Glee is an American musical comedy-drama television series that airs on Fox in the United States. It focuses on the high school glee club New Directions competing on the show choir competition circuit, while its members deal with relationships, sexuality and social issues. The initial main cast encompassed club director and Spanish teacher Will Schuester (Matthew Morrison), cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch), guidance counselor Emma Pillsbury (Jayma Mays), Will's wife Terri (Jessalyn Gilsig), and eight club members played by Dianna Agron, Chris Colfer, Kevin McHale, Lea Michele, Cory Monteith, Amber Riley, Mark Salling and Jenna Ushkowitz. For the second season, formerly recurring cast members Mike O'Malley, Heather Morris and Naya Rivera were promoted to the main cast. For the third season, Harry Shum, Jr. and Darren Criss were promoted from recurring to the main cast, and both Gilsig and O'Malley were removed from star billing, though the latter is again in the recurring guest cast.
The series was created by Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan, the last of whom first conceived of Glee as a film. The three wrote all of the show's episodes for the first two seasons, and Murphy and Falchuk served as the show's main directors. The pilot episode was broadcast on May 19, 2009, and the first season aired from September 9, 2009 to June 8, 2010. The second season aired from September 21, 2010 to May 24, 2011, and thethird season began airing on September 20, 2011. Glee features on-screen performance-based musical numbers that are selected by Murphy, who aims to maintain a balance between show tunes and chart hits, and produced by Adam Anders. Songs covered in the show are released through the iTunes Store during the week of broadcast, and a series of Glee albums have been released by Columbia Records. The music of Glee has been a commercial success, with over thirty-six million digital single sales and eleven million album sales worldwide through October 2011. The series' merchandise also includes DVD and Blu-ray releases, a young adult book series, an iPad application, and a karaoke game for the Wii.
During its first season, Glee received generally favorable reviews from critics, with Metacritic's weighted average of 77 out of 100 based on eighteen critical reviews. The season was nominated for nineteen Emmy Awards, four Golden Globe Awards, six Satellite Awards and fifty-seven other awards, with wins including the 2010 Golden Globe Award for Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy, and Emmy awards for Jane Lynch, guest-star Neil Patrick Harris and Murphy's direction of the pilot episode. In 2011, the show once again won the Golden Globe Award for Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy. Jane Lynch and Chris Colfer won Golden Globes for Best Supporting Actress and Best Supporting Actor respectively; Matthew Morrison and Lea Michele also received nominations for Best Actor and Best Actress respectively. The show was also chosen by Fox to fill the coveted timeslot that followed the network's coverage of Super Bowl XLV in 2011. On July 14, 2011, Glee was nominated for twelve Primetime Emmys.