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Fox greenlights ‘Glee’ pilot

Comedy from 'Nip/Tuck' creator Ryan Murphy

Fox has given a pilot commitment to the one-hour comedy “Glee,” from “Nip/Tuck” creator Ryan Murphy.

Net is fast-tracking the project — which revolves around the world of high school glee clubs — and has ordered four additional scripts beyond the pilot. If all goes as planned, Fox hopes to have the show on the air by March, as a potential companion to “American Idol.”

Casting has already begun on “Glee,” which was created and written by Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan. The studio is 20th Century Fox TV.

“It made sense for the network with the biggest hit in TV, which is a musical, to do something in that vein,” Murphy said. “But it’s not a kid show. The adult leads are equal in part to kid leads.”

“Glee,” which takes place in the Midwest, centers on Will, a Spanish teacher suddenly called upon to coach the glee club at the high school. The club is one of the worst in the nation — but the adults and kids are inspired to turn things around.

Murphy’s looking for a multicultural cast, as well as a mix of straight and gay characters.

The show’s leads won’t break out into song, but Murphy said the series will contain at least four songs per episode — organically sung onstage by the choir. Taking a page from “Idol,” the performers will croon popular, well-known tunes.

“No original music is being written,” he said. “It’s like ‘American Idol,’ a form of karaoke. People like to see people singing songs they know.”

Show’s a departure from the more darkly comedic dramas Murphy has done as of late, such as “Nip/Tuck” and the recent FX pilot “Pretty Handsome.”

But Murphy — who last tackled the high school world in his critically acclaimed but short-lived WB series “Popular,” said the show will still contain a “Fox edge.”

“It’s a 9 p.m. show, it’s not designed for 8,” he said. “But it is designed for families to watch together. It’s sweet, but it will appeal to both kids and adults, it’s written for both of them.”

Fox picked up the pilot just 15 hours after receiving the script, Murphy said. The scribe-producer said he felt the need to create a lighter show given “these dark and trying times.”

“There’s so much on the air right now about people with guns, or sci-fi, or lawyers running around,” he said. “This is a different genre, there’s nothing like it on the air at the networks and cable. Everything’s so dark in the world right now, that’s why ‘Idol’ worked. It’s pure escapism.”

Show is part of the massive pact Murphy signed last year with News Corp. entities FX, 20th and Fox.

Murphy will direct the pilot and exec produce with Falchuk; both Murphy and Falchuk would be showrunner should “Glee” go to series. Brennan will co-exec produce, while Mike Novick is a producer.

Murphy said he was inspired in part by his childhood in Indiana, where he secured the lead in all of his high school’s musicals. Novick and Brennan were also very involved in their schools’ glee clubs, he said.

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