Could there be a major shakeup behind the scenes at Glee heading into season 5? There just might, if a new rumor is to be believed. A source told E! News that showrunner Ryan Murphy, as well as executive producers Ian Brennan and Brad Falchuk, might leave the series.

This was revealed on air, with a reporter saying, “A new story that I’m a little concerned about … I got an email from a source who says there really aren’t any plans for next season because we don’t know if the three main executive producers and creators are returning.”

The rumor was brought up while an E! News panel were discussing Heather Morris‘ pregnancy and how it might affect the show. She went on to say, “So we do know [Morris will] be a part of this season until the very end. They’re wrapping at the end of the month. Anything could happen next year, including a complete change of regime.”

If you’ve been following all the series renewals over the past several weeks like we have, you might have noticed Glee has not been picked up for season 5 yet. (This has left The Glee Project in limbo as a result, with Oxygen denying reports of a cancellation.) It’s one of only a few shows on FOX that have yet to receive a pick-up. What’s holding them up? Have negotiations hit a snag?

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Back in February, Ryan Murphy teased how he wants to change up the show for season 5. “I actually have a meeting tomorrow morning at 11 where I have to pitch out not only the end of this year but the next year. I think what I want to do — and I hope it is liked by the other people who control my paychecks — is … something that we’ve never done before.” Just days later, he elaborated a little further, saying, “I would really like at one point for a huge chunk of them to stay in one location, which we’ll probably do next year. We just started to talk about that.”

Maybe the network isn’t too keen on his plans for next season. There could be a back and forth where Murphy has to compromise in order for FOX to sign off on it. But if these rumors are true, is this really a good idea? And can the show survive? I say no to both.

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For one, if it weren’t for Ryan Murphy and Co., Glee wouldn’t be the hit it has become. “Don’t Stop Believin'” helped the series tremendously. And fans wouldn’t be rooting for such compelling characters like Kurt, Blaine, Santana and all the rest. Yes, we all love to criticize certain elements of the show — even the most die-hard fans know Glee hasn’t been perfect. But it’s those moments of brilliance that pull us in week after week. And that’s all because of the showrunner.

Some might think a new person in charge could help to reinvigorate Glee. Murphy has already proven this season that he’s able to change up the format (by going back and forth between Ohio and New York) without losing quality or creativity. At this point, if that can’t bring back viewers who have abandoned the show over the years, then nothing really will. So to me, it seems the network needs to make sure Murphy stays on board or they should start planning for the end of the series (which I doubt they want to). One solution might be to strike a deal with him that season 5 will be the final season so they can go out on top.

The rumor of his departure might just be a negotiating tactic on the part of Murphy while he’s in talks with the network to continue the show. If FOX sees that he’s willing to leave, maybe they’ll realize what a mistake it would be to let him go. And as long as sales for music downloads continue, they’ll want to keep renewing Glee. But without the creator around, will the remaining fans realize everything’s going downhill and decide to tune out as well? That’s something the network and executives need to think about.

Ryan Murphy has many other shows he’s working on. There’s American Horror Story and The New Normal. And he’s also shopping around a mature series about human sexuality and relationships. So he’s set, both financially and creatively, no matter what he decides to do. It’s the future of Glee, though, that we all need to worry about. And for the show to survive, FOX and Murphy need to come to an agreement.

What do you think? Is there merit to the rumor? Can Glee survive without Murphy, Brennan and Falchuk? And if negotiations are really going as badly as the rumor leads us to believe, should FOX announce that season 5 is the last and provide a fitting end for fans?

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(Image courtesy of FOX)

Jeff Dodge

Staff Writer, BuddyTV

Jeff Dodge, a graduate of Western Washington University, has been a TV news editor for many years and has had the chance to interview multiple reality show stars, including Randy Jackson, Nick Cannon, Heidi Klum, Mel B and John Cena.