Lea Michele, Chris Colfer, Cory Monteith to Leave “Glee” After 3rd Season

Ryan Murphy is giving Gleeks a full season to say goodbye to some of the main stars of “Glee,” including top female lead Lea Michele.

In a confirmation of a-long-speculated news, Murphy told Hollywood Reporter that Michele, along with fellow regulars of the hit TV musical Chris Colfer and Cory Monteith, will be leaving the show after this fall’s third season. “You can keep them on the show for six years and people will criticize you for not being realistic, or you can be really true to life and say when they started the show they were very clearly sophomores and they should graduate at the end of their senior year,” show creator Murphy said in a statement.

Murphy said Michele, whose character Rachel Berry is one of the focal points of the show, and Colfer have been informed of the development and were both amenable to their exits. “We made that decision and I involved Chris and Lea and they thought that was a good idea.”

Michele, Colfer, and Monteith are not the only ones set for graduation from the fictional McKinley High, with Murphy saying that “more characters are leaving than are staying” at the end of season 3.