'Glee' spinoff still 'in the wind' but not the focus right now, FOX says

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glee-spinoff-tca.jpgThe controversy that erupted in recent weeks about which "Glee" characters would graduate at the end of the coming season, and whether they'd stay with the show or star in a spinoff or just disappear, took FOX Entertainment president Kevin Reilly a little bit by surprise.

"It's taken on more heat and momentum than it in fact is," Reilly said Friday (Aug. 5) at the Television Critics Association press tour. Reilly obviously has a vested interest in making the show run smoothly, but while he acknowledges that co-creator Ryan Murphy "probably regrets talking about it at that point," it's not really affecting the work on the series, which begins its third season on Sept. 20.

So what about that spinoff featuring Rachel ( Lea Michele), Finn ( Cory Monteith) and Kurt ( Chris Colfer)? It's on the back burner now, Reilly says -- but it's not necessarily a dead idea.

"The spinoff was in the wind, and is still in the wind," Reilly says. "We haven't said we're not doing it yet. We talked about it last season; Ryan and I were discussing it. I can tell you Ryan did talk to all the actors about it" -- which, depending on whose account you read, was or wasn't the case -- "and I think the public nature of it took everybody by surprise."

When the story did blow up, though, Reilly, Murphy and fellow "Glee" exec producers Brad Falchuk, Ian Brennan and Dante Di Loreto decided to pull back on the spinoff for now and keep the focus on the first half of the season (which, incidentally, Reilly says has an "incredibly clean arc" that focuses on the show's core cast).

"There will be a graduation at the end of the season, and you know the three characters who'll be graduating," Reilly says. "... The spinoff will stay in the wind, but the short answer is we collectively decided, Let's revisit that in the back half of the season, when it should be visited. We have such a focus on this first half. It got out in the middle of that and then it got a little bit crazy. Maybe some people were a little surprised by it, but this is really not, in the grand scheme of producing television, a big controversy."

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Photo/Video credit: FOX