UPDATED Glee Exclusive: 4 Original Cast Members Not Returning as Series Regulars for Season 5; Plus — Who's Getting Promoted?

Glee Season 5 CastGlee is thinning its ranks as it heads into Season 5.

Original castmembers Heather Morris (who plays Brittany), Mark Salling (Puck), Amber Riley (Mercedes) and Harry Shum, Jr. (Mike) will not be returning to the Fox musical dramedy as series regulars, TVLine has learned exclusively.

RELATED | Glee Season 5 Preview: Is Another Proposal Imminent?

Additionally, Dianna Agron (Quinn) — who was only seen in a handful of episodes last season — is not slated to be back, save for a possible guest appearance here and there.

Morris, Salling, Riley and Shum may also return as occasional guest stars.

RELATED | Glee: 25 Best Musical Performances of Season 4

The casting moves hardly come as a surprise, considering four of the five characters graduated McKinley at the end of Season 3, and a fifth — Morris’ Brittany — got accepted to MIT in last month’s Season 4 finale.

Meanwhile, TVLine has confirmed a Hollywood Reporter story that Glee‘s new class — Melissa Benoist (Marley), Jacob Artist (Jake), Becca Tobin (Kitty), Blake Jenner (Ryder) and Alex Newell (Unique) — have been promoted to series regulars.

Glee returns with Season 5 on Thursday, Sept. 19.

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  1. Olivia says:

    This show I once LOVED is one the shows I hate the most since last season, and I don’t even watch the whole episodes anymore. Can’t believe it got renewed for two seasons. Or renewed at all, even. The writing is awful, the noobs are awful (well maybe not Kitty from what I’ve seen), the originals are almost all gone, who still cares about Shuester and McKinley, and don’t even get me started on the neverending PSAs and after schools specials. Even the music is bad. Every single time there was a new “first listen” I was facepalming 9 times out of 10.

    When I rewatch old episodes, it’s like I’m watching a totally different show!

    Now if only Naya could also run the eff away from this show, I could finally stop watching edited pieces on Tumblr and forget about Glee post S3 altogether. Because she is the last one I care about with sometimes Kevin and Chris. Praise the Lord for my fave, Dianna, moving on to bigger and better things.

    • VeryGleeSad says:

      I totally agree. Glee was my favorite show once. I face palmed every episode season 4. NY was supposed to be big for Rachel, then Kurt. Thank goodness for Santana for humor. Not a fan of much of the music. I miss the old Glee. This new is catering to the young teens and young adults. I just cannot stand it. Ryan Murphy and Glee, Fox had a check list of news worthy topics to cover. School shooting- check. Catfishing-check. Transgender person-check. Bulimia-check. Obesity-check. Gay guy gushing over straight guy-check. Straight girl gushing then stalking over a gay guy-check. A cheerleader with learning and mental shortcomings turns into a Rainman, then gets accepted toMIT-check. A bright girl with abundance of talent gets to NY to chase her dream but finds a bully in a dance teacher and we never see Rachel really dance but sing Oops, I did it again. Not a Broadway tune-check. Kurt gets a job at a fashion mag in 30 seconds and becomes Rachel’s roommate but not a life of his own-check. That is just a small amount of short sided crap coming from the writers s4. Blaine is the Man of La Mancha singing every tune in every episode. Marley, dry as a bone Missy of La Mancha. Sigh.

      If Glee season 5 is anything like s4, I’m sure it will be, then I’m gone. Just won’t keep holding on-to a Glee. I would have rather see more stories with these 4 characters than what we had s4.

      • Olivia says:

        Wow… Seeing it written down is even more terrifying/depressing/laughable.

        * insert aintnobodygottimeforthat.gif *

  2. Jamie04 says:

    I don’t know why this is such a surprise to everyone. If you keep up with the actors and the show, you already should know they were ‘guest stars’ and that Heather was pregnant.

  3. Daybreaq says:

    How is this news? How is this an “exclusive” when everyone with any interest at all in the show already knew every aspect of this article? With the exception of Heather Morris (who everyone who reads media about the show already knew was pregnant and leaving and everyone who didn’t but still watched the show saw the storyline where she left), it sounds like everyone has *exactly* the same status as they had in season 4. The sentence about Dianna Agron is particularly ridiculous because essentially it says that last season she just made a handful of guest appearances then implies there’s this big change where this season she’ll maybe make a handful of guest appearances. You might as well just have written an article that revealed “TVLine has learned exclusively that in season five of “Glee,” there will be people singing songs!”

  4. Not too surprised about this; Harry was really underused, he barely uttered a word the whole time he was on screen – like at the wedding, he actually didn’t speak at all. Amber was also way underused, I get that they can’t just have the characters show up here and there if they’re supposed to be moving on, but Glee and consistency don’t usually go hand in hand. Hopefully when they do have Amber, they’ll utilize her incredible voice this time.

    Sad about Heather, but again not much of a surprise; hoping she’ll come back in the latter part of season 5 and then become a either a regular, season 6 (here’s to wishful thinking) or become a very active guest star. Mark as Puck seemed to be what the show was lacking last season. They upped Santana’s game – her quick wit as always was hilarious, but seemed to miss the mark with Mark (no pun intended) he brought the funny to Glee, and despite their best attempts of using Chord as the funnyman he kinda annoyed me at times.

    I like the new cast, but part of me just wants to see the original Glee members all go to NY/LA whatever is appropriate and see them for S6! Like Finn, Rachel, Santana, Brittany, Kurt, Blaine and Artie in NYC and the rest in LA.

  5. Jessica says:

    No more Brittany s. pierce? Or Mercedes? And my heart broke after we pretty much lost rachel. And poor quinn. Anyway, for the last two seasons, glee’s sort of felt like a bad boyfriend. I stayed around hoping it’d get better, the way it was when I first started loving it, but it just keeps getting worse lol. So I think I’m finally over it! Good riddance!

  6. Good riddance! We don’t need Mercedes now that we have UNIQUE and Puck lost his position as Hottest guy when SAM came along.For blithering idiots like Brit we always have Will Schuester around

    • Tay says:

      lol Sam looks homeless and disgusting. I’m also pretty sure that he will fill the idiot quota quite nicely too. Actually, he could keep growing his hair out and play Brittany next season. No one would know the difference.

    • Mary S says:

      I will miss (have already been missing!) Puck – and there is no WAY Sam is or ever could be as hot – sorry, guy, but your eyes just don’t have the same intensity.
      How can they lose Will’s WIFE to another show? How will they deal with that? Or is Will going to be missing from most episodes again this year?
      I still haven’t seen a comment about Cory’s rehab success (or failure) – and I have no idea how they are going to maintain this show for two more seasons. Are we going to be stuck with even worse storylines or are they getting new writers who know how to keep us entertained and engaged with the characters??
      My preference would be to follow the graduates into their new lives, wherever they might go. Those are the kids we fell in love with and whose success we want to see. Call it “AfterGlee”…
      Does anybody have any real answers or are we all just ranting and speculating here?

      • Cheri says:

        @MaryS We are speculating and ranting. I admit I’ll be the worst of all. I loved Glee once. But it has fallen out of grace. I like your AfterGlee idea. These graduated seniors including Artie and Tina are magical and special still. They are all I watch Glee for. Now, that some of them have moved on I have no interest in watching the Blaine and Marley show. The creators have agendas that they want to keep in our faces and keep the high school part of Glee. But it hasn’t and won’t keep me entranced and bemused and enchanted. All I feel as of now is PO’d.

  7. Yoloooooo says:

    Glee was a mess last year. I don’t know why Fox gave 2 more seasons. They’re gonna regret it. And I’m really happy that Dianna is free now. She was more than that. Can’t wait to see her new movie “the family”.

    • pretenoius stans says:

      Beige Dianna please.

      • Olivia says:

        So beige she was chosen to play alongside Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer and Tommy Lee Jones lol. You don’t have to like her, but she obviously has talent otherwise she wouldn’t be doing much.

      • Willa says:

        I think she did a really good job of acting with what the writers gave her. It isn’t her fault. At least she made it believable.

  8. Beth says:

    Good, now get rid of Darren and Chord.

  9. Natalie fields says:

    Can they just get rid of unique now he/she gets on my nevers more than kitty did this season

  10. John says:

    last season was just not the same and I dont have much hope for this season as well, especially now that Heather Morris won’t be around much.

  11. watching Grey's Anatomy instead says:

    I can’t believe Glee is still on TV. Just a bunch of junk.

  12. Lori says:

    I’ll really miss Puck/Mike/Mercedes/Brittany and hope they make a guest appearance that’s well written (preferably in NY). I just hope there is a major retooling of Glee. McKinley was horrible last year and the new characters had no personality (except Kitty). NY can be good but they need a lot more time each week and not to have stupid weeks where they don’t even appear.

  13. True says:

    They weren’t regular this past season. So what’s the difference? I’m done with Glee anyway. The show is crap now

  14. C says:

    I like all the actors and their characters, but no one who has been paying attention to the show for the past year should be surprised at this news, to be honest. Salling, Shum, and Riley, even though they had regular status, were only semi-occasionally appearing guest stars in S4. Morris, who was a regular (and got more focus than her character ever had before) has a baby due in September, and the show signaled very strongly that she was leaving as a regular with her early-acceptance to college story in 4×22.

    If things work out with the stories and their schedules, they can come in as guest stars — the same status retained by many who appear as recurring characters on the show, like Iqbal Theba, Dot Marie Jones, Lauren Potter, Mike O’Malley, Josh Sussman, and many others, including, last year, Jayma Mays and Dianna Agron.

    The surprising thing is not that this decision was made this year; it’s that this didn’t happen before Season 4 began.

    I hope they do appear occasionally as guest stars when the stories really call for their characters to be present; last year, it felt like the show was, far too often, coming up with contrived reasons to bring them on set every once and a while. If & when they’re brought back, hopefully it will be to take part of stories that really need them there and can draw on their history with the show and the talents they bring.

  15. Woohoo says:

    Awesome!!! Now get rid of Naya and that unbearably obnoxious character she plays and I would consider watching season 5.

  16. Marco says:

    Ok… next on the To Do List; get rid of Blaine.

  17. aa says:

    I am literally angry with rage.

  18. Gordon says:

    I feel the same way I felt when Darren was upgraded now that the other hacks Melissa Benoist, Jacob Artist, and Blake Jenner have been upgraded. God forbid they cast for talent. Can’t wait for them to keep sucking up time and songs with their mediocrity.

  19. Annie says:

    Glee can say bye bye to their ratings. They all ready did last season. It will just continue to drop more now.

  20. Lo says:

    I find it absoutely hilarious you think the seniors left on the show right now (besides Lea) are actually on their because their fanbases are soooo huge, ala FOX can’t afford to lose them. If they were so revelant or at least wanted to try and make a movie career or something – they would’ve asked the producers when they were reworking contracts after s3 to reduce their screetime or so forth. So they could pursue some kind of career after Glee was finished.

    The ratings were crap last season, and have been decling every season. The people who whine and moan about wanting this or wanting that will tune in no matter what. They know that. What they really need to fix if they want some viewers, is the story lines. That’s why people tuned it. Not for the characters. Or couples. But the quality RIB use to tune out every week.

    And I honesty believe if Glee makes it to a s6 (FoX being desperate) the seniors like Lea and Chris won’t be part of the show at all – or a least just tune in for an episode here or there. Now that they’ve upped the newbies to regulars, they will become the new generation. They’ll slowly, but surely weeding out the oldies.

  21. Hallie says:

    not surprise by hemo, amber, mark, harry. but I am surprised that blake and alex were upgraded to series regulars. I think Jacob, Melissa, and Becca deserve it. Becca ended up being my favorite noob by the end of the season.

  22. joncwt says:

    What the crap? No Quinn? I mean, I know they have to move on and all of that, actually, it was a long time coming, and I could to without those characters somehow. But now they tell us that 5 characters have been promoted? Meaning? They are going to have a 15 character main cast, making it even harder to focus on core characters. I’m sorry but that is just an idiotic move.
    Why not stay at 10 main characters and focus on giving them a decent storyline, I mean, the show will be fine with Rachel, Finn, Tina, Artie, Kurt, Santana, Blaine, Sam, Schue and Sylvester only. Why promote the lame newbies to regulars? Marley and Jake have gotten old, and Unique is just the worst character, ugh.
    And also, that means that if they got promoted we are not getting rid of the McKinley side anytime soon.I hoped that once Tina, Blaine, Sam and Artie graduated the show was gonna leave McKinley for good, but apparently is not.
    Oh boy… Where will this end?

  23. dee says:

    Really can’t believe this series was renewed for 1 year let alone 2. Loved the Glee project 1 kids and their interactions, so was excited to watch them on Glee. The writers killed Damian and Lindsay- they were nothing like the characters they wrote. Alex Newells flamboance is nauseating. Tried to watch the new kids- can’t stand any of them. Wonder if Blake’s friendship with Robert Ulrich’s son was the reason his part was so well written. Not even sure why I read this but don’t know how to delete them from my facebook and twitter.

    • Gerardo says:

      I totally agree with you. I would prefer Lindsey rather than Alex. I can’t stand him. Blake’s character pretty much took over Damian’s since they both met Finn in a classroom trying to be convience to join new directions. The catfish thing was pretty stupid. Everyone knew who it was but the writers made it want to look like a huge mystery for a number of episodes.

  24. Boiler says:

    I don’t think I have ever seen a show where the comments generate so much hate. I am guessing, based on comments, most of you haven’t watched the show. Personally I like the new kids and glad they are sticking around. I do think they need to focus better and hopefully they may figure that out. But come on people, if you don’t like it don’t watch but the hate is ridiculous.

    • What You Sound Like says:

      Yeah, why do people get to have opinions that are different than mine!!!

    • JP says:

      i agree. one of my favorite characters of the season was surprisingly kitty. the rest i can honestly do without but kitty is a keeper for me. glee is like the most hated show on tv just because its a ‘musical’ and has a negative connotation associated with it. plus, glee’s fanbase is the most unpleasant fanbase ever so all of these critical comments arent really surprising. i would love for all of the naysayers to come out from behind their computer screens and degrade the writers and actors to their faces but that will never happen. its easy to complain on the internet when you do not have to take responsibility for your actions.

      • Lydia says:

        Look, Glee’s fanbase reflects the quality of the show. As the show declined the fans get more frustrated. Also I’ll take Glee fans over the fans of any CW show. Those girls are intense!

  25. Gerardo says:

    I can’t stand Alex and Blake! They had no good story lines. Blake was such a waste and Alex should have stayed with Vocal Adrenaline. After watching the season four finale, I had to immediately watch one episode of season one to remember why I love this show! I miss the old Sue as well. She was amazing. Season four seemed rushed with getting many story lines that really didn’t follow throughout. I’ll probably watch the first episode of season five and determine there if I will follow it through.

  26. A says:

    Not surprised the new kids are regulars now. Obviously we’re never leaving McKinley. Guess my fast forward button will get a lot of work next season. Least it’ll cut down on the episode time for me. I’d still rather see the originals I know and love moving on and doing their thing instead of the noobs in McKinley that I don’t give a crap about. I imagine we’ll follow the same format as last season with McKinley taking up 95% of the episode?

  27. Awesome says:

    I feel like comment sections for this news across the internet are becoming a sit in for fed up fans who just aren’t going to take it anymore. Tell us what you really think!

  28. Lydia says:

    I don’t know why Glee is doing this, but I wish they’d just stop. Haven’t we been punished enough?

  29. A says:

    Only they’re not thinning their ranks. Dianna wasn’t a regular last year and now four other originals are gone. Same number of regulars as in S3 just a few different names and they’re all 2.0 versions of original characters, some of whom are still ON the show.

  30. Pondering says:

    So basically Glee wants to get cancelled? That’s the only explanation I can come up with for these decisions.

  31. Babygate says:

    Why can’t we just have two separate shows? That way those of us who watch for the originals can get more of the characters they love without having to skip all the crappy McKinnley parts. I think it was pretty clear in the finale that Heather would not be returning. The way she was so sentimental and how Santana took her hand to lead her off the stage was very symbolic, IMO. Too bad. She is a great dancer and she was funny but once Brittany hooked up with Sam and Heather made the comments in regards to Brittana, I was over her. Nothing else surprises me except their choice to make that hideous Alex, whom I have disliked since the Glee Project with all his diva/backstabbing behavior, a regular. But there is an agenda here and TPTB want to have a transgender character to reinforce their paradigm. Since I don’t watch Glee live anyways (Grey’s Anatomy is still #1 for me), at least I can continue to fast forward and skip those unpleasant parts. Now, if they get rid of Santana, for sure, that will be it for me. Naya’s talent is the only thing that brings me back.

  32. Caro says:

    Mike, Mercedes, Puck and Quinn were barely seen last year and shouldn’t have even been called series regulars! And now to have even more of the newbies…ugh! I can’t stand the newbies or all the time the show spends focused on McKinley! The only reason I still watch Glee are for the scenes in NYC and for Rachel and Finn! The focus on the newbies and McKinley is the reason the ratings have fallen!

    • Kim says:

      No, the ratings have fallen because of the writing. It’s not good anymore.

      The NY side is more boring than the Lima side. Santana is the only keeping NY great. Most of the time, the McKinley scenes are best parts of the episodes.

  33. JP says:

    glee should have done what one tree hill did and fast forwarded 4 years so that we can follow the regular cast and just forget the mckinley side of things. brittany was my fave in seasons 1&2 but the character hasnt had any substantial material since then. she didnt even have a line for like 6 episodes in a row during season 3. she literally sat there quietly while santana was the prominent character in their relationship. as long as naya and kevin are on the show i will watch, but i am sad to see the original core cast members go. too bad they didnt get rid of darren criss, that would have brought the quality of the show up tremendously.

  34. LeBaroness says:

    How do I stop subscribing to this?

  35. Mary R says:

    They need to get rid of NYC. I’m so tired of Rachel taking over the whole show.

  36. Kim says:

    I think I am done watching Glee…

  37. Julie says:

    With the direction this show seems to be going I wish they would have set Cory, Lea, Chris, and Naya free as well. They are hardly using them and while I’m glad they’re making money, this is not the kind of junk they should have to be associated with.

    • Boiler says:

      You do know Lea has said she would like to be part of the show as long as its on. Chris has all types of things happening anyway.

      • Julie says:

        Your reading comprehension is terrible. I never said the cast members wanted off the show, I said I wanted them off the show so it wouldn’t further tarnish their reputations going forward. Go back to school and insist they teach you how to understand what you read!

        • Boiler says:

          Thanks for the complement!!! You suppiort an earlier post of mine. AND I am saying Lea must think it is good for her career to stay at Glee so why would you wish her to go except for your misguided perception of what is good for her???

          • Olivia says:

            I think the word you were looking for is “compliment”. Just saying.

            And x2 to everything, Julie.

        • Tish says:

          Aw.. Is someone mad because someone disagreed with them?

  38. Anne says:

    There goes my hope that the extra money from the demotions would be spent on writing classes!

  39. Lacey says:

    Since they’re sticking with newbies, at least make the writing better. Not recycle the same storylines which was lazy for the writers part. All of them are great but their introduction was very poor. They got rid of the characters that everyone grew to love for 3 seasons and replaced them with carbon copies. That was a HUGE mistake.
    Marley’s mother and the bulimic storyline had a lot of potential to be great but it was just pushed aside like it never even happened. Jake is a different person every episode. Unique should a little less Unique. Ryder and Kitty are just fine they are the only newbies that got character development before the season ended. And don’t we get to hear Brody’s side of the story? why does it always have to be about rachel and how she feels about it?
    .Vanessa Lengies needs to leave. She is way to talented and funny to be a just a BACKGROUND character, a very poorly written background character.
    And lastly, i think Glee needs a new showrunner. Ryan Murphy doesn’t seem to know what to do and what direction the show is going is anymore.

    • thesp says:

      I agree. I don’t understand how RM can do this show and it is absolute crap but also do AHS, which is amazing and it gets better every season.

      • Simon says:

        Don’t worry he’ll disappoint you with that as well…….eventually. He always does =P.

      • Mary S says:

        What is “AHS” and what is Ryan Murphey’s connection to it? If it gets better every year, why don’t I know what it is?
        This is a serious question…I really have no clue what those initials mean. OK, I admit it, I have my tv on about 23 hours a day but have never seen a show with those initials.
        Please enlighten me….and don’t bother telling me how stupid I must be…
        Thank you.

    • Kim says:

      I agree everything you said about the newbies, especially Marley. And you’re right about glee needing a new showrunner and maybe new writers especially since there is gonna be a season 6

  40. Mary S says:

    By the way, did Kitty NEVER experience consequences of her manipulation of Marley?? As someone commented, that storyline just faded away as if it had never happened, except people were mad at MARLEY for passing out during Regionals. Nobody ever seemed to be mad at the one who tricked her into it. Just another reason I am not fond of Kitty at all.

  41. Crittab says:

    Always a good idea to dump the fan favourites and frame your show around a bunch of useless twats.

    • lotus says:

      Actually mercedes, mike, puck and quinn are now the “useless twats” your’re talking about. Their appearances are pointless and uneeded. They graduated! I think it’s time to move on.

  42. Heather was amazing and her cute stupidity really stood out and made us remember her. Glee will not be the same without her. 5 losses are extremely big and will cause big changes to Glee but it’s still Glee and I love it too much to get upset. But if Lea, Chris or Darren disappear I will be heartbroken for sure.

  43. Emmapants says:

    Now if they’d only release Darren Criss and storm god Chord Overstreet so they’d be free to do other things I actually would want to watch them in.

  44. Glenda Harjo says:

    does anyone else feel like the new characters are trying to hard to be like the old ones..also why are Season 1 Glee project winners Sam Larsen and Damien McGinty just gone. I liked them better than season 2 winner by sooo much more

  45. jessica says:

    For me, no brittany for season 5 is such a loss for glee. Maybe she’s not too good at singing, but she’s a good dancer. Just admit it. She’s funny sometimes. And for team brittana or bram, there will be no brittana or bram anymore without brittany. I like her. Also quinn, puck, mercedes, and mike chang. I love all of the glee cast. Gonna miss them for sure, especially dianna because we can’t see her anymore in glee.

  46. Maggel ilagan says:

    Cory Monteith just died ! Season 5 must be canceled or else maybe many of fans don’t watch glee. sorry

  47. Megan says:

    I can’t imagine Glee without Cory. Cory, Chris and Lea were the glue and I have no clue how she’ll be taking this. My condolences to the Glee and Monteith families, especially Lea, and Ryan, who now must deal with the loss of both a great actor and an even better friend.

  48. Mary S says:

    I was very pleased to see that Kitty is being written as a nicer person. I was ready to slap her for that nonsense with Marley! I remember Alex Newell form The Glee Project and am glad that they are keeping Unique on the show. I like the character. And I’m glad that Rachel got the part of Fanny Brice. It will be good for her to have something to focus on when they learn of Finn’s death. (just like Glee was good for Lea) Without something positive that requires her attention, she could slip into depression. How can the guys get married if one of them is no longer on the show? Or will there be another break-up for them?

  49. johnnys says:

    The people that holds glee is rachel-cause she’s been a main character r since season one along with kurt mr shue and sue and darren is an amazing actor along with naya team Santana but the only ones that will have an sucessful carrer after glee will be naya lea and that’s about it

  50. Barbra says:

    I think it’s funny that people are on here bashing the show but know all of their real names. The guy who played mike is not just famous for glee. That dude can dance and has been in so much. And Diana has been in movies before, and is filming one now. Not to mention heather isn’t a bad actress. She played stupid really well. And from what I saw from her small role in spring breakers she wasn’t terrible.b I haven’t watched glee since the beginning of season 4 though. I don’t even know any of the new characters.