"Glee" is going to write the late Cory Monteith's character Finn Hudson out of the show in the third episode of the show's upcoming Season 5, Fox entertainment president Kevin Reilly announced at the Television Critics Association 2013 Summer Press Tour. Reilly also revealed that "Glee" is unlikely to continue past the show's next two seasons.
The farewell episode will deal directly with how Cory Monteith died, although Reilly didn't specifically say the character will die of an overdose.
"The third episode will deal with the Finn Hudson character being written out of the show," Reilly said. "I can’t speak to it yet because, frankly, the guys are still breaking it. What I will tell you is that episode will deal directly with the incidents involved in Cory’s passing and the drug abuse in particular. Ryan himself is going to shoot some PSAs with the cast, in which -- as cast members, as friends of Cory’s -- they’re going to speak directly to the audience. I think they’re going to be very, very impactful."
Reilly added Lea Michele, Monteith's on and off screen girlfriend, has been "the most extraordinary human being and a pillar of strength throughout all this -- she was the first one to say, “I want to get back to work.”
The episode may feature old footage of Monteith, Reilly reported. "It's a possibility because we do have some of that footage, but I can't speak to it because Ryan and the guys are working through it right now," he said.
While Reilly said "Glee" was likely to end after Season 6, he said that it could possibly last longer, but only if the show were to discover a new cast.
Fox pushed the premiere of "Glee" back a week to Thursday, Sept. 26 in the wake of Monteith's death. The first two episodes of "Glee" Season 5 will be Beatles themed and will be very "celebratory." "It's a little difficult to come out of the gate right away then have to recover. We'll have the Cory episode, then we'll go on hiatus for three weeks for the World Series, and that gives us a natural break to reset." Music sales from the episode will go into a fund in Monteith's name.
"You see some people struggling with addiction, and it’s clear why. They’re very easily put into a category: 'Oh, he was dark,' 'Oh, she was always a partier.' Cory was a big, open, wonderful life force. He was not a problem," Reilly said. "Everybody loved him; he didn’t look like that; he looked straight as an arrow. He was very open about his past, not as open about it in the present. And nobody was shocked, but everybody was ultimately shocked, because it was an accident. It was not an intentional thing. It was an accident that happened to somebody struggling with an addiction. And I think that’s hopefully what can come of this -- illuminating that particular kind of addiction. So that’s what Ryan will be doing in the show."
"Glee" Season 5 premieres Thursday, Sept. 26 at 9 p.m. ET on Fox.