Ashleigh Murray Is Playing Josie McCoy In a Whole Different Way for Katy Keene

A new, brighter, and less murder-y take on the Archie Comics universe is coming to TV with Katy Keene, a coming-of-age story about a group of diverse young people struggling to make it in New York. The series, which stars Lucy Hale in the title role, got a boost with Riverdale fans earlier this year when it was announced that Josie McCoy (Ashleigh Murray) would step away from Riverdale and move to its spinoff. Murray, a fan-favorite character, had been heavily featured in the show's first season, but with a huge cast and mysteries rather than high school drama driving most of the narrative, Riverdale had seen Josie fade into the background a bit in the second and third seasons.

Murray, who recently left Riverdale to go work on the spinoff ("It was pretty funny and it was definitely a great moment," she told us of the point in Riverdale when she convinced her father to let her move, "a great line, very truthful"), joined yesterday at The CW's upfront presentation in New York to discuss what's next for Josie on Katy Keene. First up: what it was like for Murray, herself a New Yorker, to be playing her most famous role to date in a new show set in New York.

"It's honestly so surreal; I love it on so many levels," Murray told "We actually get to shoot in the city where it takes place, and I'm at home. We shot on location throughout the entire pilot and every single location we shot in, I had a very visceral memory of where I was at that age, at that time, what job I had, or what audition I didn't book, and it was a blast from the past."

Being young, in New York, and trying to find your way in show business is a frequent topic of movies and TV -- and in Murray's case, it hits close to home. While she loved her time on Riverdale, she admitted that there was something appealing to playing a version of Josie McCoy who is closer to Murray's own age and experience (Katy Keene reportedly takes place five years after Riverdale).

"That's something else I'm really excited about," Murray said. "I always thought, since I was going to be an actress and I look so young, that 'Yay, I get to play young forever.' Then I realized when I got to that point that I don't really know what 16-year-olds are really that pressed about....But playing Josie in her twenties is something I can relate to, especially her trying to succeed in New York. It's her first time there, she comes from a small town, close to my background, so it's more relatable."

While Murray herself pursued acting instead of music, she always came from a musical family, and has undeniable talent in that area, as seen on Riverdale. With Katy Keene set to feature music more heavily (in the vein of Glee or Nashville), Murray said that she is looking forward to getting back into the recording studio -- something that has not happened as much in seasons two and three of Riverdale as it did the first year, when Josie and the Pussycats were still together.

"I'm very excited. We actually did a lot of musical numbers just in the pilot alone," Murray said. "I know that's a precursor of what's to come. There were a couple of original songs that I did and I think there's going to be more of it as we continue. Lots of music."


Katy Keene is coming to The CW as a midseason premiere in early 2020.