Cory Monteith, Matthew Morrison
Is the music about to stop for Glee?
Fox Entertainment President Kevin Reilly told reporters at the Television Critics Association fall TV previews Thursday that the series could very likely end following its already ordered sixth season. (Season 5 premieres on Thursday, Sept. 26 at 9/8c on Fox.)
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"I would not anticipate it goes on," Reilly said. "Never say never, but there's two very clear arcs to get to there and conclude. If we discover a new crop of kids and there's some breakout, who knows? But right now, it's being treated as [ending after] two seasons."
The show's upcoming fifth season will first have the tough task of tackling the death of star Cory Monteith, who died on July 13 from a toxic mixture of drugs, including heroin and alcohol. Following two "celebratory" Beatles-themed episodes, the third episode of Season 5 will be a tribute to Monteith's character.
Although Reilly said the episode will both write Finn out of the series and "deal directly with the drug abuse," he wouldn't confirm that Finn will die from an overdose. (Co-creator Ryan Murphy is producing a series of PSAs that will air during the episode, and all proceeds from music sales for the episode will be used to launch a fund in Monteith's name.)
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"Cory was a big, open wonderful life force," Reilly said of the actor. "Everybody loved him."
Other highlights from Reilly's executive session:
Idol chatter: Reilly confirmed that Keith Urban will be returning to the judges' panel for American Idol's upcoming season. "He's a really funny guy," Reilly said. "I don't think he got a chance to let his personality shine through." Reilly also confirmed that Jennifer Lopez has been approached to return to the show, but said "there is no deal with her or anybody else." Meanwhile, he touted the "dynamic ideas" the new producers have to change the show's format, particularly the middle rounds between the auditions and the live rounds.
Building Friday night: "Friday is one of the problems we've created for ourselves," Reilly said, which is why he plans to program quality first-run shows, including some of the network's new comedy offerings. Reilly said he hopes moving Bones is the key to unlocking the night. "We've scheduled Bones everywhere," he said. "[The show] has loyal fans who follow it wherever it goes. We're not putting the show out to stud. It's a quality show with a really passionate audience that's going to help us build Friday night."
X marks the spot? Although Reilly seemed to distance himself from the notion that X Factor's first two judging panels were a problem, he thinks that putting Kelly Rowland and Paulina Rubio alongside Simon Cowell and Demi Lovato is the ticket. "You're trying to find good chemistry," Reilly says. "Demi was a great piece of the puzzle last year."
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Another day, another adventure: Reilly said he was "heartened by the amount of equity" left in 24, which will return to Fox in May as a 12-episode limited series. He said the writers have a "new vibrancy" after taking a few years away from Jack Bauer's adventures. "They have a great idea," Reilly said of the new project, noting it will have "an international setting."
Super adorkable: Explaining Fox's decision to put New Girl in the post-Super Bowl slot, Reilly said, "We're still in building mode with New Girl. We think it has a long life ahead of it."
Bad Dads? When some critics questioned Reilly about the quality of the upcoming Seth MacFarlane-produced comedy, he cautioned viewers to not make up their mind based on the pilot. He said, as is the case with many sitcoms, the jokes haven't been fully calibrated. (He actually read several critical pans of another comedy's pilot, before ultimately revealing it to be mega-hit The Big Bang Theory.) "We want to get back in the multi-cam sitcom business," he said. "I think that sitcoms tend to stick out a little bit more and get pounced on early." As for some of the particular complaints about the show's treatment of women and ethnic characters, Reilly said the writers are "equal-opportunity" offenders, but that the show will have to earn the right to make those jokes. "I think the show is going to get richer and better," Reilly said. "I'm not telling people to deal with offensive things week in and week out. ... I think that the audience will let us know and the ratings will let us know. It was a very high-testing pilot."