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Hilarie Burton has recorded the following somewhat awkward video message which seems to confirm that she will in fact be leaving the show next season:
Message From Hilarie Burton
How odd... She doesn't say either way whether she is leaving. Is it me or did she sound kind of upset...? Like she was being forced out. Strange. Point is, we need her. If we lose any of the main characters it just wouldn't work. If Hilarie goes - well season seven will be the last one of OTH.
Now that it's pretty much confirmed that Hilarie is leaving and having watched one of the trailers for 6.17 saying that peyton could die if she has the baby i think that the finale will end with peyton dieing whilst in labour and then if chad is leaving too i reckon that lucus will take the baby and go be with his mum.
. . . just a thought.
I really really really hope that they dont leave, it'll be so sad and OTH wont be the same without them.