TCA Press Tour: Ryan Murphy fuels our ‘Glee’ fever

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What would Fox’s big day on the press tour be without its massively successful hit “Glee”?Instead of a love fest with the cast members — who we hope are taking a great rest after a whirlwind of a first season, but we know that’s not true — we got the background players who make the show what it is.

Ryan Murphy & Co. (which include co-creator and scribe Ian Brennan, executive producer Dante Di Loreto, music producer Adam Anders, choreographer Zach Woodlee and costume designer Lou Eyrich) were on hand to dish behind-the-scenes details and of course share secrets about the second season.

As reporters sipped ‘Glee’ packaged bottles of soda “for the pop star in all of us,” the crew — sans the cast — offered gems to fuel the anticipation for the show’s return, as if it wasn’t there. Here are some of our favorite deets:

1. On the show’s lifespan: Murphy admits the writers haven’t quite thought about that.


“We obviously have to deal with the cast and the show that we hope goes on for years. We’ve sort of mapped out the first four years with this original cast,” he said before joking that Brittney will just flunk every year. “The thing about the show is you have set competitions that are true. There are sectionals and nationals, [but we also] want to go to Copenhagen or Moscow for international competitions.”

2. Weekly themes are there to stay: All of the episodes will have a central theme, much like they did in the first season. Murphy confirmed the first episode back will be called “Auditions,” based on the notion that everyday life — particularly high school — is an audition. The third episode will be about faith, with the kids talking about what God means to them. It doesn’t take rocket science to know this will be the episode that Murphy teased at Comic Con, where Kurt will escort Mercedes to her church.

3. ‘Britney, Britney, Britney’: As you all know there will be a Britney Spears episode, ‘Britney, Britney, Britney’ (another Comic Con dish). Murphy said the tribute episode will be an unconventional one, compared to the Madonna and Gaga fests. Matthew Morrison has previously said in interviews that he hates the idea of doing a Spears episode, so Murphy used that as the part of the plot where Schue will continuously deny the kids they are doing a tribute to the pop princess.

It won’t be the sole tribute episode next season. Murphy & Co. are in negotiations with a “big” pop artist which will be the episode in the highly coveted post-Super Bowl slot.

4. Sir Paul goes ‘Gleek’: Murphy got a bit of a surprise recently when a mix tape from the one and only Paul McCartney made it his way.

“It just sort of came out of the blue. It said, ‘Hi Ryan I’d hope you’d considered these songs for Glee,” he said of the two-disc mix tape. “I’ve heard he’s a fan of the show. I was gobsmacked, I love this guy. Of course we’re going to do something.”

5. The kids flex their songwriting skills: One question that has continued to plague Murphy is whether the kids would take on original music — and they will. In the second half of the season Murphy said he plans on the kids taking on their own lyrics.

“I think it has to be organic,” he said. “It wouldn’t work [before] if they just broke out and started singing their own songs. You wouldn’t get it. I think it has to be an assignment.”

6. About that merchandise – there is lots of it, lots: With greeting cards, video games and a clothing line on the horizon is there anything the gang would say no to? Apparently so.

“I’m very proud of the merchandise that we have. For every two things I accept, I turn down 10,” Murphy said about the oodles of branded merch hitting stores. “We clearly did not write them — we don’t have the time. We’re going to have Jane Lynch’s character write her own autobiography [and of course cross promote it]. That’s an example of a book we’d do together.”

For “Glee The Beginning,” which is in stores Tuesday, here is a teaser, the opening line of the book:

“Rachel Berry paused outside the door to Principal Figgins’s office just long enough to straighten her kneesocks and smooth down the sides of her corduroy skirt.”

7. No need to save up for soundtracks: After releasing a whopping five soundtracks (three albums and two EPs), Murphy promises they will scale it down.

“This year we will do less. We’re doing an Christmas episode with Susan Boyle, but I don’t think it will be separate CD,” he said. “We’re going to probably do an EP for the Super Bowl episode, like we did for Madonna.”

Murphy said he hopes to get the soundtracks down to two. But just in case, put a little money in your iTunes account ... just to be on the safe side.

Gleeks, are you ready?

Gerrick D. Kennedy

Photo credit: Fox.


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