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When Glee first hit Fox’s schedule back in 2009, the show was a phenomenon. At its height, it achieved well over 10 million viewers each week and was one of the highest rated programs on network TV. But behind the scenes, producer, writer and director Ryan Murphy says things were not always so phenomenal. In fact, some of the young people he was cultivating and mentoring—people like Cory Monteith—were dealing with plenty of personal problems. In a recent interview, Murphy explained what he most regrets about his time on Glee.
I was there with them all day long, and then we'd finish work and we'd go out and have fun all night, and I guess in a weird, twisted way, I was trying to relive the childhood I never had. I thought they wanted a parent, and they didn't. They didn't want me to tell them what to fucking do. They didn't want me to tell them how to treat each other or what the world was like at the end of the day. I wish I could go back and do that differently with a lot of those actors. Some of them I'm still very close to: Lea Michele, Chord Overstreet, Darren Criss — but there were some that didn't work out well, and I regret that. I guess I just wish I had been able to let them figure it out for themselves.
There was a lot of drama on the set of Glee. Cory Monteith's drug abuse and subsequent death had a big effect on much of the cast, not to mention the series. That might be a huge thing, but other news made the press, including drama between Michele and other lead Naya Rivera, which led to Rivera getting fired from the show. Clearly, there was plenty of behind-the-scenes drama that Murphy feels he did not handle well at the time as these teens and young adults were coming of age.
In the lengthy profile with THR, the prolific producer also noted that his experience on Glee is still affecting him, currently.
To this day, I'm devastated by everything that happened with that show.
Still, Murphy’s mentoring of young people didn’t turn out to be all bad. Lea Michele is on his current series, Scream Queens. Darren Criss has popped up in American Horror Story. Plus, other actors from the show have moved on to successful careers outside of the Murphy universe, including Rivera, who is on Devious Maids.
Glee only ran for six seasons on Fox and at the end of its run it had lost much of its avid viewership. Some of this may have had to do with drama on set, but some of this also had to do with the fact the original cast on Glee had graduated. Some cast members had left, other were still on the show but living separate storylines in separate locations. Less likable newbies were added to fill the gaps at McKinley High. There were lots of problems, and it wasn’t a surprise when Glee ended its run, quietly and with a shortened season, on Fox last spring. You live, you learn, and then I guess you make Scream Queens.