Why Hilarie Burton Is Stepping Away from the “One Tree Hill” Rewatch Podcast “Drama Queens”

Robert Buckley, who starred on seasons 7-9 of the series, is stepping in as the new host alongside Sophia Bush and Bethany Joy Lenz

<p>Adela Loconte/Shutterstock</p> Hilarie Burton Morgan attends the 2024 AMC Networks Upfront at Chelsea Factory

Adela Loconte/Shutterstock

Hilarie Burton Morgan attends the 2024 AMC Networks Upfront at Chelsea Factory

Is it the end of an era for the Drama Queens?

The One Tree Hill rewatch podcast, which is hosted by former costars Hilarie Burton, Sophia Bush and Bethany Joy Lenz, made its way through the end of season 6 of the hit series in late June, and now, the fate of one of their hosts is up in the air.

On the podcast’s June 24 episode, the ladies finished the season 6 finale, which marked the last episode Burton, 42, and her onscreen husband and baby daddy, Chad Michael Murray, appeared in as regulars – though Murray, 42, went on to reprise his role one final time in the final season.

With Burton’s character Peyton out of the picture, fans weren’t sure how involved the star would be since the podcast will continue for seasons 7, 8 and 9. On the July 8 episode, Burton gave an answer.

As she reflected on why the trio started the podcast three years ago, she said they wanted to share the “behind-the-scenes stories” and the “context” behind things, which “has been the most sort of healing and empowering” part.

Related: James Lafferty Was Ready to Walk Away from Acting Before Booking One Tree Hill: ‘My Last Shot’ (Exclusive)

<p>Fred Norris / Warner Bros. / Courtesy Everett</p> Hilarie Burton, Bethany Joy Lenz, Sophia Bush in season 2 of 'One Tree Hill'

Fred Norris / Warner Bros. / Courtesy Everett

Hilarie Burton, Bethany Joy Lenz, Sophia Bush in season 2 of 'One Tree Hill'

Now that she said she’s “reached the end of my behind-the-scenes experience on the show,” she “started to question what I brought to this, but also how we keep that storytelling alive and important.”

“And so as we head into seasons 7 through 9, it was important that we introduced a new queen who could take over for me,” Burton revealed.

While she said she’s “still gonna pop in here and there,” they wanted to find a new host “who represented the same things that I've brought to this show.”

The trio landed on Robert Buckley, who joined One Tree Hill in season 7, right as Peyton departed, as Clay Evans, the cocky sports agent to Nathan (James Lafferty) who ultimately marries Lenz’s character’s sister Quinn (Shantel VanSanten).

Related: Sophia Bush Has Fallen 'in Love For the First Time' with One Tree Hill amid Rewatch Podcast

<p>Fred Norris/The CW/Courtesy Everett Collection</p> Shantel VanSanten, Robert Buckley in 'One Tree Hill' season 7

Fred Norris/The CW/Courtesy Everett Collection

Shantel VanSanten, Robert Buckley in 'One Tree Hill' season 7

In a post on Instagram announcing that Buckley, 43, is joining the podcast, the actor was referred to as the "newest Drama Queen" in the caption. "We are so thrilled to have Robert joining us on this journey and we are so excited to watch alongside him!! New episode is out now on all platforms! 💕"

In his own post, he wrote that he's "very excited to be entering [his] Queen era. 👑 "

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Now that Buckley has stepped in, Burton said had a sense of peace ahead of recording this week's episode, because she wasn't nervously awaiting a new episode to debrief.

"It felt like I could finally take a deep breath," she said. "Because every single week, it was, Oh my God, I gotta tell that story. Oh, my god. We have to relive that. And there's, obviously, like, so much good stuff that was in it. But it – I would have to kinda psych myself up every week."

She continued, "And this was the first week in years at this point that I've been like, I don't have to – I don't have to divulge s--- today."

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