"Glee" creator and executive producer Ryan Murphy says he's gearing up the show's third season, which will include the graduation of the original cast members.
Murphy talked on Ryan Seacrest's KIIS FM radio show on Friday and said that the series begins filming its third season in mid-August. Audio from the interview can be heard below.
Seacrest asked Murphy, who also announced he is engaged, about rumors that he will replace most of the cast after next season. Murphy replied, "I don't think of it in terms of eliminating or replacing. 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."
"The thing that I wanted to do and they wanted to do, the cast, is we didn't want to have a show where they were in high school for eight years. We really wanted it to be true to that experience," he added. "It would be really cool if we were true to the timeline."
Murphy went on to confirm that members of the cast will graduate, but didn't specify how many or who will specifically move on. "When we started out they were sophomores, last year -- which we just finished -- they were juniors and this next year will be their senior year and then that group of kids will graduate," he said.
He also expressed that the show will be able to continue successfully without those characters because "We've got Matt Morrison and Jane Lynch who will stay and be the male and female lynchpins of the series."
He added, "But I think the fun thing about the show is it's a celebration of youth and talent and I think that just like with the original cast, I think finding those young unknown people and giving people an opportunity to break into the business and become stars is a really fun and exciting thing and is the spirit of the series."
Murphy cites new cast members like Chord Overstreet and Darren Criss as examples of how new people can be added into the fold of the show. "So, I think every year, what will be fun about the show is a new class comes in," he said.
"Glee" will also get new blood from whichever contestant wins the reality series "The Glee Project," which Murphy also appears in as a judge. The winner of the reality series nabs a seven-episode arc on "Glee," a recording contract and will get to go on the "Glee" tour next year with the cast.
"It's sort of a great, I think, opportunity for somebody to really sort of step into a spotlight and shine, which was the goal of the show all along anyway," Murphy said of the show, which airs on Sundays on Oxygen at 9 p.m.
Meanwhile, the current cast of "Glee" just wrapped up the 16-city North American leg of their tour, which kicked off on May 21 in Las Vegas. The "Glee Live! In Concert" tour included cast members Lea Michele, Cory Monteith, Amber Riley, Chris Colfer, Kevin McHale, Jenna Ushkowitz, Mark Salling, Dianna Agron, Naya Rivera, Heather Morris, Harry Shum Jr., Chord Overstreet and Darren Criss.
Naya Rivera, who plays Santana Lopez on the series, recently announced that she'll be working on her solo album this summer.