LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Television musical series “Glee” will address the death of star Cory Monteith in the upcoming season, writing his character out of the show and touching on Monteith’s real-life drug use, TV network Fox said on Thursday.
Monteith, who played high school jock-turned-show-choir-member Finn Hudson, died last month at age 31 in Vancouver from an accidental overdose of heroin and alcohol.
The actor’s death has forced Fox to push back the show’s fifth season premiere in September by one week as its writers rewrite episodes without Monteith’s character.
“(The) third episode will deal with the Finn Hudson character being written out of the show,” Kevin Reilly, chairman of entertainment at Fox, told reporters at a Television Critics Association meeting.
“I can’t speak to it yet because (it’s still being written). That episode will deal directly with the incidents involved in Cory’s passing and the drug abuse in particular,” Reilly said.
Monteith, who had an off-screen relationship with fellow “Glee” star Lea Michele, had struggled with substance abuse in the past and was in rehab as recently as April.
Reilly also said the “Glee” cast will record public service announcements about drug abuse that will air during the episode focused on Monteith.
The fifth season of “Glee” will begin on September 26 and could be one of the show’s last, Reilly said.
“I would not anticipate it goes beyond two more seasons,” he said.
(Reporting by Lisa Richwine; writing by Eric Kelsey; editing by Mary Milliken and Doina Chiacu)