Thursday, April 08, 2010

Forced 'Glee'?

While the "Glee" gang was all smiles at the White House and on the set of Oprah in recent days, I have learned EXCLUSIVELY from a source in La-La-Land that all is not so gleeful at William McKinley High School. According to my snitch -- a former cohort of series creator Ryan Murphy who stopped working with him because "life's too short" -- the cast has sent an angry letter to Murphy saying that they are being "worked too hard" and that the situation is becoming untenable. While it may seem with such a huge ensemble cast no single person would be forced to work that much -- as opposed to, say, a Cybill Shepherd when she was "Moonlighting" and was in virtually every scene -- the actors state in the letter that when they are not filming the show, they are in constant rehearsals for dances and songs (the show's music is making a killing for Fox on iTunes), making countless personal appearances (Lea Michele is a ubiquitous presence at all things theater), working on the reality show to find the newest cast member, plus gearing up for a grueling tour, which is complicated by the fact that only Lea Michele and Amber Riley are actually capable of singing live at a performance-caliber level.

I'm told Murphy was irritated and dismissive of the cast's concerns, telling them: "I report to Fox, you report to me" and this is the schedule Fox has set, so "I don't want to hear it."

Yikes. Sounds like someone graduated from the Sue Sylvester School of Diplomacy to me. (Where's Mr. Schuester when you need him?) Whether this is just a ploy for more money or the cast truly is being overworked remains to be seen. But it took Glenn Gordon Caron 20 years to begrudgingly admit that forcing Cybill Shepherd to work till 2 a.m. and making her return to the make-up chair at 5 was unreasonable, so it's doubtful the truth will be known anytime soon. But it's awfully early in the game for this kind of drama -- Season 1 isn't even over yet.


Anonymous said...

I'm not surprised at all. I was a little shocked at the announcement of the "tour" and chalked it up to a lot of TV newbies just wanting to keep their bosses happy. It's your hiatus... take a f**ing break. (Good for Matt Morrison not signing on to do the tour.)

I hope they're all getting paid a lot... knowing how the first several years of TV shows work, they're not getting paid NEARLY enough for the amount of work they put in.

They'll learn... they're still kids. And hopefully they'll all pull a FRIENDS in a few years and demand top dollar per episode... except... nope... they'll just "graduate" and Murphy will find a new crop of kids to sing and dance and work their asses off for nothing.

Peter Chan said...

Don't judge, but I was watching them on Oprah yesterday and was shocked to hear how much hours they clock in daily for the show. I can't imagine this routine carrying on if the show continues for another 3 seasons. It's still fresh to the young cast. They're not "jaded" yet. Imagine if Katherine Heigl was on this show? She'd whining to the all sorts of media by episode two.

Peter Chan said...

^^Evidence I should proof-read before I post anything online. Sorry for the massive amounts of grammatical boo-boos.

Joe said...

I agree, I think the tour is a a bit much.
I'm bummed I missed Oprah too. I thought it was today. What a shock to turn on the show and see married couples talking about their "sexual issues." YIKES!
Anyway, I can see that there would be a lot of work in putting together every episode of GLEE. Each week the show is full of drama, comedy and musical numbers. That's a lot to pull together. However, that's the beauty and the uniqueness of the show and why it is so popular.
I hope all can be worked out without it getting messy.

Anonymous said...

Listening to them it I don't understand why all of them need to be on set 16 hours a day. Really some don't even have lines why are they there all day.

Seems like Lea Michele would have the longest days since she is in most of the dances and has to record the most.

Anyway I hope if they did force there concern it will be taken into account.

Who knows with these things how real or not they are...

As far as Matthew Morrison goes I don't think they probably pushed him must to do the tour.

Dan said...

I love it, TV gossip from Kenneth in the 212!!

It sucks that they are worked like animals. However ... fame and fortune? Wouldn't any one of us make that trade-off gladly? 16 hours a day seems horrible, but I'd take that over my crappy job any day.

Geraldine said...

There was so much energy coming across the first season, I wonder if it'll stay that away in the second season, if they're this tired. I'm surprised that at this level, their contracts wouldn't be clear enough to avoid such over-work issues. Or maybe they're being frightened to be fired if they don't comply. I do hope that they'll get on a more normal schedule soon, so that they can carry on many more seasons.

Kevin said...

I love that you mentioned "Moonlighting" in this blog/article. It's such a fantastic show, but beyond that, Cybill Shepherd was always painted as being diva on the set throughout her run, but it did turn out that she was extremely overworked (even when she was pregnant with twins!). I'm glad Caron apologized, albeit 20 years later.

That said, you can't swing a dead blog without hitting some news about the cast of "Glee" these days, so I'm not surprised about being overworked. Networks, especially Fox, tend to shove hits in our faces 24/7 (American Idol, anyone? Sheesh.) to squeeze every penny out of it, even at the expense of those involved. I surely hope Ryan Murphy has more sympathy than he supposedly has.

Anonymous said...

They sing and dance for a living...if there are problems, they need to get over it.

It doesn't matter what they are getting paid. 8 months ago 90% of them worked at Starbucks...

I hate seeing whining like this. If they don't like it - quit the show - be a Shelly Long/David Caruso and someone else will gladly step up into those "overworked" shoes.

Anonymous said...

This is nonsense.

Everyone who works on a successful TV is overworked- writers, actors and crew. It's the nature of the business and if people don't want it, they can quit. With a show like Glee, it seems like any cast member who doesn't want it can take a hike and a new person will step in.

Anonymous said...

All I can say is Hugh Laurie, Hugh Laurie, Hugh Laurie. Talent , work ethic and far from home. We're pretty Glee-ful at [H]ouse.

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