How to fight your internal show wars out in the open for God, the media, the internet, and everyone to see
Trying to figure out a few things that might be going on, but it’s just a totally general guess at this point. Full articles below the cut.
THE NETWORK’S SIDE OF THE STORY
Thursday, July 28, 2011 3:34 EDT (Eastern Daylight Time)
The Daily Beast: Inside the ‘Glee’ Controversy—When executive producer Ryan Murphy recently declared three ‘Glee’ lead actors would be leaving the show, there was hell to pay. The Daily Beast examines the public fallout.
The primary sources quotes are the chairman of 20th Century Fox TV and “anonymous sources.” Ryan Murphy declined to be interviewed for this article.
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RYAN MURPHY’S RESPONSE, FOUR HOURS LATER
Thursday, July 28, 2011 4:45 PDT (Pacific Daylight Time) (7:45 EDT):
Clearly, he did not want to just put his head down and stop talking for a minute. Instead, he comes across as throwing a hissy fit, threatening to punish the network, the actors, and the fans by denying them a spin-off. But it is in keeping enough with the article above to allow the controversy to die down if something else new doesn’t come along.
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So what is going on?
Much is still as confusing as hell. However:
* Both articles should be read through a major BS lens—the first is the network trying to clamp down on Ryan; the second is Ryan firing back and making it look like the world has done him wrong. Especially take the comments by the “anonymous sources close to the set” with a grain of salt, because they are so easy to fabricate and so hard to pin down.
* That being said, note how the anonymous source in the Daily Beast article brings up the issue of cast contract re-negotiations and better paying salaries, etc. This brings the contracts/pay issue for the cast front and center in the public eye.
* The network is majorly pissed at Ryan, and is advising him to shut up and work on the show. Ryan is like “Baby” from Dirty Dancing—he won’t let anyone put him in a corner.
* Ryan appears to be pretty pissed off at Chris Colfer for making that comment during his live July 14 Emmy nomination interview. It was a bad call on Chris’s part—not professional—and it was the catalyst that made the story go from a shocking creative decision on the part of the show creators to a huge story that “the creators are mistreating the actors,” which is how story blew up in the media and among fans. Still, Ryan Murphy is responding just as unprofessionally by dissing his talent here, like he already dissed Cory in the THR interview of July 13.
* Clearly Lea Michele is still in his good books. She tweeted ambiguously and appropriately on July 13 after Ryan’s THR interview was published; her tweets can easily be read to support Ryan’s assertions that the actors knew of the spin-off in the works, or that she simply knew they’d be graduating and it would make for a great season:
TWITTER FOR MSLEAMICHELE, JULY 13:
msleamichele Lea Michele We always knew we’d graduate in real time. It’s all part of the plan and it’s all good! It’s going to make Season 3 amazing!!!
msleamichele Lea Michele To Gleeks everywhere, you’re in my heart now and forever. Love u all!!! This is just the beginning!!
NETWORK SIDE OF THE STORY
The Daily Beast: Inside the ‘Glee’ Controversy—When executive producer Ryan Murphy recently declared three ‘Glee’ lead actors would be leaving the show, there was hell to pay. The Daily Beast examines the public fallout.
Someone on Glee might need to sing “Jesus Take the Wheel” soon.
The Fox musical comedy and national phenomenon is days from starting production on its third season, but behind the scenes there’s already been plenty of drama. While the Glee cast spent some of the summer touring 18 U.S. cities, the U.K., and Ireland, their bosses have been issuing conflicting reports to the press about the status of their roles on the show and fighting with each other over those accounts.
None of the off-camera angst may matter in the end to the 10 million people who tune in every week to watch their favorite characters sing, dance, and get into all kinds of teenage trouble. But it does call into question whether the TV show that gave a much-needed boost to the music industry is showing some signs of internal trouble at a critical time in its lifespan.
Glee grew into a bona fide hit in its first season, quickly becoming a cultural darling as well as an award-winning critical success. In 2010, the series was the No. 1 TV franchise on DVD and, so far, has sold more than 10.5 million albums and 33.6 million downloads worldwide. But it ended its sophomore year on a down note with a dip in the ratings after a very strong start in the fall and some critical and fan backlash over its creatively uneven season.
Realizing that its viewers want more character-driven stories and that the show has been more focused on the music, Glee branched out this summer and hired six writers to help co-creators and executive producers Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk, and Ian Brennan, who had written all of the episodes in the first two seasons. The new scribes include Allison Adler (Chuck) as a coexecutive producer, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (Big Love) as a coproducer, and Marti Noxon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Mad Men) and MadTV writer and actor Michael Hitchcock as consulting producers. In an interview in June, Murphy said Glee will scale back musically this season, doing only four numbers per episode instead of six, and not producing any musical tributes to have more time to develop the characters.
But on July 13, Murphy set off an Internet and internal frenzy when he told The Hollywood Reporterthat not only will the show’s three lead characters graduate this year, but the actors who play them—Lea Michele, Cory Monteith, and Chris Colfer—will be leaving the show. Set in an Ohio high school, Glee follows the lives of more than a dozen students who turn to show choir as a way of fitting in and expressing themselves. At the end of the second season, Rachel (Michele) and Finn (Monteith) discussed their graduation “a whole year away.”
Kevin Winter / Getty Images
Murphy’s announcement about the actors took everyone by surprise—including his bosses at Fox and Twentieth-Century Fox TV, his fellow writers, and the actors, who were on hiatus. Although internally there had been conversations about which characters might graduate and the possibility of a spinoff for some of them, no one expected Murphy to make announcement in the press about a fourth season that has not yet been ordered by the network. Additionally, Murphy said in the interview that he had spoken to Michele and Colfer about his plans, but the 21-year-old Golden Globe winner disputed that claim the next day while doing interviews after his second Emmy nomination.
“I didn’t necessarily know that it was going to be our last season next year,” Colfer said. “I knew something like that was coming up eventually. I mean, we can’t be there forever.” A source close to Colfer told The Daily Beastthis weekthat the actor was initially “shocked” to learn the news on Twitter, but he received a phone call from Fox that morning that reassured him.
“I know that Ryan’s used scare tactics in the past to keep the actors in line and when this came out, I wondered if this might be a scare tactic to scare them into thinking if we’re going to let them go, we might get them to renegotiate for less,” the source said. “When you have a show that goes from being ‘let’s see what happens’ to being a national phenomenon, you know that if you’re going to keep those actors, you’re going to have to pay them what they’re worth. They may have been nobodies when they started that show, but they’re certainly not nobodies now. And they work harder than any cast out there and are the least paid at what they do. They’ve become cash cows for Fox.”
In the Hollywood Reporter interview, Murphy said he had not spoken to Monteith about his plans “but I presume he knows.” Two sources connected to Glee told The Daily Beast that Murphy’s relationship with Monteith has inexplicably soured.
“As far as anyone can tell, Cory’s always been very, very affable and a team player,” said a source close to the show source who requested anonymity. “We’re not sure what created the tension … 20th wasn’t particularly happy in the aftermath of what Ryan said in that interview. It was a point of contention internally. Everyone here was pretty much caught off guard.”
Monteith’s publicist said the actor is on vacation and unavailable, but she refuted the idea that Monteith is being mistreated. “Cory has wonderful relationships with the entire Glee team.”
Murphy declined to be interviewed for this article. Twentieth Century Fox TV chairman Dana Walden told The Daily Beast that she wasn’t upset with Murphy over his statements in the interview, but she did discuss it with him. In that conversation, Walden, who heads the studio that produces Glee, reminded Murphy that talk of a spinoff when there is no deal and he himself doesn’t know if he wants to add another show to his workload is premature. (Murphy and Falchuk have a new drama, American Horror Story, that premieres in October on FX.)
“Personally, what I thought in response to the article was that the fanbase, because they didn’t have specific information about the spinoff, they were going to be concerned about losing characters they love,” Walden said. “It wasn’t his intention to say they were going away from the Glee franchise. I have many conversations with Ryan … If he wanted to get rid of a major character, we would not be surprised by reading about it. If you can imagine a moment in your life where you either misspeak or say too much and the repercussions are that thousands of people instantly respond full of emotion, and then the actors respond in their own way because they don’t know what’s going on at that moment—that’s what it was like.”
Then it got worse.
At a Glee panel at Comic Con in San Diego last weekend to promote the upcoming season, as well as the movie, GLEE LIVE! 3D!, which hits theaters Aug. 12 for a limited run, Falchuk put his foot in his mouth. When asked about the three fan favorites leaving the show, Falchuk first blamed it on The Hollywood Reporter, saying he had no idea where the writer got her information. Later, he backpedaled and said that just because characters graduate does not mean they will no longer be a part of the series. Falchuk also said that producers were now leaning against a spinoff. Murphy did not attend the event.
“Why Brad suggested it was the reporter, I really can’t answer that,” Walden said. “But he’s very well-meaning. Ryan and Brad did not intend to conflict with each other. When Ryan’s excited about something, he talks about it. There are some times when I wish Ryan would keep something to himself, and then, in a timely manner, we can announce something. But he’s excited, and it’s on his mind, and it creatively keeps him going to talk about it.
“Sometimes Ryan does intend to make news and he does intend to say things that are controversial and thought he was, I believe, providing The Hollywood Reporter with a piece of information about these characters that would be exciting and maybe mysterious or curious,” she said. “He certainly never meant to say these characters are leaving forever. There would be no benefit in that for him, and that’s what Brad went to Comic Con to try to address. He wanted to reassure the fans that it’s not their intention to just dispense with characters that viewers have grown attached to and are invested in.”
But Falchuk’s misstep at Comic Con drew plenty of criticism from the press, which had already taken Murphy to task for telling The Hollywood Reporter that his stars would be leaving the show—before telling them.
“This is all a very touchy subject now,” the show source said. “It seemed like the idea was to do some fan damage control at ComicCon but it doesn’t seem to have been planned well or discussed ahead of time with Ryan.”
Sources said that there has been tension this week between Murphy and Falchuk over these incidents.
Walden downplayed any behind-the-scenes friction, saying Murphy and Falchuk have been longtime partners and friends and they are of one mind when it comes to the creative vision of the show.
“Whether or not Brad handled that exact question at ComicCon in the exact right way or Ryan handled the interview with The Hollywood Reporter in exactly the right way, probably not,” she said. “But none of us under that level of scrutiny and pressure and constant thirst for information, I don’t think any of us would be able to conduct the number of interviews and conversations with fans and not at some point create controversy.”
Known as one of the most press-friendly producers in TV, Murphy just wants to “put his head down and do the work now,” Walden said.
“I don’t think Ryan’s trying to hide but I do think he’s finding himself in a situation where everything he says has the potential to create so much controversy that I think he just got into the mode, ‘Maybe I should just stop talking for a minute.’”
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RYAN MURPHY’S SIDE OF THE STORY
| Thursday July 28, 2011 @ 4:45pm PDT
Journalist Allison Hope Weiner is a special correspondent to Deadline and files this exclusive breaking news that executive producer Ryan Murphy stopped work on a Glee post-high school spinoff after 3 of the show’s stars feigned ignorance over his plans to have them leave the original series at the end of Season 4 and star in the series. We’ll be posting Weiner’s full interview with Murphy shortly:
Glee Executive Producer Ryan Murphy told me in an exclusive Deadline interview that up until a few weeks ago he was working on a planned scripted hourlong spin-off to Glee. But after several of the show’s stars claimed surprise at Murphy’s announcement that this year would be their last on the first series, he opted to put the new show on hold. Murphy told Deadline that as early as March of this year, he talked to Glee stars Lea Michele, Chris Colfer, and Cory Monteith about a possible spin-off in which their characters would graduate from high school and go on to college at NYC’s Juilliard which he called. Murphy said he opted to include the actors in the plans for a spin-off because he wanted their input on how they saw their characters changing and because he wanted to know whether they’d be willing to relocate to New York to film the series. Here’s what he says happened:
Allison Hope Weiner: So what is accurate and inaccurate about Lea Michele, Chris Colfer, and Cory Monteith staying, leaving, what they claim, and what you told them?
Ryan Murphy: I said two things in an interview: I said, yes, they are graduating and they will not be back on the show for Season Four. And when I did that interview, what was happening was we were asked to investigate doing a spin-off and it was a spin-off specifically for three of them, Chris, Cory and Lea. In March, Brad Falchuk and I started talking to all three of those actors about it because you can’t make people do spin-offs. So, we went to them and asked, ‘What do you think about this? Are you interested? If you are interested, what would you want your character to do? Where do you think we should shoot it?’ So, it was a discussion with all three of those actors about it. At the time, all three of them expressed interest. ‘Yeah, that sounds good. It’s good to graduate. It’s good to grow the characters. It’s good to not have to sit in that choir room. It’s good to sort of expand and continue the evolution of these people.’ They were involved in the process for 3 to 4 months to the point where we were even talking about cities and relocations and we called Julliard and what would that mean and how would we do it. So, for any of those actors to say, ‘I found out that I was fired off the show from Twitter,’ is absolutely 100% not true. None of them were fired. It was never about that. We were going to do a spin-off where the three of them were going to go on. They all knew what was happening, they all had approved it, they all said they wanted to do it. Some of them had different caveats. Some of them, to be honest, were not thrilled about moving to a different city. Some had families here and some had families elsewhere. I feel sensitive about that. So then what happened was it blew up and a lot of articles were written about it. Some people were writing they’re not on the show so that means they must be fired. Well, no. That was 100% incorrect.
Weiner: How did it get so wrong?
Murphy: I think that some of those actors’ representatives spun it in a certain way, to be quite honest, I don’t understand. We weren’t allowed to talk about a spin-off. It was too premature. We didn’t want to do it then. The idea was to do it this fall when Glee gets back on the air. Then, to pick up and read the actors saying, “We found out we were fired from Twitter.” All of us, the studio, the network, were like, ‘OK, that isn’t exactly cool,’ because we involved all three of them in that decision. So then what happened is that we decided, ‘OK, let’s not do it.’ So that’s where we are today. Maybe we’ll talk about it in April or May, but for now let’s just concentrate on making Season 3 the best that we can do. When I say they’re seniors and they’re not coming back to the show, what I did not say is they’re not coming back to the show because there will be another show. What Brad [Falchuk] said this weekend at Comic-Con is now correct: they’re graduating. What we wanted is to get people away from this idea that the actors were fired which is ludicrous. Nobody was fired. They were talked to for months about the show.
Weiner: Do you think the actors were trying to position themselves for pay increases for a possible sequel?
Murphy: No, it wasn’t even to that point. We wanted to get those actors on the same page creatively. If they all agreed creatively, we would then move forward. We don’t have a deal with the network. 20th TV doesn’t have a deal with the network. I think what happened is Chris Colfer did an interview and the timing probably was a little bit unfortunate. I think that he was getting a lot of calls with people saying, ‘You’re fired. You’re fired.’ And all of them knew they weren’t fired, but it was an awful thing to read. And I felt for them. And they couldn’t come out and say, ‘No, we weren’t fired. We’re talking about a spin-off.’ Because we told them not to. And this has blown up. So now we’re not doing the spin-off. It’s not my call. Those actors have a contract for seven years. So just because they’re graduating and so many of them are beloved, if they don’t go to New York, maybe they’ll do something else. We haven’t even thought of that.
Weiner: So is anyone getting things ready for a spin-off?
Murphy: We were. Not now.
Weiner: You’re just putting it on hold in terms of sending them to a place like Julliard?
Murphy: That was the original place. That was what [last season’s] whole New York Episode was about, the finale. But to be honest, since then because of the press and because of the perception and because Brad and I have had another show picked up, we have simply stopped with everyone’s understanding. You know, I had dinner with Lea last night where we talked about it. We don’t know what we’re going to do. We were going to start talking about it in September and now we’re not. We’re going to talk about it in April. The thing that I really wanted to reiterate was that no one was ever going to be fired. And the actors were very involved in the idea. Cory was discussed. Chris was discussed. We talked to Naya. We talked to the kids. And I think that the media has glommed on to this idea that we were graduating them and firing them and bringing in like Glee Project kids.
Weiner: I don’t think that’s fair about the media. These kids said things.
Murphy: Maybe they did. If they did, I think that I can say on behalf on Brad and myself that if they tried to spin it that they were under the thumb of the evil showrunners who were trying to manipulate them, I say, ‘Well, I’m sorry about that. They know that’s not true.’ But I don’t think that they think that. I don’t think Chris and Corey and Lea think that. I think it was a story that, because the truth couldn’t come out, blossomed into a thing. I’ve learned a lesson from this experience. I’ve learned to really really monitor what I say. Before I didn’t do that. My bad. Stupid. Particularly what has happened with Glee. I just read an article that Glee is one of the most discussed shows on the Internet between the blogs and the recap. Fans are excited. If I don’t keep them excited and involved, that’s my job. Glee is not Super 8 trying to keep something secret. The monster here was the spin-off and now it’s enough.
Weiner: I want to be clear about this: it’s still going forward or it’s not?
Murphy: We were actively talking to actors, we were actively writing, we were actively getting ready to pitch. OK, here’s the three actors, and they want to do it, so here’s the story for them. Now that that has collapsed. We’re not talking about it, we’re not pitching it. We’re not doing anything for the next several months except for this third season. I would prefer and I know Brad would prefer and I think the actors will prefer to roll up our sleeves and do a really good season and if there is a spin-off, talk about it in April. Could we do a spin-off? To be quite honest with you, maybe. Some of the actors that we discussed doing spin-offs do not want to do a spin-off. It’s hard to do a spin-off on a show where an actor says no. And if there’s no spin-off, then we’ll announce that there’s not. But as of now, I can tell you I’m not working on it.
Posted on Friday, July 29 2011. Tagged with: reposting because somehow my original post disappeared from under the headline.ryan murphycory monteithlea michelechris colfergleeglee season 3glee season 4glee spin-offsorry for the repeat in people’s dashes