Glee’s Ryan Murphy Reveals Who Is Staying On Glee Season 4

GLEE: The glee club performs in the "Goodbye" season finale episode of GLEE airing Tuesday, May 22 (9:00 - 10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. Pictured L-R: Lea Michele, Amber Riley, Chris Colfer, Jenna Ushkowitz and Kevin McHale. ©2012 Fox Broadcasting Co. CR: Adam Rose/FOX

There have been a lot of questions about exactly who, of the graduating seniors, would be coming back to Glee next season.  It was announced at the FOX upfronts on Monday  that Season 4 would function as a “show within a show” with the action split between the high school glee club members at McKinley, and graduates Kurt (Chris Colfer), Finn (Cory Monteith) and Rachel (Lea Michele) studying dramatic arts in New York City.

But what of the other 5 graduates including Mercedes (Amber Riley), Puck (Mark Salling), Santana (Naya Rivera), Mike (Harry Shrum Jr) and Quinn (Dianna Agron)?

Glee co-creator, Ryan -Murphytells the Vulture blog that everyone who wants to come back is welcome. Only,  they won’t necessarily appear in all 22 episodes.

“We had a meeting, and you know we’ve become like a family, and I said to them, ‘Anybody who wants to stay on the show will stay on the show,'” he said. To be clear, that includes McKinley staff played by Matthew Morrison, Jane Lynch, and Jayma Mays. “They’re all coming back,” Murphy continued. “Anyone who is a regular is coming back. Everyone said yes.”

At the same time, Murphy isn’t specifying how long “coming back” means for certain characters. “It doesn’t mean everyone will be doing 22 episodes, but everyone wants to stay in our family and our world,'” he said. “I wanted to make sure those actors know that if they want to have a home, they have a home. If they want to explore new and different things while also having a home, that is also an option.”

It sounds like for those who don’t become part of the NYC split narrative, their roles will be reduced to special appearances. Glee has to be careful not to bloat a cast that’s already pretty unwieldy to begin with. I have real misgivings about this complicated sounding show within a show. It’s too bad Ryan and co. couldn’t spin Kurt, Rachel and Finn off onto another series, but with Glee’s ratings down dramatically,  losing its biggest stars to a spin-off was likely not an option.

Follow Me!

mj santilli

Founder/Editor at
Founder and editor of, home of the awesomest fan community on the net. I love cheesy singing shows of all kinds, whether reality or scripted.I adore American Idol, but also love The Voice, Glee, X Factor and more!
Follow Me!

  • No Thanks

    They do need to cull down the cast and make room for new people.  But as far as the “show within a show”, it CAN be done and done well.  An example that comes to mind for me is “Malcolm In The Middle”.  They sent the eldest son away to military school and had stories about him and his classmates every week.

  • Anonymous

    This sounds really messy and doesn’t bode well for the future of the show.  I kind of think it would’ve been more successful to just have Glee: The College Years and diminish the high school part. It could still be called “Glee” because it’s how the group of friends came together. Or everyone could have just been a junior this season…

  • Sunny Mc

    The Glee cast is getting huge.  You figure they’ll have to add new kids to the Glee Club next year, and then keep up with the grads. I was thinking last night that it’s be great if they added Jessica Sanchez to the cast. She’s so cute, and we know she can belt the songs out!

  • Miz

    It sounds to me like it will be overly complicated and I fear too much time will be spent on the NY crew at the expense of the Glee club.

  • Landon Cox

     Or Hollie as another exchange student

  • shouldbedancing

    I feel sorry for the “seniors” who didn’t make the cut. They should start looking for their next big thing. And who is going to take over Glee club now? Tina? Please.

  • Frank

     Yeah Hollie could be the umpteenth exchange student. Seriously though the whole exchange student shtick is getting old. Sunshine, Rory, Hollie?

  • TT19

    Why don’t they just do a 2 year skip and have everyone trying to make it in new york or LA? 

  • Anonymous

    An example that comes to mind for me is “Malcolm In The Middle”.  They
    sent the eldest son away to military school and had stories about him
    and his classmates every week.

    I know it’s possible. The idea itself is nothing new. The difference is the Malcom in the Middle producers didn’t have a reputation for f*cking things up.  Not sure I trust Ryan Murphy to execute this ambitious idea properly. 

    Also, Malcom had a much smaller cast.  Parents, grandma and two kids at home, oldest brother off to school. Much less to manage than a dozen plus core characters.

  • No Thanks

    They might do that.  Didn’t they do that with Desperate Housewives?  A jump forward to few years.

  • Anonymous

    I was kind oh hoping Lea Michelle wouldn’t be back, she’s my least favourite character….

  • Axxxel

    Hope all seniors will appear as guest stars one way or another. Could be possible.. One or two seniors per episode…
    Then again, Ryan Murphy promised “no outside celebrity guest stars in Season 3” and who did we have ? Rachel’s dads, Mike Chang’s parents, Gloria Estefan as Santana’s mother, Puck’s father, Idina Menzel, Matt Bomer, Ricky Martin, Gloria Estefan, Hilton, Lohan, Leakes… 

    Ok maybe the parents were necessary… So I would predict an appearance of parents of Artie, Tina, Blaine… and Mercedes as visiting teacher, Finn as visiting coach, Santana as visiting girlfriend.  Much more affordable than those celebrity guest starts…

  • Axxxel

    She will not be back if Glee has found a “Broadway girl or guy” who can act and sing while emoting profusely   :-)  … Was hoping for this Lindsay girl from Glee Project season 1 though… Oh well, maybe Glee Project Season 2 will bring a new male or female Rachel.

  • Axxxel

    And when Max Adler has finished with his new role in another TV series… some Dave Karofsky haunting Kurt in New York…

  • Claire Abraham

    None of the kids staying behind in Lima are strong actors.  They moved out all the most dynamic, most interesting people.  I don’t think there’s any way that New York doesn’t dominate next year, because Finn AND Rachel AND Kurt will all be there, and Santana will not be in Lima to balance it.  Blaine’s not enough.  

  • Pretty Horsey

    I think they should leave high school setting behind and follow the seniors. They could even time jump or retcon the juniors they want to keep. They’ve come back victorious are they going to start over next season with the glee club still being losers and outcasts?

  • Axxxel

    I am not a Blaine fan, but I think it is also because the writing for Blaine was a bit off… I expected more from Big Brother and only got more interested in Blaine during “First Time”, “Dance with Somebody” with the cheating-texting problem and … eh… when he acted as “The Situation”… The latter was great !  LOL.

  • Axxxel

    Yeah, I also think that is a tough one to sell… The Glee club will be a mix of semi-confident members and losers… but then again, it could be interesting to see their struggles… We cannot simply be too attached to the graduating seniors because I don’t think Glee can afford to pay e.g. the  bonus for  a Golden Globe winner and twice Emmy nominated actor like Chris Colfer (Kurt).

  • Critique At large

    Does this mean Glee is having another season inspite of poor ratings this season? A big gamble on Fox side!

  • Anonymous

    ratings are low because people are tired of hearing the same people (Finn and Rachel). I love Kurt and the others but they didnt get much especially when it came to songs so I am looking forward to less Rachel-variety of singers are better to show all the talent and not just one person. Lea Michele is an amazing singer but she is not the only talent on the show!!

  • Camille

    i just really want naya to stay because she made the story line so exciting..