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Glee will ditch several of its most popular characters in the fourth season

Not long after announcing that Glee planned to abandon its proven formulas of guest stars and splashy tribute episodes, showrunner Ryan Murphy has confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter that this upcoming third season will also see the real-deal departures of stars Lea Michele, Chris Colfer, and Cory Monteith. “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 said, clearly aware that the reason most viewers tune into Glee is for the unflinching realism. Anyway, credit is due, we suppose, for Murphy trying to avoid some sort of Saved By The Bell: The New Class situation, where the departing kids are all suddenly installed as assistant principals. And in the meantime, Murphy is hoping to use this season to install various new actors that will hopefully become just as inescapable—although the bolder choice would be to slowly remove every element of Glee that made it popular in the first place, until it became a surreal show about Jane Lynch barking through a megaphone at a silent and empty hall.

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