Graduation Day is going to cost "Glee" three of its biggest names next season.
 
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, "Glee" co-creator Ryan Murphy confirmed/announced/revealed that Lea Michele, Cory Monteith and Chris Colfer will all be departing the show at the end of next season, its third.
 
With Kurt, Rachel and Finn all heading for graduation, it was always clear that some changes were coming for "Glee," but Murphy says that the three leading actors "not going to be back at all for Season 4." It's the "at all" part that probably makes this story newsworthy.
 
"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," Murphy tells THR.
 
"Glee" has always been a bit coy about what high school class each of the students were in, but Murphy promises that the September 20 premiere will reveal who will be graduating and who will be kicking around for at least another year. He adds that Colfer and Michele both have been involved in discussions about their characters' fates. Somewhat more cryptically, Murphy says that he hasn't talked to Monteith yet. So if you're reading this story, Cory, it would appear you're going to be eligible for pilot casting season next spring.
 
[Note that in a June interview with TVGuide.com, Murphy said that in his mind, all of the "Glee" kids were seniors other than Chord Overstreet's character. So by that token, "Glee" could actually be losing nearly everybody after this season, rather than just Monteith, Michele and Colfer.]
 
Michelle and Colfer were both nominated for Emmys last year. Michelle has earned a pair of Golden Globe nominations, while Colfer won the Golden Globe in January. And Monteith? Well, he picked up a Teen Choice Award nomination in 2009.
 
HitFix contacted both FOX and 20th Century Fox TV for comment. Thus far, the network and studio aren't saying anything.
 
Expect a good deal more on this story when "Glee" takes to Hall H for a Comic-Con panel on Sunday, July 24.