‘Glee’ Graduation May Mean New Cast

Show creator Ryan Murphy says the kids will stay “true to the timeline” of high school

The singers on "Glee" collectively call themselves New Directions — and, according to showrunner Ryan Murphy, that name may become literal at the end of the 2011-12 season.

In an interview with Ryan Seacrest, Murphy revealed that many of the Fox hit's major characters will graduate high school next year and may be written out of the program.

"We didn’t want to have a show where they were in high school for eight years," Murphy told Seacrest on Friday. "We really wanted it to be true to that experience. We thought it would be really cool if we were true to the timeline."

Also read: 'Glee': Who Hates It, And Why

The characters played by Lea Michele, Cory Monteith, Amber Riley and Chris Colfer were all sophomores when the show began, making the upcoming third season their senior year. Other New Directions members will be seniors as well. 

Having teenage characters follow the natural progression of high school is nothing new — the first three seasons of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," for example, took place at Sunnydale High and then continued with their college years.

But unlike the Joss Whedon series, "Glee" won't be following its main characters as they head to institutes of higher learning. Instead, Murphy hinted that he planned to build on the show's younger characters and add new kids to the mix each year. He said that the grown-ups played by Jane Lynch and Matthew Morrison will act as a constant on the show.

"I don't think of it in terms of eliminating or replacing," Murphy said, "because I think the thing about this cast is people love them and they are incredibly talented. They’ve left sort of an indelible mark.”

No doubt Gleeks — the super-rabid fans of the series — are hoping for some killer exams that the seniors all flunk. "Glee: Summer School," anyone?