Yesterday, all of blogland was atwitter (or was all of Twitter ablog?) over news that Chord Overstreet, Glee’s resident blonde heartthrob, had been given the boot by the show. Well, that wasn’t exactly what was reported in TVLine’s exclusive, but by the time word had gotten around—and Overstreet himself seemed to confirm as much with a disappointed tweet—that was the general conversation. But what TVLine had actually said was that Overstreet hadn’t been made a series regular, as had his castmate Darren Criss, who also joined the show earlier in Season 2 and quickly became a producer favorite. The item quoted an anonymous source from the show saying that Overstreet “could return as an occasional guest star.” But then TVLine posted another item today, which only serves only to confuse matters further.
According to the site’s second post, angry fans should “simmer down” because Overstreet wasn’t, in fact, fired. (Gee, I wonder what gave them that idea? Could it have been the headline, “Glee Exclusive: Darren Criss and Harry Shum Jr. In, Chord Overstreet Out!”) It seems the original source felt TVLine had misrepresented what he’d said, and wanted to clarify: “His option to be a series regular was just not picked up at this time. If Chord wants to appear on Glee, the choice is his.” [Note: It’s unclear whether the italics are the source’s or TVLine’s.] The source goes on to say that “the Glee writers like his Sam character, and have plans to write for him. He and his reps have been told that he is welcome back to Glee, and everyone hopes he will show up on August 10 when filming begins.”
There’s definitely some discord going on behind the scenes, but the exact details will likely remain between the producers, the network, and Overstreet’s management. Clearly, there was a slight involved in not picking him up to series regular—a particularly valuable insurance policy for any Glee cast member, as series creator Ryan Murphy has publicly stated his plans to rotate them out with increasing frequency as they get older.
A story like this doesn’t just haphazardly leak. It’s placed by a source who hopes to get something out of the information going public. In this case, that would most probably be Glee producers, reacting to Overstreet’s representatives, who could have threatened to pull Overstreet from the show altogether as a negotiation tactic. The phrase “the choice is his” is the giveaway—there’d be no need to use that kind of language if Overstreet’s camp hadn’t made grand overtures. That’s a ballsy move, and could easily backfire. Negotiations in Hollywood are notoriously hardline, but you also don’t want to bite the hand that feeds you. One false tweet can anger the execution-happy Murphy, who’ll promptly bring down the Glee-otine.