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Paul McCartney sends 'Glee' creator Ryan Murphy Beatles songs for show

BEVERLY HILLSFox's hit musical drama "Glee" is mapped out through four seasons, creator Ryan Murphy told TV critics here Monday afternoon.

That's good news to millions of fans and a British singer-songwriter named McCartney who recently sent creator Ryan Murphy a mashup tape of songs he'd like considered for the show.

"I thought I was being punked," said Murphy. "But it was real. It was this package from Paul McCartney, hand-written, with two CDs and a note in it. It said, ‘Hope you'll consider these songs.'

"So I listened and it was things like 'Michele.' I was gobsmacked. I mean, I grew up with this guy."

So expect to hear some McCartney songs on "Glee" during the second season that launches in September.

He won't get a whole episode -- so far this upcoming season, that's reserved for real heavy hitters like Britney Spears -- but his music will be there.

So will Susan Boyle's, and she will come along with it. Boyle is scheduled for a Christmas episode, said Murphy.

In the larger musical picture, Murphy said there may be a slight cutback this year in the number of musical numbers per episode.

"We did nine with Madonna last year and that was insane," he said. "We're thinking more like five or six. We'll concentrate a little more on storylines."

Those lines will also push the characters' lives forward, he said, which raises an inevitable question for a show whose characters are in high school: What happens when they graduate? Or, like characters in Archie Comics, will they stay in school forever?

"We've thought about that," said Murphy, who indicated that was part of the reason the show has a four-year plan. "We need to be true to the high school experience. I don't want them to wake up in five years and all still be living in the same condo."

While he didn't specify what will happen after four years, another high school show, "Friday Night Lights," was successful with a rolling student body, where some characters graduated as time passed and were replaced by others.

That may be harder with tenors and dancers, of course. 

In any case, Murphy said setting the show in high school was the right decision.

"The main reason high school shows work and college shows don't," he said, "is that high school is a time of firsts. First kiss, first love. We get to work with all that."

Musically, Murphy said fans can expect to continue hearing vintage material: "I like that we bring back ‘forgotten' songs."

"'Don't Stop Believing' was higher on iTunes now than it was on the charts when it first came out," said music director Adam Anders. "That's cool. And Steve Perry loved it."

One musical element of the show will remain mysterious this season, however, Murphy said: the piano player who accompanies the singers on their musical numbers.

He has not spoken and Murphy indicated there are no plans that he will, "until maybe, like, season eight."

His character is a low-paid teacher at the school, said Murphy, "and I've only given him one direction: ‘You hate the kids.' 

"We have this whole joke backstory for him, how he goes home and there are voodoo dolls and everything."

None of that will become explicit, however, at least for a while.

The fact the show is mapped into the fourth season doesn't mean that it will last four seasons. That's up to Fox.

Ratings were good last season, more than nine million viewers an episode. It's also a cross-marketing and promotional gold mine.

But in the end, yes, it's still television, one of the most volatile industries around.

"We're still an underdog," said executive producer Dante Di Loreto. "We can't believe we get to do what we do every week."

 
Last Updated: 08/03/10 10:54
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Paul McCartney sends 'Glee' creator Ryan Murphy Beatles songs for show


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News Summary

Fox's hit musical drama "Glee" is mapped out through four seasons, creator Ryan Murphy told TV critics here Monday afternoon. That's good news to millions of fans and a British singer-songwriter named McCartney who recently sent creator Ryan Murphy a mashup tape of songs he'd like considered for the show. "I thought I was being punked," said Murphy. "But it was real. It was this package from Paul McCartney, hand-written, with two CDs and a note in it. It said, ‘Hope you'll consider these songs.' http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/tv/2010/08/03/2010-08-03_paul_mccartney_sends_glee_creator_ryan_murphy_beatles_songs_for_show_susan_boyle.html