Fox’s programming president Kevin Reilly broke the network’s silence on the controversy that’s erupted over Glee producers giving conflicting statements about the upcoming third season, and whether there’s really a spin-off in the works.
On the controversy: “I was extremely upset to learn about this myself on Twitter — I’m kidding,” Reilly said. “I can laugh about it because it’s taken on more of a heated momentum than it actually is. This show is such an undertaking. As you well know there are many successful shows that have genuine controversy and fighting. That’s not the case with this show. [Creator] Ryan Murphy and his group of associates do a phenomenal job. In the middle of Ryan’s creativity this got out… this was a two-day issue that took on a bigger life. These guys get along incredibly well.”
On the spin-off: “The spin-off was in the wind. We haven’t said we’re not doing it. We talked about it last season. Ryan did talk to all the actors about it. Ryan himself has said he regrets he talked about it. The spin-off will stay in the wind. We collectively decided to revisit it in the back half of the [season] … I don’t even know what it would be.”
On season 3: “I sat down with [executive producer] Brad Falchuk and Ryan and talked about this season’s arc. My two cohorts at Fox were fighting back tears at one point. The season feels so focused this year. It’s a very back to basics year. There’s not going to be any guest stars or tributes. There will be a graduation at the end and three will graduate. There will be surprises about how that will play out. Glee is an incredibly creative enterprise. It’s almost too much of a good thing. We’re going to focus on our core cast.” Pressed by a critic on whether Glee will really have no guest stars or tribute episodes for all of season three, Reilly added, “Initially, there’s not going to be any big guest stars or tribute in the first batch of episodes. And in general, [back to basics] will be the focus for the season. There’s an arc that will drive the year. The competition will be alive and well. You will have the winner for The Glee Project joining at some point down the road.”
On last season: “Anytime you have a show burning that brightly you worry about it stumbling. Last season we had a lot of creativity, lot of success, a lot of ideas were tried. When you hear from the audience, ‘We still love this thing’ — nobody ever said ‘that’s bad’ — but, ‘Give me what I want in its core.’ There were a lot of different ideas we tried. We discovered amazing talent. Others were guest characters that interrupted other storylines. And Ryan agrees to that. A show this creative done 22 episodes, if this were on cable it would be 13 brilliant episodes.”