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'Glee:' Is Naya Rivera returning for season 6?

Did "Glee's" Ryan Murphy fire Naya Rivera? Did tensions between her and co-star Lea Michele contribute to the decision to write Rivera out of the season 5 finale? Or was there no truth to these feud rumors to begin with?

Ryan Murphy says that both Lea Michele and Naya Rivera will be back of "Glee" season 6.
Photo by Jason Merritt

On May 13, the "Glee" creator had dismissed rumors of the fallout, assuring fans that both Michele and Rivera would be back next season. As he told Extra, "I don’t think there is a story between Naya and Lea. I always marvel at the things that become headline news that most of the time are completely fabricated. Naya’s coming back next year, Lea’s coming back next year, anybody ever in that cast has an open invitation to come back and finish the character they so beautifully started."

However, a May 15 Hollywood Life report suggested that Murphy wasn't being completely truthful. As an insider explained, "he had to make that statement to make it look like he wasn't taking sides because he doesn't want to look like the bad guy. But at the end of the day Ryan, is in Lea’s pocket and she will get whatever she wants."

Rivera was conspicuously missing from the season 5 finale. Reports suggested that she had gone off on a producer during an April 17 blowout, for reasons that had nothing to do with Michele. According to insiders, the "Sorry" singer had been displaying increasingly erratic behavior since her breakup with Big Sean.

However, this may be a case of "she said"/"she said." Other sources reported that Michele was the one who had the on-set temper tantrum. These reports suggested that Rivera had only complained to the producers because the entire cast had been fed up with Michele's diva behavior.

"Gleeks" seem overwhelmingly supportive of Rivera. According to a Hollywood Life poll, 86 percent of readers do not want her to be fired. The season 5 finale drew a mere 1.92 million viewers, a ratings low for the series. The show explained Rivera's absence by saying that her character, Santana Lopez, was away doing a "Yeast-i-Stat" commercial in Iowa.

"Glee" season 6 will not air until 2015, an unusual decision on the part of the network. Hollywood Life suggested that Murphy was biding time in hopes that the problem would work itself out. "Naya is gone from the show, but Ryan doesn't want a feud to take over the last season of the show so he is looking for time to pass and maybe them respecting each other again to make Naya return."

Did the rumored feud with Lea Michele contribute to the decision to write Naya Rivera out of the "Glee" season 5 finale? Or was Rivera acting out on set because she was struggling to cope with her recent breakup? Do you believe Ryan Murphy when he says that both Michele and Rivera will be back? Would you like to see Rivera return for "Glee's" final season?