Ryan Murphy on the (non-) 'Glee' news: 'Nobody wants to see a high school senior with a bald spot'
“Hello! I’ve been saying that for a year!”— that’s Ryan Murphy’s response to everyone going Internet crazy about his interview Monday on Ryan Seacrest's radio show in which the “Glee” creator said that some of the characters would be moving on from their New Direction days in keeping with the natural progression of their characters.
“A year ago, I said I think the best thing you can do on a show like this is not have eight-year seniors,” Murphy told ShowTracker. “Nobody wants to see a high school senior with a bald spot. We want to stay true to what ‘Glee’ is about, which is finding your voice and your place in the world; to stretch that out for eight seasons — though that might be lucrative for us — I don’t think would be fair to the fans. They expect growth in those characters.”
“It’s certainly sad in many ways, but it’s also exciting,” Murphy added. “Last year we brought in two new people, Chord Overstreet and Darren Criss, both of whom have gone on to do great things to the show. It was a test for me: Will audiences embrace new people? I think if the stories and the songs are good, they absolutely will."
Besides graduation, how does Murphy plan to have the characters make their exit? Perhaps Rachel Berry [Lea Michele] can audition for a spot on “American Idol” or “The Voice”?
“I think Rachel Berry should go on and get the lead in the new 'Funny Girl' show that’s being cast,” Murphy joked. “Let’s take her to Broadway! But, no, I'm not thinking about goodbyes. I’m thinking about hellos. We’re writing the first 10 scripts so we’re not there yet.”
Helping to pen those new scripts are six new writers: Allison Adler, Marti Noxon, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Michael Hitchcock, Matt Hodgson and Ross Maxwell have joined Murphy and fellow executive producers Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan. And, Murphy insists, there will be no big guest stars: “It’s going to be about the characters and storylines — storylines for people we don’t hear much from, like Tina, Mike and Mercedes. Jane Lynch has an amazing 20-episode storyline we’re cooking up.”
And included in the beginning stages of the season will be a story arc featuring the winner of “The Glee Project,” currently airing on Oxygen. The reality series premiered June 12, the same day as the Tony Awards and the NBA Finals, to underwhelming ratings -- just under a half-million viewers — despite favorable critical response.
“I think we learned one big lesson which is don’t put a musical comedy reality show opposite the Tony Awards ... or the NBA Finals,” said Murphy, who’s keeping busy with the 'American Horror Story’ pilot for FX. “I was a little worried but I’m glad it’s bounced back. I hope it continues to grow.”
“I felt exactly about “The Glee Project’s" performance as I did about ‘Glee,’” Murphy said. “It wasn’t until the third or fourth episode that people really started to sit up and pay attention to ‘Glee.’ I think a lot of that is word of mouth. I think people like to find things. They don’t like things shoved down their throats. And at the end of the day, I don’t really care. I love the show so much. I know that the episodes only get better. I’m excited about the potential of it.”
“The person who won I think is amazing and will be such a big star,” Murphy said.
And he’s not opposed to bringing back one of the eliminated contestants for a small role on the Fox show.
“I think that maybe we will,” Murphy said. “I’m editing an episode right now and I was like, [crap!] I should not have cut that person. I should have kept that person to the bitter end and they could have won. I never saw the other stuff. I only saw them come out and sing for me and based my decision on that. I do think in the judging I made one big mistake. Maybe I would have that person come in and audition for something because that person was just so talented. I won't say who!”
-- Yvonne Villarreal
Photos, from top: Ryan Murphy arrives at the Paley Center for Media's Paleyfest 2011 Event honoring "Glee" on March 16 in Beverly Hills (credit: Michael Buckner/Getty Images); "Glee" star Darren Criss supports hopeful contestants for "The Glee Project." (Oxygen)