TCA press tour: ‘Glee’ producers have never seen ‘High School Musical’

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The producers of Fox’s much buzzed about -- and tweeted -- musical comedy ‘Glee’ said their show wasn’t inspired by the mega success of Disney Channel’s ‘High School Musical.’

In fact, most of them haven’t seen it, said co-creator and executive producer Brad Falchuk. Also, he continued, ‘Glee’ is ‘a little more edgy, a little more adult. I wouldn’t say we’re tyring to cash in on it.’


Rather, the show’s creative team is hoping to cast a wide net, inclusive of musical and non-musical fans alike. Falchuk and co-creator and executive producer Ian Brennan say they aren’t fans of the genre to begin with, and producers were adamant that theirs was not ‘a true musical’ anyway.

No bursting out into spontaneous song. That will be grounded on the stages of other performance venues.

But executive producer Dante DiLoreto, the only producer who admits to having seen ‘HSM,’ couldn’t help but add, ‘I think the world is a better place if people are singing and dancing.’

The show’s hype has been loud across the blogosphere, even while only one episode has aired. One critic asked if anyone was nervous that ‘Glee,’ about a band of high school show choir misfits, might be too good and perhaps too niche for a broadcast audience.

‘I don’t think we have that problem, I think we are for a broad audience,’ Falchuk said. ‘I’m not a big musical fan. The idea was to attract me and other categories of people. I hope we’re so good people can’t not watch.’

Actor Cory Monteith, who plays football jock turned glee clubber Finn, said shooting a musical did present its own challenges. ‘It was hard. Especially in the beginning, we were taking weeks to get some of these dance numbers, and toward the end we were taking [only] days. It’s a huge workload inside eight days to shoot an episode. Every moment we weren’t shooting, we were learning dancing routines, learning new songs or recording the songs.’

Licensing the music didn’t come cheap -- look for the soundtrack later this year -- but DiLoreto said the show’s production budget was in line with Fox’s other one-hour series. ‘Instead of smashing cars or blowing things up, we’re singing and dancing.’

Jane Lynch, who plays the glee club’s nemesis, cheerleading coach Sue, revealed she hasn’t gotten to sing in an episode yet but said if she could, she would like to do ‘Rose’s Turn’ from ‘Gypsy.’

Because of her commitment as a regular cast member on ‘Glee,’ Lynch said, she won’t be returning to Starz comedy ‘Party Down’ but added that ‘Glee’ was ‘the role of a lifetime.’ Sue’s dialogue is ‘the best, most heinous things I’ve ever said. I could not be happier.’

One reporter at the show’s TCA session wondered where Ryan Murphy, the show’s creator, has been for the last several months. Murphy’s been noticeably MIA in promoting the show since its May debut. Panelists said Murphy’s been in New York shooting the movie ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ with Julia Roberts but gave him full credit for being ‘the brain of the show.’

‘He is the DJ picking all the music. He directed three episodes. It’s his show as much as anybody else’s,’ Falchuk said.

The cast of ‘Glee’ will go on a 10-city ‘Gleek’ tour beginning Aug. 17.

— Denise Martin