Since "Glee" premiered in the spring of 2009, its loyal fans have come to love the show and its quirky characters, from type-A Rachel to ditzy Brittany. But they might not want to get too attached. Talking to Australia's Herald Sun, "Glee" creator Ryan Murphy hinted that graduation is looming for some characters. "Every year we’re going to populate a new group... a new crop (of actors) will come in," Murphy says. "There's nothing more depressing than a high schooler with a bald spot." The end of the 2012 season will likely be the time for much of the cast to make an exit. What will that mean for the hit show?

Finn's a goner: Cory Monteith, the actor who plays the dopey hunk, is 28 years old and already has trouble blending in with the cast of "teenagers," says Julie Miller in Movieline. He's No. 1 on the "endangered" list. "By the time 2012 rolls around and Monteith’s frown lines deepen... it will be difficult to believe a 30-year-old accepting a high school diploma without a subplot about how Finn was held back for three years to deal with his father's death."
"Which Glee Cast Members Are in Danger of Being Replaced?"

It's good quality control: Sure, it's a "bit harsh" to "put actors out to pasture when they grow too old," says Tina Molly Lang at Yahoo. But, "aging characters out keeps 'Glee' at least somewhat realistic," and prevents it from "jumping the shark" like "Beverly Hills: 90210," "Dawson's Creek," and "Saved By the Bell: The College Years" did by sending the cast to college together.
"'Glee' to drop cast members who grow too old"

If they can pull it off: "'Glee' has so far been very good at not specifying whether its characters are high school sophomores, juniors or seniors," says Rick Porter at Zap2It. "But it can't avoid the [graduation] issue forever." By the start of the fourth season of "Glee," the show choir "could have completely turned over its membership." While that happens in "any real high school," it "can be a difficult thing to pull off on a TV series."
"'Glee': Would you watch the show with a new cast?"

They need to bring in new people gradually: Murphy has said he plans to gradually bring in new characters as old ones get sent packing, and that should protect the show "from a ratings slide," says Jennifer Graham Kizer at iVillage. He's already started doing that this season, introducing the likes of Sam Evans (Chord Overstreet). Handling it this way insures that viewers "will have already connected with the new characters by the time their old favorites are graduating."
"Graduation Looms for the Stars of 'Glee'"