The musically themed series, about a high school glee club, will likely make its debut this spring, according to the industry paper.
Ryan Murphy's ("Nip/Tuck") new comedy, according to a previous report in the Hollywood Reporter, centers on Will, a "thirtysomething Spanish teacher at an Ohio high school who has the daunting task of taking over the school's glee club, which has become a haven for outcasts." Morrison stars as Will with Michele as the glee club's star female singer.
About the new series Fox Entertainment president Kevin Reilly told Variety, "Like anything Ryan does, it's got creative ambition. I saw the same look in his eyes that I saw when he pitched 'Nip/Tuck' (at FX). It takes some tonal chances, and should generate a tremendous amount of buzz and interest."
"It's a comedy, it's a soap opera, it's a musical," Reilly added. "It's not a soft show. It's got the trademark Ryan Murphy story turns and offbeat characters."
Murphy also directed the pilot episode of the series, which will feature several tunes performed per broadcast. Matthew Morrison, who is currently starring in the Lincoln Center Theater production of South Pacific, received a 2005 Tony nomination for his performance as Fabrizio Naccarelli in The Light in the Piazza. He also appeared on Broadway in Richard Greenberg's A Naked Girl on the Appian Way and received an Outer Critics Circle nomination for his role as Link Larkin in the original cast of Hairspray. Morrison's other Broadway credits include Footloose and The Rocky Horror Show as well as the national tour of Footloose. His screen credits include "Marci X," "Primary Colors," "Simply Funky," "Sex and the City," "The Journey of Allen Strange" and "Hack." He was also seen in the new television production of "Once Upon a Mattress."
Lea Michele received a Drama Desk nomination for her performance as Wendla in Spring Awakening; she also created that role in the show's Off-Broadway mounting. The actress' other Broadway credits include Fiddler on the Roof, Ragtime and Les Misérables. Michele also appeared in a regional production of The Diary of Anne Frank and was seen this past summer in the acclaimed Les Misérables in Concert at the Hollywood Bowl.