'Glee': Jennifer Lopez out this season; Neil Patrick Harris, Kristin Chenoweth could return
"J.Lo will not be on this season," executive producer and co-creator Brad Falchuk told reporters on a conference call Tuesday (April 6).
Earlier in the year, co-creator Ryan Murphy had revealed that the show was writing a role for Jennifer Lopez as a cafeteria lady, probably at McKinley High School.
Apparently, the deal hasn't happened yet, but since we know there's a second season coming, we're looking forward to see some Louboutins and catsuits being traded in for Easy Spirits and a hairnet.
In the meantime, they have a slew of other guest stars that are on board for the back nine episodes when the show returns.
Idina Menzel and Kristen Chenoweth
As we know by now, Idina Menzel will play Shelby Corcoran, the coach of rival show choir Vocal Adrenaline, and Kristin Chenoweth will return as has-been glee club member April Rhodes who never did much with her life except nurture her drinking problem.
Both Menzel and Chenoweth were original cast members of the Tony-winning musical "Wicked," playing the leads Elphaba and Glinda, respectively. Although it would have been fun for fans to see them together on the small screen, it was not meant to be.
"It didn't work for the storytelling so it wasn't necessary," said Falchuk. "It's always story first. What's the story, what's the story, what's the story? And then we go from there. When you have people like Idina and Kristin who are such mega talent stars, you have to get them the right thing. You want to really treat them right.
"Idina is incredible, and the episode with Kristin in it is maybe our best one yet," he continued. "It's called 'Home.' It's the third one back and it's so moving and hilarious. She's obviously Kristin, so you can't keep your eyes off her."
The producers love Chenoweth so much, there may be more April to come.
"You can't sorta not want to have her around as much as possible, so certainly, but haven't gotten into all that stuff yet," explained Falchuk. "We have some plans for next season."
Neil Patrick Harris and director Joss Whedon
The producers were a little less specific about Neil Patrick Harris, whom they loved working with and would be open to having return as well.
"You have talent like that, it's hard to not want them back," said Falchuk. "The guy's a freaking genius, he's awesome. Everybody loves him and working with him. He's delightful, he's easy. When we were writing the character, we were like, 'Oh my god, what if for some reason Neil gets too busy and can't do it? No one else can play this character. We'll have to rewrite the whole episode.'"
Co-creator Ian Brennan adds, "I saw him on the dailies. He was really, really good. He was really excited about what we had written for him. It was just the perfect mix. Joss Whedon of 'Buffy' and 'Dollhouse' directed that episode, and they'd worked together on 'Dr. Horrible,' so they had a great rapport."
They were also effusive about Whedon.
"Even when it's something [the director wasn't] involved in the writing of, you can feel that director in it," said Falchuk. "He was incredibly reverent and respectful of the material because he loves the show. and we were also very reverent and respectful of him because he's such a genius."
Brennan added, "He's really detail-oriented and smart too. I just noticed teeny little grace notes that he'd added to stuff that we hadn't thought of that were just fantastic ideas. I was very, very impressed with him. There's a reason why that guy is as well known and as well respected as he is."
Other guest stars
Jonathan Groff will guest star in the spring premiere, and Olivia Newton John has also signed on to make an appearance in one of the back nine episodes, but Falchuk wanted to be sure we knew of another lesser known name returning.
" Michael O'Malley will be back who plays Kurt's dad, who's honestly the biggest gift we could get," he said. "He's truly extraordinary and humanizes both those characters and what he did with Kurt's father. They've been a real grounding relationship in the show, Kurt and his dad."
As for whether or not John Barrowman, the "Torchwood" star who recently visited "Desperate Housewives," would get his wish to guest star, Brennan has disappointing news about any talks that may have happened.
"Not that I know of," he said. "What's exciting about this show [is] ... how deep a bench we have inside the show. That's what's been great to be able to find the ancillary characters like Tina and Artie. Once we get into those characters we realize, 'Wow, those are some of our best episodes.' It's not like we're dying to get guest stars because we have a pretty good cast at hand."
"Glee" returns from hiatus with all-new episodes on Tuesday, April 13.
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