LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- "Glee" and "American Idol" are always hot topics during the executive session at the TCA Summer Press Tour and this year was no different, as the former is wrestling with the death of co-star Cory Monteith and the latter a much-publicized exodus of its judging panel.
"The third episode will deal with the Finn Hudson character being written out of the show," Kevin Reilly (Chairman, Entertainment, Fox Broadcasting Company) said about the new season of "Glee." "I can't speak to it yet because frankly the guys are still breaking it. What I will tell you is that we are going to, that episode will deal directly with the incidents involved in Cory's passing and the drug use in particular. Ryan [Murphy] himself is going to shoot some PSAs with the cast in which [the] cast members, as friends of his, are going to speak directly to the audience. I think they're going to be very impactful."
When asked if the death of Cory's character is related to drugs, Reilly said, "I can't confirm that at all. We're going to speak to that in the PSAs." Adding, "we're going to donate the proceeds from our music sales on that episode to start a little fund, fund for Cory in addition to other efforts we're doing."
As for why Monteith's death won't be addressed earlier, the executive revealed that "the first two 'Glee' were already conceived. They had not been shot yet but they are Beatles episodes. We have an unbelievable portfolio of Beatles songs we'll be doing, very clear storyline on how we're going to serve those up." So look for the Beatles episodes on September 26 and October 3 followed by the aforementioned Monteith-centric episode on October 10 and then a three week break for post-season baseball (ALCS Game #5 on October 17, World Series Game #2 on October 24).
Reilly would later mention during the post-session gaggle that he doesn't anticipate "Glee" running beyond the next two seasons. "Look, never say never," he noted. "There's two very clear arcs to get to that end and conclude. Listen if we discover a new crop of kids and there's some breakout, who knows?"
Meanwhile on the "Idol" front, Reilly announced that "Keith [Urban] is going to return to the show. He did a great job last year. The fans really liked him. I think with a new panel you're going to see Keith's a really funny guy."
Beyond Urban, Reilly would only say that "most of what you're reporting and you've read is true. All of the names have been considered or are in discussion. Jennifer [Lopez] has been a close part of the show all along. Obviously, she's even been on it since she left the panel. So there have been discussions there. There is no deal with her or with anybody else." Overall he expects the full panel to be set within the month. "The logistics of who we bring in I don't know when they can start but within the month at the outset."
Outside the aforementioned topics, Reilly opened the session with a lengthy presentation illustrating the how much audience they get beyond Live+Same Day and the need to win the PR war with those numbers. He also trumpeted FOX's yearlong programming rollout after September with "The Following" and "Rake" in January, "Us & Them" and "Gang Related" in April and "24: Live Another Day" and "Wayward Pines" in the summer, leading back into the fall.
Reilly also gave a few details about its just-announced 10-episode import of the U.K. series "Broadchurch." "It's very analogous to my experience on 'The Office.' That show was pitch perfect. How are you possibly going to do it in America? Well, you change out some of the cast, you change some of the cultural touchpoints and it becomes its own great show with a different vibe." As for whether they'll keep the same conclusion, Reilly would only tease that, "I'm not going to speak to any of that but I certainly hope as you report on the original that you use some discretion."
And finally, Reilly offered optimistic words about the futures of "The Simpsons" ("I would anticipate 'The Simpsons' to be on our air for a very long time.") and a new season of "So You Think You Can Dance" ("I hope so, I expect so.") as well as a season two surge from "The Following" ("I'm looking for that show to get a bounce this year. I think there's a lot of people who've heard about it. It goes on Netflix in September. I think we'll get some catch up and I hoping we're going to get a bump.").