Glee’s Season 4 Will Feature NYC-Based “Show-Within-a-Show,” Santana, Carrie Bradshaw

Jenna & Naya at Fox Upfronts today (CR: Frank Micelotta/FOX)

Because Glee‘s always so adept at pulling off complicated concepts, the team has announced that for Season Four, they will attempt the “show-within-a-show” format which will “revolve around a handful of graduating seniors and be set at a performing arts school in New York.” However, The Hollywood Reporter reports that the series’ primary location will remain the slanderously appropriated residence of Lima, Ohio and its storied McKinley High School, and that Glee will be announcing Season Four’s new cast of characters over the next several weeks.

Season Four’s guest star roster includes Sarah Jessica Parkerwho will “allegedly play a mentor to Chris Colfer‘s Kurt,” and Kate Hudson, who has a six-episode arc somehow involving returning star Lea Michele.

There’s a lot of speculation surrounding who of the main cast will return to this hellscape come fall, especially after last week when both Dianna Agron and Amber Reily tweeted things that suggested a departure from the program. Dianna:

On May 9th, Riley tweeted:

“That’s a wrap on Amber Riley! Just closed a chapter in my life, the only thing I’ve known day in and day out for three years. I’m going to miss the whole Glee family, seeing them everyday! I have so many brothers and sisters now :) But I am looking forward to a much needed and deserved summer vacation! SCHOOL’S OUT Glee Kids! Let’s play!”

When fans deduced that Riley would be leaving the show, she followed up with:

“My tweet apparently has been misconstrued. I was not confirming I was leaving the show. Just stating that I would miss being in the classroom everyday with the cast and that would be changing. Thanks for the support guys :)”

It’s Upfronts week, and today has been a busy day for Glee fans. This afternoon, Naya Rivera all-but-confirmed her Season Four return by announcing she was on her way to UpFronts and is “excited to see everyone and celebrate the start of a new exciting season of Glee!” Today on Big Morning Buzz LiveChris Colfer said “we will all be back in some capacity, I believe,” and Jenna Ushkowitz made a similar remark on her appearance on today’s episode of The View.

A few hours ago, Kevin Reilly did Fox’s Upfronts presentation and the Glee stars in attendance were Lea Michele, Cory Monteith, Chris Colfer, Jane Lynch, Naya Rivera, Darren Criss and Jenna Ushkowitz.

The Hollywood Reporter, live-blogging Fox Upfronts, had only this to say about Glee:

Reilly talks Glee, moving to Thursdays. Sings its praises–ha ha. The show will follow some kids to theater school in NY. It’ll be “a show within a show.” No word on who’ll be in the show. Amber Riley isn’t here, though.

Also, Season Four will see Glee move from its present Tuesday night spot to Thursday Night, which I believe is somehow related to American Idol.

Tomorrow night we’ll be treated to two entire new episodes of Glee, “Props” and “Nationals.” “Props” will feature a bizarro-world sequence where Tina trips in a fountain and wakes up in a world where she’s Rachel Berry and everybody else is somebody else too:

“Nationals” will feature Lindsay Lohan and bring back Unique, the transgender female character played by a Glee Project winner:

No word yet on whether or not anybody at Glee has seriously considered my proposition to cut all dialogue from the show and make it into a Brittana Musical Hour.

Before you go! Autostraddle runs on the reader support of our A+ Members. If this article meant something to you today — if it informed you or made you smile or feel seen, will you consider joining A+ and supporting the people who make this indie queer media site possible?

Join A+!


Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in California. Her work has appeared in nine books including "The Bigger the Better The Tighter The Sweater: 21 Funny Women on Beauty, Body Image & Other Hazards Of Being Female," magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3078 articles for us.


  1. Grrr I hate the fact that the actor who plays Artie isn’t someone who actually uses a wheelchair… Sorry, that was off topic, but had to say it.

    Omg actor who plays Finn is possibly also a douche.

    Also, riese you are my favourite!


    In other words, these people are idiots for thinking that having two different settings in one TV show makes them groundbreaking. To quote the ever-brilliant skywarrior108 on tumblr: “That’s not what I would call a “show-within-a-show,” Kevin. That’s called a split-narrative.”

  3. I predict this show is going to focus on Blaine + New Directions in Lima (aka. Blaineblaineblainelblaineblaine) and Finchel + Kurt (who’ll be pinning over Blaine long distance) in New York. This alone sounds like a nightmare. And if Dianna leaves, I won’t even get a weekly dose of that flawless face! Consequently, this show will be finally unworthy of my attention.

  4. Ok, so when I first heard about the whole body-swapping thing, I thought that sounded like the stupidest thing I’d ever heard of. But then I watched that promo, and Jane Fucking Lynch looks incredibly hot. And Naya Fucking Rivera looks adorably geeky. And Lea Michele was totally hot. And Dianna Agron was adorable and bouncy and looked ridiculous (in a good way). So now I’m weirdly excited. Idk, Glee will probably fuck it up like usual.

  5. Isn’t Glee already a show within a show, I mean every time I watch it, I feel like I am on an acid trip, trying to catch up with 20 different story lines (and i use that term loosely) whirling around me in the shortest hour (or longest at times) of my life? Really, Glee, this is your “revolutionary” idea. Maybe you should go back to the drawing board, Ryan Murphy..or you know maybe you should just take up drawing, because you certainly have lost you ability to write a decent show..

  6. Season 4 is going to be a HOT MESS. They can’t write a cohesive narrative in one setting, I hate to think how bad it will be when they’re trying to deal with two. The only saving grace would be if Santana somehow also ends up in New York. If I got the Pezberry show even just a little bit, I wouldn’t care how bad the rest of it was.

  7. Great. Looks like I’m going to need a new liver to get through season four. The drinking game I made up for this season already has this one about to give out. Damn.

    I feel as though they knew if they got rid of Santana/Naya I’d and ever other lesbian (am I right?) if they let Auntie Snix go.

    Well played Murphy. Well played.

Contribute to the conversation...

Yay! You've decided to leave a comment. That's fantastic. Please keep in mind that comments are moderated by the guidelines laid out in our comment policy. Let's have a personal and meaningful conversation and thanks for stopping by!