Glee co-creator Ryan Murphy is sharing new context about how the show handled the sudden death of series star Cory Monteith. The Fox musical dramedy, which ran from 2009 to 2015, paid tribute to Monteith and his character, Finn Hudson, in the Season 5 episode "The Quarterback." The 2013 episode aired just a matter of months after Monteith tragically died of a heroin and alcohol overdose in the summer of 2013 — and according to Murphy, those circumstances have made him look at the episode, and the rest of the series, very differently. In a recent appearance on the And That's What You REALLY Missed podcast, Murphy revealed that he would have chosen to have the show take a lengthy hiatus following Monteith's death, instead of having the tribute episode happen "way too soon."
"I would not have done that [episode] now. I just would not have done it," Murphy revealed. "I felt like it was way too raw and way too soon. But this is what happened, so, Cory died, and the months leading up to that were very fraught and emotional and difficult to love someone -- and I had no idea that he had a drug problem. I was naive. I didn't know. And I was the person who had to lead the intervention, not knowing what to do, or what to say, I was just like, desperate for him to live. When he passed, there was a decision that we had to make about, do we cancel the show, or do we go on? And it was a difficult decision, and I had a conversation with Lea (Michele) about it, because she was dating Cory and was very involved in the thing, and it was like, 'Well, what do you want to do?'"
"If I could do it all over again, knowing now what I do know, I probably would've said, you know what, we're gonna take a year off and we're gonna check in and see how is everybody -- even six months," Murphy said. "I remember everybody had time off after he died, I remember we kept moving the shooting date, but the world was a different place then, and everybody who were our bosses had great empathy. None of us know what to do. None of us knew how to handle it. None of us knew how to pay tribute to him. None of us knew what to do with the business, but all of us did know that when that happened, I think our hearts all kind of broke and we were kind of done."
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