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.”
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.”
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.”