'Glee': Lea Michele, Chris Colfer, and Cory Monteith NOT leaving show after third season

Glee-Lea-Michele-Cory

Image Credit: Jason Merritt/Getty Images

The biggest Glee news coming out of Comic-Con: Despite Ryan Murphy saying that Rachel, Kurt, and Finn will graduate at end of this coming third season, stars Lea Michele, Chris Colfer, and Cory Monteith will return for season 4.

At today’s panel in San Diego, Glee co-creator and exec producer Brad Falchuk told the audience that even though the three were set to finish high school, “because they’re graduating doesn’t mean they’re leaving the show. If you have Lea Michele under contract, you don’t say, ‘We’re gonna let you go.’”

“It was never our plan or our intention to let them go,” Fulchuk added. “They are not done with the show after this season.”

That’s a big about-face from what Murphy told The Hollywood Reporter: “You can keep them on the show for six years and people will criticize you for not being realistic, or you can be really true to life and say when they started the show they were very clearly sophomores and they should graduate at the end of their senior year.”

Murphy also said he made the decision in concert with Michele and Colfer. “I involved Chris and Lea and they thought that was a good idea,” he told THR. “They both trust the writing and trust me and felt that it would be great to have an open and closed experience for them to go out while they were on top.”

EW confirmed that all of the actors have signed traditional seven-year contracts so it’s not like their deals were going to expire after next season, though the studio retains the right to drop them year after year.

Chord Overstreet’s exit, however, is still a go, Falchuk said. In fact, he won’t return this fall for any episodes. Falchuk said Overstreet was offered a deal to return for 10 episodes with the possibility of becoming a series regular, but Overstreet declined in favor of other opportunities.

Read more: Chord Overstreet not returning to ‘Glee’ as series regular
Lea Michele, Chris Colfer, and Cory Monteith to depart ‘Glee’ after season 3 — and Michele responds
Emmys: Chris Colfer on his nod and leaving ‘Glee’
Ryan Murphy says he’s planning for ‘Glee’ characters to graduate this season

Comments (206 total) Add your comment
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  • MJ

    Ugh, just no. As beloved as these characters may be, following them to college (or whatever Finn decides to do in life) just seems like it’ll be disastrous.

    • bruno

      this SHOW is disastrous. locking their leads into post highschool gleeness without having to actually be in the club sounds right up stupid alley, which is where the show’s been for a while now.
      overstreet at least got out while he could. granted, i don’t see a slew of opportunities headed his large lipped way, but at least he won’t have to stay on the show anymore.

      • SaraS

        I think they fired him once they saw that horrible Justin Bieber impersonation.

      • Eric P

        Murphy says “You can keep them on the show for six years and people will criticize you for not being realistic, or you can be really true to life and say when they started the show they were very clearly sophomores and they should graduate at the end of their senior year.” Since when is he worried about making this show “realistic” or “true to life”?????

      • Cher

        If your gonna hate why are you even reading this.? Smart one..

      • Benlinus

        Well they could have them repeatedly fail their senior year culminating in a long plot arc which leaves them in Special Ed with a bunch of students with Down Syndrome.

      • Cersei

        Bruno, I don’t even watch Glee, but after your comment I decided to look up who Chord Overstreet. The guy is one hot dude. Then I looked to see who criticised him. And I saw it was you! A guy! Gotta be a guy hating on a good looking guy. So either your ego is very low, or you’re definitely not a looker yourself and are envious. Why hate on someone cause they’re beautiful?

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    • Deanna

      I agree. Remember Dawson’s Creek? The college years were terrible.

      • Rielle

        yeah and that’s when the all went to college. have a weird split up of people graduating and people not graduating doesn’t usually work.

      • Emma

        Exactly. See Gossip Girl Season 4.

      • Jon

        I liked them I like college years in general

      • dee

        Hey! i like the college years too!
        We got Busy Phillips for a year.

      • Sue

        Maybe the post high school storylines will be better. They can tackle even more mature themes. And let’s be honest, this past season was kind of all over the place so new locales, new friends, new story arcs can’t hurt. Without Lea Michele and Chris Colfer, many fans won’t have a reason to watch. It was a good business decision.

      • Klee

        Saved By the Bell!

    • Dave

      The show is already disastrous so it won’t make much difference.

      • Miss Talk

        GLEE should end after the third season. For the sake of the show and the franchise. College years don’t work on TV. Exhibit Z: HellCats.

      • sassyfras

        word.

    • Chris

      More Lea!!!!!!!! I’m excited. I hope they stay in high school forever!

      • Natalie

        Ugh, she is the reason I stopped watching!! Her over the top acting and singing really grates on me. She should go back to Broadway where that overemoting fits…I don’t see her fitting in on TV and film. If they got rid of her I might watch again.

      • ki

        Obviously Rachel Berry goes over you head. Rachel is over the top. Lea is acting she doesn’t sing that way as herself. .

    • SallyinChicago

      The key words are “Lea Michele is under contract”….so they can’t fire hers and the others before the contract expires, or they have to pay her off. It’s definitely jumped the shark and the ratings will show next year.
      They’ll have to hire more “star” performers like Gwyneth Paltrow to boost the ratings.

      • yaya

        Lea Michele’s contract means nothing. These people were nobodies before this show. Everything in their contracts favors the network and the producers. They can be dumped anytime. Baiting the press with “once they graduate they’re gone” was a transparent stunt from the start, and this show is so out of tricks it’s about to collapse dead in the street

      • Eric827

        It’s common for a TV show to have an actor “under contract” in the sense that the actor is obligated to appear if he or she is needed….but if they don’t use the actor, he or she doesn’t get paid.

        If Lea Michele, Cory Monteith, and Chris Colfer had contracts where they’d be paid for the first four seasons (or longer) whether they appeared on the show or not, then the producers never would have even considered getting rid of them until their contracts were up.

      • Krissy

        Yaya, Lea Michelle was HARDLY a nobody before the show! She was starring on Broadway, not just in one show but many. She has never needed this show. (I’m not even a fan of hers, I just know the facts).

    • Ava

      Totally agree. They need to figure their **** out before they shoot their mouth off about writing characters off.

    • Jethro

      What does the plus size girl with the glasses do?

      • @jethro

        eat a lot. sleep it off, then wake up and eat some more. then eats lemons for a good hour to get that pucker face.

      • Puckleberry

        “Plus size” is an understatement.
        She is morbidly obese.
        I don’t know why she’s still in the Glee Club. She cannot sing, nor dance. And she can barely move!
        Someone once called her “curvy”. Huh? Amber Riley’s curvy. Christina Hendrick’s curvy.

    • Alan

      It was hard enough believing that 29-year old Cory Monteith was 17, but even after he graduates, we are supposed to believe that Diana Agron is currently playing a 16-year old? She looks about 34!

      • Joe

        34 and can’t act or sing. As you can tell her name is not brought up. She is gone soon s enough.

    • Sadness

      We want new blood for the Gleeks – yeah – thesefolks will be back as – flunkies. . . what a good example for the young fans. Your fav are stupid and didn’t move on with their lives. Same to the writers. MOVE ON!!!

    • KTD

      “Glee” should have adopted the “Degrassi” formula. Every season, they graduate a few seniors and introduce some freshmen. This has allowed the show to continue for decades. Finn, however, is pretty stupid. He could get left back a few times.

      • Blaine

        Look at Scrubs. Getting a new cast to mix with the old is not always a good idea.

    • Tom

      They didn’t do so great on their SAT tests, so they get held back another year. It happens all the time.

  • Jake

    Yea sure! trust me once all the characters that r graduating graduate we wont see them again and then the creators will just say the stars are busy and blame it on them or something.

  • Jo

    not surprising as they are the pet players in this series.

    • Joe

      As they should be they have the talent. And well Michele and Monteith were hired as the leads.

      • Justsayin

        @joe yes joe they have the talent, they’re all very awesome at doing karaoke..

      • Pan

        I think she was being sarcastic?

  • Hez

    What about the Sam/Mercedes story line? I was so excited for both of them!

    • Captain

      I know, I was as well. It’s nice to see her have someone and she had great chemistry with Chord. To be fair though, they wanted him back, he just didn’t want to return, which sucks cause I liked Sam. I’m still not buying that Lea, Chris and Corey are going to stay though. Ryan clearly stated they were graduating AND leaving the show and I just don’t see what stories could come from them after high school. As much as I’d like them to stay, Rachel deserves a proper send-off that’s true to her character. She would never stay in Lima, she would leave for New York the day after graduation. I can’t see her staying in town.

      • Brenda

        I was really looking forward to Sam and Mercedes relationship as well. It was the only storyline I was excited about for next season. Oh well, Sam’s leaving might finally allow me to cut the “Chord” and leave this show behind once and for all.

      • AcaseofGeo

        Uhm. Realistically I don’t see a Sam type going after a Mercedes type. His type would probably go after one of the guys and she’d be his fish fry or whatever they call them.

      • Giselle

        It would be a stretch, but instead of stunt celebrity casting such as Gwyneth Paltrow, guest stars could be the graduating seniors. As for how Rachel could feature – Nationals, anyone? If the Glee Project is the face of the new talent and type of character coming to the new Glee Club then they’re going to need all the help they can get.

      • Mimi

        I’m not sure he said they were “leaving”…he said they were “graduating”…that doesn’t mean that they can’t come back to town and to school to visit…aka some of the guest stars.

    • me

      It was unrealistic, and I hate how Ryan tries to put EVERYONE in a relationship. Most high school kids don’t get boyfriends and girlfriends. Thank God he’s gone.

    • Ian

      Um… no. Of any number of reasons Chord had for leaving the show, one might be and probably was his character’s new relationship with Mercedes. The characters weren’t at all suited to each other, and Ryan and Co. could have conceivably failed to make it good anyway. Plus, all these people claiming their new coupledom is “cute” are the same people who themselves wouldn’t want to have to kiss Amber Riley. She’s a great and talented girl, but obesity isn’t attractive.

      • Wah wah

        Gotsta agree. Throwing them together was really contrived an uninspired to me by the writers, I feel. To them, relationship equals story, and Mercedes is supposed to be different from that. And it’s not fair for Sam to have to change his standards because he’s been rejected by every pretty girl he’s gone for, and Mercedes wouldn’t date someone like him. Why make her look desperate and insecure by having her squeal over any guy who pays her attention when she’s said she doesn’t really even want a boyfriend? All it seems ike now is she’s fronting because she’s overweight. Not cool.

      • Blonde South

        I’d make out with Amber Riley and I don’t even swing that way. She’s not the unattractive kind of overweight. She owns it pretty well.

  • T

    Way to go, making it look like there wasn’t a reason for Overstreet to exit. Sounds like he was backed into a corner and had no choice – he knew his character was not welcome to work under Murphy and Co. anymore. Who would want to stick around for that? Murphy is one of the shadiest in Hollywood. So inconsistent.

    • Captain

      What? Because they didn’t immediately make him a regular he was unwanted? They had a storyline set for him and have given him consistant screentime all season (which is more than gyou can say for some cast members). What more does he want? Just because he wasn’t made a regular this year, doesn’t mean he never would have been. From the tweet he sent out at the beginning of negotiations, I’d say his mind was made up.

      • Scott

        how would you know if that tweet was sent out at “the beginning of negotiations.” don’t act like you have all this inside information when you blatantly don’t.

    • blake

      Fox fired Chord during the glee tour, remember? If FOX asked him to work again for 10 episodes, Chord is not really welcome to GLEE. Fox was forced to put him back because of his fans. It was really insuting to be axed in a show where he had worked his ass off for hours and then fired him in front of every GLEE CAST while he was on tour

  • Lola

    Of course they’re not going to let their most popular actors off the show.

  • maxie

    I’m really happy that Lea and Cory will be in Season 4 of Glee. But then I’m afraid they’re just going to break the couple up again. NOOO. I want Finn and Rachel to remain steady and in love with each other and talk about their hopes and dreams aboout their future!!!

    • me

      I agree, and then break up in college from long distance. That’s a story that’s happened time and time again, and it would be good to see.

    • M

      I’m not. Teen shows always get worse when they attempt to follow the kids after high school. Plus, the main Glee trio plus some of the other young stars are already trying to make it with movies, albums, and other projects outside of Glee, and they deserve (plus many of them have the talent) to go on to bigger (and frankly easier) things.

    • tad

      That sounds truly awful.

  • Puckleberry

    I’m loving this! And next week, we’ll have a different report, a different version…new rumors, one statement contradicting another and so on! Remember what happened last year? We’ve heard all these things about Glee Season 2 and they never came to fruition. Oh, well. As for Chord Overstreet’s departure, this means I was right: they’ll be pulling another Matt Rutherford.
    This also means, poor Mercedes won’t have her snogging scenes! Have you noticed we’ve seen practically everybody kissing except for Amber Riley’s character?

    • SNIKT!

      This. Seems we get two or three GLEE “updates” a week…and each new update contradicts the one befoer it. The actos are gone! The actors are staying! Overstreet’s not regular but he’ll be back! Overstreet’s gone for good! They’re getting new actors and characters! All the new actors and characters are canned after a few episodes! Blah blah blah.

      • Captain

        In all fairness to the CHord Overstreet thing, few of those reports came from the producers themselves. They made one statement saying “We plan to write for him, he can return if he wants to” and he said no. That’s pretty consistant with the last report they gave. That said, Ryan has an extremely short attention span and seems to change his mind at the drop of a hat which makes for incredibly inconsistant programming. Most shows have a plan for each season but his seems to change on a weekly basis.

      • L

        IKR, it’s like every week there is a new statement that contradicts the last statement from the writers of this show. This subject on who will be graduating after this season and what will happen with the characters after they graduate has already been a mess, with Ryan seeming to change his mind about it at least once a month and feeling the need to talk to the media about it every single time.

      • redwine

        I was just considering watching the show again when I heard they were getting rid of Rachel. She is one of the most unlikable characters on tv. But, if she is still there, nevermind.
        @SNKT: I love the Wolverine reference. love, love, love!

      • redwine

        *SNIKT

    • Jess

      If you check TVline’s article they say that she will have a “very supportive” boyfriend who she met over the summer.

  • Greg

    Glee is just a hot mess. Don’t the writers talk to each other. Brad even threw the reported from the Hollywood Reporter under the bus. I’m sure that will go over well.

  • tickles

    Sam was a cute kid but I had never heard of Chord Overstreet before Glee. Seems to me being offered a 10 episode deal with options for more on a hit show is a whole better than nothing.
    I imagine he can find a place on the Disney network.

    • mscisluv

      I realize that sounds like a good deal when compared with nothing, but if he wants to try to get hired on another show for the fall (since he knows he would only have 10 episodes), he needs to be consistently available. I’m sure it was a difficult decision, but it makes sense if he was offered a pilot, etc.

  • Jared

    Boo! Murphy had the right idea; keeping these characters around for six or seven years will be a big mistake. Although I do feel the show would suffer both artistically and ratings-wise from their absence, I can’t imagine the ludicrous plot twists they’re going to concoct to keep them on the show. I imagine we will suddenly discover there is a community college with a thriving performing arts department right down the road from McKinley High. I think it will ultimately be more upsetting for fans who truly love these characters for them to stick around. Murphy has said (and the writing seems to support this) that both Kurt and Rachel are not small town people. They’re the kind of people that are going to go out into the big world and really try to make something of themselves. Seeing them stuck in their crappy little town for years will be depressing.

    • Captain

      I completely agree. As much as I hate to say this, they should just end Glee at Season 3. Have some nice big fairwell arcs planned and that’s it. If they keep the originals on after graduation, the show will be a mess. If they let all of the originals go after graduation, the show will be a mess. Ending it now seems to be the only decent option but Fox would never let their cash cow get slaughtered.

      • Ava

        Captain, the show is already a mess. They should get a time machine and go back to the start of season two and learn how to write an efficient ensemble dramedy. Glee is very much an ensemble (and a large one at that) and they write terribly for it.

    • Jenny

      Have to say I agree. While I don’t know if a bunch of new characters would have gotten me to watch season 4, I would rather have the trio graduate and be gone instead trying to find ways to keep them on the show. Honestly Rachel and Kurt should head off to NY. But I also really wanted to see Finn end up some place up than Lima. He always seemed like he wanted more in life than just staying in Lima but didn’t know about how to get it or didn’t voice it all the time. I would hate to see him stuck at some community college in Lima.

  • SNIKT!

    Seems we get two or three GLEE “updates” a week…and each new update contradicts the one before it. The actos are gone! The actors are staying! Overstreet’s not a regular but he’ll be back! Overstreet’s gone for good! They’re getting new actors and characters! All the new actors and characters are canned after a few episodes! Blah blah blah.

  • Michael

    As much as I enjoy Chris Colfer, Lea Michelle, and Corey Monteith, keeping them on the show after graduating is stupid. Are we just supposed to accept that they suddenly get jobs at the school without going to college? WTF are they going to be, janitors??? Glee is setting itself up to really fail.

  • PJ

    Typical Ryan Murphy-fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants approach. And good for Chord Overstreet’s F you to the “writers”, it will probably be a good thing in the long run.

  • Andy

    Does Ryan Murphy suffer from ADD? He is going to destroy this show!

    • SaraS

      It’s obvious he’s reacting to fan reaction on sites such as this. A person in his position, with an artistic vision, should stick to that and not pay attention to fan outcry. That’s probably why Glee seems all over the place; he’s trying to please everyone.

    • Mocha

      After watching him on the Glee Project and seeing what he did to Glee’s horrendous second season, I already had very little regard for Murphy, but I’d have respected him a bit more if he’d stuck to his original decision, which was a good one. I agree, he should have stayed in line with his vision and not been so easily swayed by fan outcry. But then again, considering how awful and inconsistent Glee was this season, I shouldn’t be surprised.

      • Ash

        I’m thinking it’s probably in the actors contracts that they can’t just be written out arbitrarily. I would bet that may have been a reason behind the about face.

      • LMFAO

        There won’t even be a Glee in another year or two.

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