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Monday, July 15, 2013

How TV Shows Cope With An Actor’s Death

Cory Monteith at the Los Angeles premiere of "Glee" on May 11, 2009, in Santa Monica, Calif. (Todd Williamson/Invision via AP)

Cory Monteith at the Los Angeles premiere of “Glee” on May 11, 2009, in Santa Monica, Calif. (Todd Williamson/Invision via AP)

Cory Monteith, the 31-year-old actor most famous for playing the high school jock turned glee club singer on the Fox show “Glee,” was found dead on Saturday night in his Vancouver hotel room.

The cause of death has not yet been made public. Monteith had struggled in the past with substance abuse.

It’s unclear how Glee producers will address Monteith’s death as the show ramps up for its new season.

The death of an actor or actress mid-season is not unprecedented in the television world. A number of other shows have had to work around the real-life deaths of their actors.

“The best thing and the truest thing that they could do would be to do what many shows have done lately, and reflect it in the plot somehow — actually have the character of Finn Hudson die suddenly, and have everyone react to it,” television critic David Bianculli told Here & Now. “That’s asking an awful lot of  Lea Michele, but you know, the musical tribute show seems almost like a natural way for Glee to go. To replace the character I think is unthinkable.”

Glee co-star Lea Michele was also Monteith’s real-life girlfriend.

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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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