off to Glee. But after several of the show’s stars claimed surprise at Murphy’s announcement that this year would be their last on the first series, he opted to put the new show on hold. Murphy told Deadline that as early as March of this year, he talked to Glee stars Lea Michele, Chris Colfer, and Cory Monteith about a possible spin-off in which their characters would graduate from high school and go on to college at NYC’s Juilliard which he called. Murphy said he opted to include the actors in the plans for a spin-off because he wanted their input on how they saw their characters changing and because he wanted to know whether they’d be willing to relocate to New York to film the series. Here’s what he says happened:
Allison Hope Weiner: So what is accurate and inaccurate about Lea Michele, Chris Colfer, and Cory Monteith staying, leaving, what they claim, and what you told them?
Ryan Murphy: I said two things in an interview: I said, yes, they are graduating and they will not be back on the show for Season Four. And when I did that interview, what was happening was we were asked to investigate doing a spin-off and it was a spin-off specifically for three of them, Chris, Cory and Lea. In March, Brad Falchuk and I started talking to all three of those actors about it because you can’t make people do spin-offs. So, we went to them and asked, ‘What do you think about this? Are you interested? If you are interested, what would you want your character to do? Where do you think we should shoot it?’ So, it was a discussion with all three of those actors about it. At the time, all three of them expressed interest. ‘Yeah, that sounds good. It’s good to graduate. It’s good to grow the characters. It’s good to not have to sit in that choir room. It’s good to sort of expand and continue the evolution of these people.’ They were involved in the process for 3 to 4 months to the point where we were even talking about cities and relocations and we called Juilliard and what would that mean and how would we do it. So, for any of those actors to say, ‘I found out that I was fired off the show from Twitter,’ is absolutely 100% not true. None of them were fired. It was never about that. We were going to do a spin-off where the three of them were going to go on. They all knew what was happening, they all had approved it, they all said they wanted to do it. Some of them had different caveats. Some of them, to be honest, were not thrilled about moving to a different city. Some had families here and some had families elsewhere. I feel sensitive about that. So then what happened was it blew up and a lot of articles were written about it. Some people were writing they’re not on the show so that means they must be fired. Well, no. That was 100% incorrect.
Weiner: How did it get so wrong?
Murphy: I think that some of those actors’ representatives spun it in a certain way, to be quite honest, I don’t understand. We weren’t allowed to talk about a spin-off. It was too premature. We didn’t want to do it then. The idea was to do it this fall when Glee gets back on the air. Then, to pick up and read the actors saying, “We found out we were fired from Twitter.” All of us, the studio, the network, were like, ‘OK, that isn’t exactly cool,’ because we involved all three of them in that decision. So then what happened is that we decided, ‘OK, let’s not do it.’ So that’s where we are today. Maybe we’ll talk about it in April or May, but for now let’s just concentrate on making Season 3 the best that we can do. When I say they’re seniors and they’re not coming back to the show, what I did not say is they’re not coming back to the show because there will be another show. What Brad [Falchuk] said this weekend at Comic-Con is now correct: they’re graduating. What we wanted is to get people away from this idea that the actors were fired which is ludicrous. Nobody was fired. They were talked to for months about the show. (more…)