Smash Producers Weigh In on Season 1 Backlash and the Plan to 'Correct' Any Mistakes

“I’d say good riddance, but we’re still stuck with him.”

Those words, spoken this week by Smash‘s Julia to Tom in reference to the cartoonishly conniving Ellis, seemed all but written by disenfranchised fans of NBC’s musical drama. Or perhaps the snarky sentiment was envisioned as a meta nod to one of Season 1’s shortcomings.

But the fact is, the bulk of Smash‘s 15-episode freshman run was already in the bank at the time of the show’s February bow. Meaning, any elements that quickly struck a sour note with viewers must be lived with, for the time being. Come Season 2, though — and there will be a Season 2 — things could change, presumably for the better.

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Presented by TVLine with a recounting of Smash‘s less popular storylines — Ellis the omnipresent eavesdropper, Julia the impulsive adulterer, the intermittent but entirely superfluous adoption saga — executive producer Neil Meron said, “It’s common for all first-season shows to go through a shakedown, and for a show to kind of find its footing. And I think what’s happened [with Smash].”

The ray of light, he offers, is that “as the episodes continue, you’ll see certain things slip away, and focuses and emphasis shifted.”

EP Craig Zadan, who with Meron was honored at the GLAAD Media Awards this past weekend, echoed that the promise of a second season is “to analyze what worked and what didn’t work, and then … correct it, put it on course, and hopefully make it bigger and better.”

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Of course, as reported simultaneously with the show’s Season 2 pick-up, Smash will raise the curtain on its sophomore run with a new showrunner in place, as series creator and Broadway vet Theresa Rebeck steps away to return to her stage endeavors. (She currently has Seminar playing on Broadway, plus at least two others works in circulation.)

Asked about the succession plan, Meron said that given the recent nature of the Rebeck news, “We’re just kind of figuring that out right now.” But both he and Zadan stressed that Rebeck, who will retain the titles of creator and executive producer, will still have a hand in the show’s future.

That said, the matter of filling the vacancy is a critical one, especially given how Smash wraps up its maiden run.

As Phillip Spaeth, who plays Marilyn chorus member Dennis, tells us, Season 1 “ends in a place where I’m curious to see who’s coming in and what the writing team will be like next year. Because the way it’s left… is very exciting. Season 1 definitely ends on a ‘Now what?’ note.” (With reporting by Alyse Whitney)