Let's get this straight: Three Gleeks will graduate, and a possible spin-off to Glee isn't dead yet.
Kevin Reilly, Fox's entertainment president, made attempts to set the record straight about the numerous conflicting stories about Glee lately — that creator Ryan Murphy spilled unfounded plot secrets; that actor Chris Colfer found out he, along with Lea Michele and Cory Monteith, were the ones graduating via Twitter; and that the spin-off would be scrapped.
"The spin-off was in the wind and is still is in the wind," Reilly told critics at the fall previews on Friday. "We haven't said we're not doing it. ... Ryan did talk to all the actors about it. I think the public nature of it took everybody a little by surprise. Ryan himself has said that he probably regrets kind of talking about it at that point because in the interim we had decided to really focus on this year. ... We decided, 'Let's revisit that in the back end of this year when it should be visited.'"
According to Reilly, Season 3 will reset the musical series, returning to character-driven plots and doing away with many of the gimmicks that critics have felt detract from Glee's original appeal. That's the plan... for the beginning of the season at least. "There's not going to be any big guest stars, there's not going to be any big tribute numbers," Reilly said. "We're focusing on our core characters and relationships. They have incredibly clean arcs. There will be a graduation at the end. We know the three characters that will be graduating. How that's going to play out I'm not going to say. ... Competition will be alive and well and driving to that graduation and what that means. Darren Criss is now in the show. You will have the winner of The Glee Project joining at some point down the road."
According to Reilly, it's Murphy's rather energetic and enthusiastic mind that led him to blurt out his possible ideas for the end of the season and the spin-off. "I think in the middle of Ryan's creativity, this got out and I think the second it did, all of us were just a little surprised on how it took on a life of its own," said Reilly. "This is something that was probably a two-day issue that somehow is taking on a bigger life."
As for Murphy and the other Glee producers also creating and launching the new FX drama American Horror Story this fall, Reilly doesn't feel that their second gig will hurt Glee production or storytelling. "Glee was [originally] produced by three people, written by three people," said Reilly. "This is the first year that Glee will have a staff around them and they're in a great place in their material. Of all of my concerns, that team managing two shows at once is not one of them."
In other Fox matters unrelated to Glee, Reilly was up front about having very little news to announce. Here are the highlights of what else was discussed:
American Idol - "I wanted to start with ready-made headlines for you, maybe like confirm Jennifer Lopez or something. No such luck there."
Bones - "We haven't had any discussions yet [about a Season 8]. I think the producer would like to keep it going and we'd like to keep it going. ... We're going to revisit that later on in the year. We've been pretty darn happy with the performance of Bones on Thursday night. As CSI was fading, Bones was looking as resilient as ever. That's a really valuable show for us."
House - "I can't confirm that it's in its last season. We've talked pretty publicly that there's potential for that. Hugh [Laurie] was mulling it, the producers are. ...We're going to revisit this later in the fall and decide if this is the last year on Fox or not. Universal will have the decision of whether they would like to try to keep the show going somewhere else. The producers may make that decision. But my sense is that this is also a show that wants to stay critically vibrant and go out strong and not limp along for four more years doing the vestige of what it was."
Fringe - "One of the good things about having a strong network is you can support creative shows that deserve to be on the air. These guys have been doing extraordinary work. It was really one of the great victories for us last season. We were cheering the Friday night victory for Fringe. ... I don't expect explosive growth but if Fringe can do exactly what it did last year, we're going to be very, very happy with it."
Breaking In - "We said at the upfront that we're planning to do a four-comedy block in the spring. ... I think as part of that four-comedy block it still has a shot. They've agreed to extend an option, so we've kept it alive. You know what? Stranger things have happened. We've not ordered anything right now, but who knows? Family Guy was canceled once. Seinfeld started out with four episodes, so you never know. We're going to revisit what makes up that four-comedy block a little later in the fall and then we'll officially look into Breaking In."