One Tree Hill Exclusive: Chad Murray, Hilarie Burton Not Returning

Sorry, Leyton fans: One Tree Hill showrunner Mark Schwahn has officially put the rumors to rest, telling me exclusively that Chad Michael Murray and Hilarie Burton will not be returning to the long-running CW drama before Season 8 signs off.

“It’s not going to happen,” a disappointed Schwahn reveals. “We won’t be seeing them this year.”

One Tree Hill On the Renewal Bubble: Keep or Cut?

Talk of the fan faves’ OTH reappearance has been swirling all season, and seemed all but certain just a few months ago. So what went wrong?

“Quite frankly, we just couldn’t make a deal,” Schwahn explains. “Hilarie now has a child and a family, and she’s doing some nice work [on USA’s White Collar, where Burton is now a series regular]. Chad was working on a movie (The Haunting In Georgia) down in Louisiana, and there were dates we were trying to work around, but it’s tricky when you try to line up all those stars sometimes.”

“Everybody had the best intentions,” Schwahn adds, making clear that both actors were interested in returning for what might (or might not) be the show’s final season. “But at the end of the day, it just didn’t work out.”

Save the Dates! The CW Schedules May Season Finales

As for fans still disappointed by Leyton’s failure to RSVP for the wedding of Brooke (played by Sophia Bush) and Julian (Austin Nichols), Schwahn is right there with you. “Creatively, I would have loved to have them,” he tells me, “or even at the end of the season. But unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be.”

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  1. Roger says:

    Woohoo !

    • lorna says:

      No duh. The past 2 seasons have been a joke, to be honest. I can’t stand Haley, and Naley lost their spark and are now just cheesy. Ugh. I miss Peyton and Lucas.

      • Payton elizabeth parthemore says:

        I lobe leyton and totally agree but I disagree with naley I like haley but I hate nathan I don’t think he can act at all.

    • Carla Mitchell says:

      Season 7 and 8 fells like a completely different programme – it lost meanings and the two best characters.

      Season 1-6 AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!

      • Misty says:

        Shut up this is the best two seasons ever Who Needs Lucas and Payton when Brook and Julian spark up the show like no other and for the Nathen Haley haters the rock too so there you go if you think its a joke dont watch it.

  2. CandyMaize says:

    I’m glad that it seems there was genuine effort all the way around (because I like when actors are appreciative of shows/roles etc that have been such a big part of their careers).

  3. an idea says:

    Why don’t they just let the two of them get in an off-screen car accident, get killed, and have Nathan and Haley named as guardians of their daughter? It’d add the extra twist to have new child on nop of the baby. Particularly if the child has the baggage of surviving a car accident when Mom and Dad didn’t.

    • fan says:

      Well, that sounds like a good idea.. it’s pretty strange anyways, that your best friends leave town, never call or come to visit and even fail to attend your wedding, so a story like that would bring a good end to the story and a new twist to tree hill.. like it!

      • ty says:

        at the beginning of the season (or maybe it was last season), haley was always talking to Lucas on the phone at the beginning of each episode.

    • um no says:

      Um no, that’s a horrible idea and Mark Schwahn would never hear the end of it if that happen.

  4. Stephanie says:

    …yeah I’m going to be the Debbie Downer here- but why on earth is this show still on the air?

    I stopped watching seasons ago- but I must say, I am happy Peyton and Lucas ended up together.
    But seriously- why is this show still airing?

    Has it become better? I am honestly asking, because when I stopped watching it felt creatively drained and had awful writing and acting going on. I always liked Brooke/Sophia Bush even though I wanted Peyton/Lucas as “endgame”.

    Ok going to stop writing.

    • AJ says:

      I find comments like this funny “Why is this show still airing?” Here’s a simple answer: Money is made off the show. Period. The producers and the CW make money. That’s all there is to it.
      As for the other reasons – not sure when you stopped watching. They did a 5 year jump. I do think that added some creativity. I think Peyton & Lucas leaving actually helped too. I think OTH has done a great job introducing new characters unlike a show that started the same season – The OC. But Stephanie, why bother writing a comment about a show if you are confused as to why it’s still on the air. Don’t read the article and move on!

    • Amanda says:

      OTH is still airing cause the story keeps twisting. Its your fault you stopped watching it, so dont bash on the show because you dont understand whats going on. The show repeats itself constantly on SOAP so catch up! your missing out!!

      • J says:

        Okay, here’s a non-derisive answer to your comment, Stephanie: no, it hasn’t gotten better, only different. It’s less teenage drama and more adult drama. It’s less about romantic pairings and broken hearts and more about living in an imperfect world where bad things sometimes happen to good people and they have to pick up the pieces, move on, and enjoy the great moments when they come.

        But is it a better show? I don’t think so. Have the characters grown and changed? Yes. Do I like them better for it? Not at all. Do the new character add anything to the show? Yes, from a storytelling perspective. But not from an emotional one, in my opinion. I havent connected with any of the new characters (especially not Julian) and I long for the days of the first five seasons when the characters I fell in love with were still recognizable. Now? I feel like they’ve changed or stagnated so much that I hardly know them anymore. It’s a shell of it’s former self and it really should end. It reminds me of what the original 90210 became in its last seasons: a sad attempt to carry on magic that was very clearly faded.

        Do I still watch the show? Yes. But more out of loyalty than any actual enjoyment, and that makes me very very sad.

    • Jamie says:

      I agree with you. I stopped watching in S7 and haven’t looked back since. The show isn’t even a shell of the show it used to be. It’s become an absolute trainwreck IMO.

  5. Jamie says:

    It’s still on the air because it’s pulls in better ratings than a lot of other shows on The CW and still has fans. Which is quite obvious, I’m guessing you were making sarcastic statements rather than questions?

    Anyway… If these two couldn’t return then they should have at least brought back Deb for the birth. Peyton not at the wedding I can live with (sigh) but not having Lucas OR Deb at Nathan’s baby’s birth is well, ridiculous.

  6. lene says:

    Still on air because it’s better then Gossip girl and 90210… LOVE OTH! Still think it’s awesome!

  7. meried says:

    But yeah.. Leyton not returning.. especially since it’s probably a SERIES finale… it sucks! Show should end with the two BROTHERS, like it started.

  8. Jared says:

    This really sucks! I understand that they both have moved on and have new jobs, but come on!

    Their characters WERE the basis of OTH. You spent 6 years on this show. You couldn’t at least find one afternoon to be a part of “Brooke’s” wedding episode!

    So much for loyalty to the show that made them the stars they are today.

    • cg says:

      Well Chad & Hilarie were busy when they filmed that episode so. If they didn’t have conflicts maybe they would have been apart of it.

  9. Amanda says:

    I am so dissapointed that they’re not coming back, idk where they went either, i never saw that episode and i cant find it =( but they were a HUGE part of OTH so i deffinatly think that they need to make one more appearance on the show!

    • Jamie says:

      You didn’t see them leave. You saw them leave on their honymoon. They left in the year gap between seasons 6&7.

      Schwahn said in an interview they’re travelling with Karen (now married to Andy) and Lucas is writing a new book.

  10. Toronto98 says:

    I have watched the last two seasons in hopes for a glimpse of LP and not to be dramatic but hearing this makes me want to cry!

  11. ILoveVictoriaNewman says:

    It’s a shame they couldn’t find some time to end the series RIGHT way. And for the FANS (who kept them employed for 6 years) to get a real ending with ALL the main characters.

  12. Sophia says:

    That’s too bad. But I can understand that both had projects going at the time. I do believe Chad made more of and an honest effort but it just didn’t work out. And while I love Hilarie, from what I’ve heard in interviews, she had no intention of ever going back to Wilmington or OTH. Sad—but it is what it is. I would love to see Karen, Deb, and Dan again though!

    • Merri says:

      Hilarie has a production company based in Wilmington, and has invested quite a bit of her time advocating for the NC motion picture/television industry. So, I think you might should be a little less harsh on her. Personally, I don’t think either one could work around their existing work schedules just like the article says. Actors contracts are incredibly complicated and its just not that simple to work out one afternoon for them to film. They were both awesome to try to work it out, and I’m sure they would have been there if they could!

      • cg says:

        ^I definitely second your comment Merri. Yes, Hilarie has invested quite a bit of time advocating the NC film industry which is awesome and she is also on the NC Film Council which is also awesome. I’m from NC, proud of all the filming that goes on in NC and love that she is too especially since that she isn’t even from NC. :)

        To @Sophia, Hilarie is proud of ‘One Tree Hill’ and she has NEVER said in any interview that she had no intention of ever going back to Wilmington or OTH.

  13. Magically Suspicious says:

    I love her on White Collar, so I’m not upset that she’s committed to that show. And not to hate on Lucas, but I really haven’t missed him. I’ve always thought Nathan was the more interesting Scott brother. Doesn’t hurt that James Lafferty isn’t hard on the eyes.

  14. gemma says:

    its better without them anyway, i would of liked it maybe if they came back for the wedding or the finale, but i dont mind, when they left it was their time to leave anyway there was nothing left for the characters to do in my opinion.

  15. David says:

    One Tree Hill is probably one of the most evolving shows on TV. They have dealt with the jump from High School to adult life and losing two of the major character in a way that never skipped a beat. You can’t really compare it to shows like Gossip Girl or 90210 anymore because it isn’t like those anymore. It’s a unique show that centers around real characters with real lives in their mid to late 20’s. It would really be sad for the show to end this season as I think it does have some steam left in it. I understand them not coming back if an effort was made great but honestly the show evolved into something different without them. Sure we all miss them and their characters but the show has moved on. If it does come back maybe something could be worked out for an appearance. But if it doesn’t happen I’m okay with that too. If this is the last season I do think it would be nice for them to end with a finale tv movie though. But when you look at the other shows on the CW One Tree Hill’s ratings are very good. It wouldn’t have made it this far if it was on somewhere else and I realize that. I think if it ends it would be more because the cast members want to move on than the network doesn’t want it anymore.

  16. Holly says:

    I was really hoping they would both be on before the season or show ends. Hopefully OTH will get renewed for another season, it is still one of my favorite shows!

  17. not bothered says:

    I think it is funny that CMM is filiming in Louisiana and couldn’t make a cameo at least one time this season. These two are biting the hand that fed them in my opinion. I like the person who has the idea of something happening to them and Naley raising the baby… That would be an OTH twist and a good way to tie up stories. I like Clay and Quinn better anyways, they have way more heat on screen.

    • cg says:

      Well Brooke is Sawyer’s Godmother so it would probably be Brooke & Julian who raises her if that happens. *Hope it doesn’t happen/never will*

  18. Kira J says:

    Why is this show even on the air? It’s awful.

  19. Beth says:

    I was glad when they left OTH. The rest of the cast especially Sophia Bush & Bethany Joy Galeotti now get a chance to have a story line of their own without the hang up of Lucas or Peyton. I am really happy that Mouth & Skills are still around.
    I understand that some fans were upset about the actors not returning as a kind of farewell but it’s playing on real life. You grow up & lose touch so it’s not all that weird.
    Enjoy Tree Hill for what it is whether for loyalty or whatever. I for one will continue watching as long as Mark keeps it going.

  20. naazneen says:

    Well now they can officially end this show. Im such a OTH fan, but its time to set this puppy down.

  21. Ingmar says:

    I love(d) their characters but their story is just done. If they would return it would feel forced. We didn’t even see the other stars still communicatin with them on the phone or mail. Just a few letters Haley send Lucas but she never got an answer. OTH has just changed since they left. They deserve to be happy ; and I figure they will always remain best friends but people grow up and stuff. I love the show how it is now, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

    • Melissa says:

      I absolutely agree Ingmar. I was happy to finally see Lucas and Peyton leave. Their storyline was boring as was Peyton always being so annoying…I love the way the show is now. Any complainers you have already moved on so that’s great. For the rest of us who enjoy it, I hope it continues.

  22. Sarabi says:


  23. Rebecca says:

    Well this is disappointing…the sure had not been the same since they left. I was hoping for at least an appearance!

  24. cran says:

    After reading all of the bs Schwahn spews, it’s clear that it’s a good thing cmm and hb got out when then did.

    • fran says:

      True. I don’t like either CMM or HB but they got out at a time when their careers could still be salvaged. The longer the rest of the actors stay on, the more jeopardy they put their careers in.

  25. Janelle says:

    I don’t miss Leyton either. But the show sucks now. The reason why it is still on the air is because faithful fans keep tuning in, hoping that they will return to the great writing we saw for 6 seasons. That, however, is NOT HAPPENING! The writing for the past two seasons has sucked! If this is the last season, they better have a damn fantastic finale, but I just don’t see that happening. For this reason, I think I’m done with OTH. If I want to watch some, I’ll go back to the old seasons… and try to forget season 7 or 8 ever happened.

  26. Vanessa says:

    For the people who are saying one tree hill sucks. Without hilarie and Chad and stop watching because of these two people leaving you were never really true one tree hill for people to sit her and down play what mark has done for past two years without Chad and hilarie is just wrong you guys are down playing the actors work I think the Sophia and James and bethany are doing a wonderful job for people who miss out on season 7 you miss Bethany doing a brillant amazing performance of someone who lose there mother If you were a fan of one tree hill you would kept watching for people who saying Sophia won’t have a career because she still on one tree hill is wrong she has two movies coming she got those two movies while working on one tree hill and Bethany has a budding music so does Kate voegele and Jana . For all Chad and hilarie fans they are not loyal who so ever they could have aleast film a quick cameo for one tree hill but they didn”t because you know what they don’t care about one tree hill fans at all I”am a loyal one tree hill fan I will still watch the one tree hill intill it’s last season hopefully one tree hill gets a season nine so it can end with a bang like it always does one tree hill is the train that keeps on going even when it’s supposed fans turn on them because two people decision to leave

  27. Danielle says:

    Has anyone pointed out to Megan Masters (who wrote the article) that the character’s name is Peyton? not “Leyton”

    • Daph says:

      Oh dear… considering you knew HB’s character Peyton, you should know that Leyton is the shortened form of Lucas + Peyton.

  28. The first two seasons, and parts of the third, had a certain charm that gave the series potential. The fifth season nearly reached that potential after rebounding from what was an awful fourth season. Seriously, by skipping over the college years, it allowed for what was about as good a season as one could expect in this genre. The season finale of season five was the last good episode the series offered, which is a shame because had the writers decided to create quality and not cater to fans’ relationship pairings, the series could have had a successful transition from teen-drama to adult-drama. In its early years, One Tree Hill was a promising drama, though not quite on the level of The OC and not even in the same realm as Veronica Mars. It’s kind of a shame when we live in a world that keeps once-decent shows on for years after they’ve become mediocre, yet critically acclaimed fair, such the former Kristen Bell-led crime drama, as axed in their prime.

  29. Hastley says:

    I dont think it’s gotten worse or anything… I just think those of us who spent 5 years watching it have grown up and our tastes have changed… there’s a new generation watching it now so it’ll still be on air until no-one watches…

  30. mary althene says:

    this sucks!
    i was really looking forward to this!
    twas one of the reasons i kept watching it -a Leyton appearance!

  31. Steph says:

    Yes, I loved Lucas and Peyton…and would have liked for them to stay on the show…or return for an episode or two…but even though the show still survived…it sucks they could not return…but things don’t always work out…
    As long as Nathan and Haley are in it and of course Brooke…this show can still go on!!! =)

  32. Janna says:

    I absolutely love OTH. It relates to my life. Especially the part where Dan kills Keith. I miss Peyton and Lucas, they made the show. Its still an awesome series but I wish they would come back for at least one episode.

  33. quina says:

    I am not trying to be disrespectful to those who love the new seasons (7&8). I love One Tree Hill, and always will but for me it’s just not the same without Lucas and Peyton. I grew up watching the show, and I have always been a die hard Leyton fan, but that’s not the reason I miss them. For me, it’s incredibly sad seeing Nathan, Haley and Brooke be without them. The show was based on Lucas and the five of them. When Lucas and Peyton left, it broke so many important and vital relationships. 2 brothers who developed an amazing relationship after 6 years, 2 sets of best friends (Lucas/Haley and Brooke/Peyton), and then the beautiful bond that all 3 girls made growing up together. We also can’t forget the fun relationship that Nathan and Peyton had, and more importantly the love between Lucas and Brooke. Yes he is with Peyton and I love them together, but Lucas and Brooke still shared something special. It’s just so sad watching Nathan, Haley and Brooke move on with their lives and have all these things happen to them and not to have Lucas or Peyton there with them. They are all such good friends and the show built such strong relationships for them through the years, and now it just feels like that all went to waste. The hardest episode for me to watch was Brooke’s wedding. Peyton really should have been there, it was her place to be the maid of honor for her BF’s wedding. I love Haley but that was something they were supposed to do together. It also would have been amazing to see Sawyer Scott grow up and be apart of the Tree Hill family just like Jamie has been. I would have loved to see Nathan and Haley as an aunt and uncle. More importantly I would die to see the impact that Sawyer would have had on Brooke, and the relationship they would build. It would just be amazing. And to see Lucas and Peyton as parents, it would be my happy ending. I know it’s just a TV show, but its had such a huge impact on me and it is so important. I guess it’s just hard when you become so addicted to something for so many years and then for it to suddenly change on you, it’s hard to get used to.

  34. OTHfan says:

    I don’t really miss Lucas, but I really miss Peyton, especially the Brooke/Peyton friendship! I’m sorry, but the show just sucks now. I think it’s mostly because all the character development is done… it’s nice to see them dealing with adult problems, but it’s just really not that interesting and I HATE Clay and Quinn. They are characters with absolutely no substance and the actors suck too. The only reason I’m still watching is Naley… even Brooke has changed. And Brulian, although I liked them in s6/7, they’ve turned way too cheesy.

    I can’t believe Lucas and Peyton aren’t coming back. I think it’s ridiculous that they can’t come back for one freaking episode for the show that started their careers. What happened to the loyalty to their fans? Ugh. I understand they made an effort and all, but I still think they could have made it. The ending will be just so incomplete without them. That’s the only reason I want a s9… so maybe they’ll be able to come back next year.

  35. Mua says:

    Oh god no!i DO love lucas! :(

  36. christina says:

    i think the news of hilarie & chad not returning is the worst thing that could basically happen for the OTH cast & crew. I mean it would’ve done wonders for their ratings & publicity plus the fans would’ve been extremely happy. I say the only way to end this off is if lucas comes back with peyton & their daughter or if that can’t happen that basically all the cast leaves, as in brooke takes the offer to go NY with Julian, Clay gets a promotion and has to leave to another state taking quinn, nathan moves with haley & jamie & lydia to wherever he plays next. Mouth & Milly move to Omaha where he works as a news presenter & she hopefully has a job lined up. Mia & chase leave for a ‘tour’. they could all meet up at the river court where it began & say their goodbyes. thats the only way to end what would’ve been one of the greatest. (THATS IF LEYTON DOESNT RETURN, IM SURE IF LEYTONS RETURNS THE SHOW COULD SURVIVE ONE MORE SEASON)

  37. Liane layman says:

    I love the show and I’m 56. I sure hope it comes back. I’ve been watching since it first aired.

  38. Laiday says:

    I am pleading, please do whatever can be done to bring Lucas and Peyton back.Pleaaaaase, One tree hill is Lucas’s story, he is the only one that can end it.


  39. thelanin0 says:

    i do agree wth laiday…juz make a great finale season by bringing lucas and peyton back..

  40. lindsey says:

    Really i also agree with laiday ,OTH is about lucas and peyton,so for a nice ending bring them back,(whatever it takes).

  41. Serina says:

    OTH….the soap actually makes a whole lot of sense but Peyton and Lucas should have made an apperance for brooke’s wedding nd d birth of haley’s child…or better stil it sud have ended in season six

  42. Adelakun Adebimpe Joy says:

    I so much love the concept in one tree hill from season 1 to 6 but am sorry to say this season 7 and 8 were something else entirely.It has deviated from the story.This is as a result of losing the main and most important characters Lucas and Peyton.I love both of them especially Lucas.I will urge Lucas if he can still come back to tree hill,we miss you a lot.So that the remaining season can be meaningful.Am happy for hilarie’s marriage and her baby.I luv you all

  43. Tia says:

    I think they should have made a couple more seasons with the children as teenagers to see how far the families had become instead of ended the series all together.

  44. Aaron says:

    Hhhm,first of all,mark u did a gud job.bt however u just cant move the two love birds out of the movie,they are the ones that made the movie went well till season 6,bt the aspect of hailey,nathan and all dat screwed the movie up.bt 4 me i just hope they can be a movie that chad and hilarie act 2geda as couples

  45. Carol Fernandes says:

    Its so sad dat Lucas n Peyton r nt Der in d remainin reasons I vl miss dem loads I luv:-*<3 d pair Lucas n Peyton wish u ppl wud cont 2 b Der inda remainin seasons Olso:'(:'(:'( Lucas and Peyton v guys rock!!!!!!

  46. Chelsey says:

    I want Lucas and Brooke to get married not Peyton

  47. R@chl says:

    I’m just going to go a bit off topic – still about Chad Micheal Murray. Just want to tell you guys a little something about this guy:

    The reason Lucas Scott isn’t on the show is because he asked for more money, but I’m guessing the people who pay him didn’t have enough money or just didn’t want to pay him more because he ended up quitting.

    Also, Murray is a little piece of pretentious little sh*t lol. He wrote a book, and then on GoodReads, he made a review about it. And his book list or read list or whatever, the only books that are on there ARE HIS FRIGGIN’ BOOKS! LOL! 😂😂😂😂

  48. mimi says:

    Saw all seasons of oth and as a mother of three grown daughters now. I related to the series and grew with it as my children did. I found it to be most entertaining and it kept me going. I couldn’t wait for tbecnext episode. I am currentky watching the seasons over again i loved it that much. Im not brainless have a degree in ps2. So everybody needs to read yp on tge actors. The character Nathan Scott would suck as an actor. Cause whrn he was found he was a basketball player asked to make a plunge into television. To bring realism to the game in the show. So he could play basketball. his acting got better in time. I just have to say read up on the producer . He put alot of time into making this series last. And it xame back on a fan based level. Not just the ratings. Hence the request for season 9 which was a beautiful end to a great series. Best music and artist ever brought together.

  49. Katie says:

    That’s really disappointing that’s the whole reason why I watched the show. That ruined the show