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Exclusive: Murray, Burton exit 'One Tree Hill'

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It looks like One Tree Hill newlyweds Peyton and Lucas are about to embark on a permanent honeymoon.

Sources confirm to me exclusively that Chad Michael Murray and Hilarie Burton, whose characters tied the knot in last night’s penultimate episode, will not be returning for the show’s seventh season next fall. The CW is expected to formally announce their departures next Thursday at its upfront presentation. 

Murray and Burton have been engaged in rather high-profile contract negotiations for the past several months. Ultimately, a deal couldn’t be worked out and both actors will make their final appearances in next Monday’s season finale.

To fill the void next season, a Hill insider tells me that three new characters will be introduced, including an older sister for Haley, a sports agent who reps Nathan, and an actress-diva-model that Brooke hires to be the new face of her clothing line. Additionally, Austin Nichols (Julian) is being promoted to a series regular.

What say you, Tree Hill fans? Pumped for OTH 2.0? Too upset to even think about it? Let loose in the comments section. And remember: Don’t shoot the messenger. The messenger is good. And a handsome devil to boot.