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Interview from the July 2012 TCA event: Kevin Reilly (Fox President of Entertainment) Talks the Future of GLEE

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There is some concern about how Glee is going to pull off juggling Ohio and Rachel’s (Lea Michele) story in New York with all the subplots for the characters who graduated that Ryan Murphy has said will continue on the show.  What can you say about how that’s going to look next season, for Glee 2.0?

REILLY:  Now that I’ve read the first three scripts, I am very happy with how seamless it is.  There’s going to be thematic links between the two. 

Although we have not severed relationships with anyone, obviously we’re not going to be servicing that large a tapestry of characters.  We are adding some characters in New York.  We’ve cast two new guys already — one in New York, one in Ohio.  We have fresh faces joining Ohio, so this is the natural mirror of real life, where people graduate and new faces come in. 

But, also like real life, this is set in a small town in Ohio, with very important and close relationships.  Just as in real life, people tend to not stray too far away from that.  Some people settle down in their hometowns.  Some people go away, but they come back for holidays and reunions. 

And because we have a very good relationship with all the actors, some of whom have very vibrant careers now on the outside, the idea is to keep that relationship where it can be fluid, in terms of who is going to show up when. 

We really have a core of some of the returning characters and some of the new ones that we’ll be servicing every week, and then limited deals with some of the other actors who will be joining, here and there, throughout the season that will make for a fun surprise on some episodes. 

Clearly, we can’t be in two locations moving a huge tapestry of characters forward.  I think it’s going to be a real breath of fresh air, for the show.  I love the New York flavor that’s going to be joining, and we get that coming-of-age in a new chapter of life.  The scripts are really clean and good. 

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Will most episodes focus in Ohio, and then include New York, or is it mostly going to be shot in New York?  Where exactly will the focus be?

REILLY:  We will be in both locations, in most shows.  There’s not a rigid formula. 

When Ryan first introduced the idea of graduating some characters, we weren’t sure.  At one point, I even thought we would split the season down the middle and go from Ohio, and then do the other half of the season in New York. 

Ultimately, I don’t think that’s the way the fans are going to want to watch the show, and I think that might just be too abrupt.  Frankly, if we re-populate Ohio and then, all of a sudden, in the middle of the year, we then go to New York, or vice versa, it really could have been jarring. 

So, what Ryan said was, “Let me get in with the writing staff.  We think this is going to work, very seamlessly, back and forth.  Let us try it.”  And it is working seamlessly, back and forth. 

Some episodes may take place half and half.  The ones we’ve read so far do cut back and forth.  They have thematic linkage between the two and, because you’re following characters we already know to New York, it’s not completely like, “Where are we?  What are we doing here?”  Those characters did, in fact, graduate and are going to continue to study.  It all feels very natural, if you’ve been a fan of the show.