The Plan to Save Smash: NBC Execs Tout a 'More Consistent,' 'Edge of Your Seat' Season 2

Smash won’t raise the curtain on Season 2 until midseason, but already the NBC brass are seeing signs that the musical drama, which debuted amid much hubbub last winter, will get back on track and fulfill its promise.

At the Television Critics Association’s summer press tour in Beverly Hills on Tuesday, TVLine asked NBC chairman Robert Greenblatt and president of entertainment Jennifer Salke what it was that they bought into a little over a year ago that failed to materialize in the execution, resulting in the exit of Smash creator Theresa Rebeck, the enlistment of Gossip Girl alum Josh Safran as the Season 2 showrunner and a flurry of cast cuts.

“We had some ups and downs creatively as the season went on, which is true of any [new] show,” Greenblatt conceded. Specifically, he said where the show disappointed — and hopefully where Safran will fix things — is in “the arcing of storylines and … going one direction with a character and continuing in a really interesting way with that arc.”

RELATED | Smash Season 2 Scoop: Meet Karen’s Spunky New [Spoiler]!

Greenblatt said that, even though Smash is slated for a midseason return, filming of Season 2 has already begun and “there are some great new storylines,” including the addition of Tony Award nominee Jeremy Jordan (Newsies) and American Idol alum/Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson (who appears in three of the first four episodes).

Speaking to the issue of inconsistent storytelling, Salke said that in a meeting with Safran, “[His] vision for the season… was so specific, you were on the edge of your seat. It just felt like there’s a real plan in place and things are coming together in a way that feels more consistent.”

As for the dropping of poorly received characters such as Ellis, Dev, Michael Swift and Julia’s hubby Frank — to which we suggested that Leo could very easily also be sent packing, perhaps to Micronesia — Greenblatt said, “It’s a big soap with a number of characters [and] at the end of the season, relationships end. You look at characters and evaluate whether they’re great characters or not.”

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178 Comments
  1. Laurie Velasco says:

    I absolutely love, love, love Smash! It’s like a grown up Glee:-) So happy to hear that they’ve started filming Season 2! Can’t wait to see it!

  2. EZ4U2C says:

    I Loved Season 1 of Smash. I am thrilled to have something on Television other than Reality TV! I will watch Season 2 whenever it comes out and Pray they don’t screw it up!

  3. Carolyn says:

    Just re-watched the first season of SMASH, and I enjoyed just as much as the first season. All the actors are strong – Ellis has no ethics (the actor played him as written). Personally I loved Dev – the Ballywood scene was one of the best and he is very sexy.
    Don’t mess with this show just keep up the fun! No fair we have to wait till mid-season. I mostly down on NBC shows they are one joke. Exceptions are Parenthood and Smash.

  4. Candice Hughes says:

    LOVE the show…..can’t wait for season 2

  5. Owen says:

    Hope Leo will be gone. The acting was pretty bad and his character didn’t make sense. Super nice and “great” kid suddenly turns to drugs and turns his back to his mom? Almost as bad as Ivy’s random mean streak towards the end of the season. Uncalled for and cheesy. Otherwise I love the show!

  6. Tina Gibson says:

    LOVE LOVE LOVE SMASH! Why mess with pefection? You can tweak something so much you take the heart of it and loose what made it great in the first place. NBC have some faith in this show! It’s the best show that has come to television in many many many years!

    • I loved Smash and the only change I’d make is making it somehow work where both female stars could play Marilyn. But if only one can win, must it be Karen? Really??? As Marilyn Monroe? And here I was hoping that the devious Ellis had a real plan to bring Ivy back. C’mon people, this is a theater-themed soap opera. With song and dance! Leave believability and nice-guys-finish-first nonsense for viewers tuning in to …. um, whatever it is people who watch that watch. Bill Cosby? I just pray that the thirst for seriously talented song and dance + seriously beautiful actors carries Smash through a few more seasons!

    • Judy Aldrich says:

      I feel the same way, I loved the first season of Smash!!! I got so hooked on it that I couldn’t wait each week to watch it. I sure hope the powers that be don’t mess the next season up!!!

  7. Gayle says:

    I Like the show ,it’s too bad i have to wait till next year to see it.

  8. Walter Sonntaq says:

    THIS IS ONE OF THE BEST SHOWS ON TV IF NOT THE BEST .OR THE GOOD WIFE. THE TROUBLE WITH SHOWS SCH.NOT ENOUGH SHOWS AND OFF FOR TO LONG.

  9. Looney says:

    OMG, I’m sooooo excited I can’t wait till season 2 of Smash. I hope it doesn’t change sooo much. I do agree with getting rid of the pointless characters though. I just hope its jus as good or better than season 1. CAN’T WAIT. :-)

  10. Jeaegirl says:

    Hilty is so great. She isn’t a mere singer, she knows how to act in song and alter her music like a true Broafway Star. McFee has a great voice “of popular era” but everything comes out the same, the show is the I have seen on TV in forever. Dev’s bollywood number was show stopping. Ellis did his job great and we weren’t supposed to like him. I root for Ivy!!!!!!

  11. Mml says:

    So much potential for SMASH…can’t wait to see the new musical numbers and the return of the fabulous main characters. Glad to see Ellis and Michael go…but will totally miss Frank. He brought an endearing and real quality to the storyline.

    • jenny chen says:

      I agree. I feel Frank’s character kept a “down to earth” atmosphere amidst his wife’s big broadway career . I think its a mistake to axe so many characters, specifically both Frank and Dev. It seems unrealistic that now EVERY main character is single or from a broken family. Big mistake. This might not be Family Ties, but having at least ONE solid relationship in the show makes things more relate-able.

      Dev’s character also had the edge of bringing in some Political drama into the show as well. It unfortunately not an angle well-used in the first season, but there was potential to use it in the second season!

  12. jenny chen says:

    I actually liked the first season quite a bit… yes some flaws in writing but I liked Dev’s character and the chemistry he and Karen had. I’m worried about how the next season is going to end up like. I wish they kept Dev. The biggest mistake was bringing in Uma Thurman’s character… what a waste of several episodes. ONE episode with her was enough.

  13. gillie says:

    loved smash don’t bloody mess with it!

  14. Madeleine says:

    Smash is a great series but the show keeps getting more unbelievable because Karen got the part. This is a BROADWAY based tv show about making a BROADWAY musical and they end up not casting the BROADWAY girl?

    Katharine McPhee and Megan Hilty are both amazing, incredible talents, but it’s ridiculous that Ivy didn’t get the role. She fit Marilyn in every way, so the show had to make her look like the biggest bitch to make us root for Karen – who is a fantastic pop singer but isn’t Marilyn or Broadway material.

    Ivy should’ve gotten to role because of her experience and her sheer style – Megan Hilty is a Broadway star and Katharine McPhee would never win a Broadway role against her.

    Don’t get me wrong though – I adored Katharine McPhee and every Pop number she did was amazing, but the show is just a little stupid trying to make us believe that Karen should get the part when Ivy is clearly the better Marilyn.

  15. Wayne says:

    Finally find a great show on TV, instead of one of those dreadful reality shows and CSI type shows and it gets postponed until midseason. Never fails for the big wigs to screw up everything. There was nothing wrong with any of the shows or the actors in the first season, at all. It was very suspenseful beginning to end. It’s a great show. Don’t screw it up, big wigs!

  16. Mary Quinn says:

    Smash was a smash out of the gate. Why all the negativity?? I was really hoping it would be back on in Sept 2012. Now I will have something to look forward to after the holidays, Yes, a few characters and superfulous, the basics of the show is a GREAT BIG SMASH!!!!!

  17. Jane says:

    75-year old woman begs you not to cancel Smash! I’m a big TV/Movie fan and long for the day when Reality shows are banished from the entertainment business forever. Smash had great music and great acting last year. Tamper with it in moderation if you must, but please get that 2nd. season going soon. I’m dyin’ here!

  18. cat says:

    Well I’m glad to hear Season 2 will come about!! Albeit later in a new season. I loved S1 and got a number of co-workers to watch. We loved the songs & music…as well as story line…this is suppose to be about the makings of a musical, the behind the scenes drama amongst writers, directors, actors, investors as they move towards Broadway. Keep it going, we will keep watching!

  19. Teree says:

    Love Smash and can’t wait for it to return…flaws and all.
    Please do not mess up a good thing!

  20. Crystal Cawthon says:

    I have been searching the menu and on demand waiting for this show to start again. I hope this show doesn’t get canceled. I really enjoyed the first season.

  21. Debbie Henderson says:

    Cmon people. This show is great. PALEASE!!! Dont cancel or change a thing ! Get a move on and start Season 2 already !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :(

  22. karen young says:

    I LOVED Smash. I was hoping it would return this fall. I’m anxiously waiting for Season 2. Dont cancel it on me. It was the only good thing to watch.

  23. Samantha says:

    I love SMASH, and I also really loved Julia’s story line between her two men. I LOVED Michael Swift and wished he was still a character on the show. He was perfect for this show, and should continue to be on SMASH.

  24. Carl says:

    Best show ever!!!!!! Love it wsoooooooo much

  25. Kayla Anderson says:

    SMASH does for broadway what House and Grey’s Anatomy did for medicine.
    Substance, emotion, and intelligence aren’t rampant in the tv industry anymore, and its not like we need to fill the time slot with more disgusting sitcoms.

  26. Nikki Pagano says:

    Oh my Gosh!!!!!!!!! Are you kidding ??? SMASH WAS THE BEST SHOW LAST SEASON!!! I refuse to watch NBC if they continue to cause problems!! What is going on with the NBC NETWORK it truly used to be one of my favorite networks now without question I m considering not even watching ANY show on NBC if they don’t bring SMASH BACK!!!! This is my opinion and undoubtedly going to be an uncanny decision I’m going to make by not watching even Ellen whom I really enjoy if they continue to create problems for great TV..

    Sincerely,

    Nikki

  27. Paula says:

    NBC execs need to have their head examined, first Saving hope gets axed now this!!! what is wrong with them both of these are great shows, America is sick of reality tv and talent shows, I know they are probably cheaper to produce,with no need for writers, but can we please get back to entertaining television!

  28. April says:

    I love love LOVE SMASH!!!! It was my favorite show last year and can’t wait for it to come back. Goodbye Ellis and DeV, glad to see them go. Please don’t get rid of this show!!!! I’m so excited to see what happens next!!!!!

  29. Christina says:

    I cannot wait for season 2!!! I absolutely love this show and as soon as The Voice came on i waited for SMASH to show but it never did so i was so disAppointed ): i never really cared for musical shows (Glee, sorry, was ANNOYING). I had watched Katherine McFee go through American Idol and caught McFever lol i HAD to watch SMASH after that(: i seriously hope NBC doesn’t screw this show up, it’s the best they have!!!!

  30. Bob Conti says:

    I think Smash is awesome. I loved it the way it was, but I’d rather see changes than have the show end. I think Katherine McPhee is brillant and she can sing anything. Can’t wait for season 2. GOOD LUCK TO THE ENTIRE CAST!!!!!!

  31. Wendy Deane says:

    I agree with all the positive comments….I hate waiting for the new season to start. I was watching all the last season shows on Cox Demand but now they’ve run out so I can’t even do that……..PLEASE release the serries sooner so we can enjoy it!

    Loved all of last seasons shows!!!!

  32. Terri Combs says:

    I love SMASH – I bought the CD and play it all the time!! – I don’t see how this show needed fixing…I LOVED IT. I will miss Dev – not sure why you felt he should be taken off the show. Looking forward to January getting here so I can get back to watching my favorite show.

  33. Obviously SMASH has done what it set out to do, draw in viewers: I like Kat; I don’t like Kat. Poor Dev; Get rid of Dev, etc. It is a show within a show, within another show. The “soap” effect is what makes the show compelling. The musicality gives it credability. I miss the good ol’ American musical. It’s about time that someone took the chance to bring it back. It is not just a “girly” show. My husband loves it and we can’t wait for the next season.

  34. Kristina says:

    I LOVE this show! I have been anxiously awaiting the next season. I have not seen any issues in storyline or anything else. I love the characters and the interwoven lives that all seem to hinge on each other. Derek is fantastic, along with ivy and Karen. The story wouldn’t be the same without Eileen and her bartender friend!!!! I can’t wait until January when it starts up again. I will definitely buy the music from season 2, just like I bought the season 1 soundtrack off iTunes. Please keep this show up and running for years to come.

  35. Lee Bivins says:

    Finally an answer to when this fantastic show will return. NBC has to account for taking Harry’s Law off the air. A fabulous show with Emmy Nominations. Are they out of their minds. Replacing it with crap only fools would watch. However back to Smash. Just do what the smart viewers want and keep the great show with its twists and turns going. All of my adult educated and Broadway saavy friends we glued to the screens on Monday.
    Loved the mixing of song and dance into the story line. Isn’t that what a musical is?
    Commercial tv is such a waste that’s why we watch PBS, CNN & TMC.
    Smash shows that it can be done…just DO IT!

  36. Melissa says:

    I love this show I watch the YouTube video’s over and over and wondered when the show was going to come back on so I looked it up. I can’t believe all the bad reviews on the show. I’m like really!!!!!! It’s amazing and has amazing singers and I don’t think they need to change anything. For sure it Does Not need to get cancelled.

  37. KENT LLEWELLYN says:

    PLEASE KEEP SMASH ON IT HAS GREAT SONGS AND STORYLINES. MAKE THE MUSIC AVAILABLE FOR SAIL SO WE CAN SING SOME OF THE SONG IN CHORUS GROUPS

  38. Jodi Latimer says:

    I agree with all the people that love SMASH! I can’t get enough. I think NBS need to get rid of the riff raff like stupid shows where the electricity goes out all over the world, it doesn’t even make sense. Please don’t make us wait for smash….

  39. bobbie says:

    Man love smash have been anxiously waiting for season two…hope it starts…it a very entertaining serial, filled w very talented cast n crew.

  40. nancy says:

    Two of my favorites Smash and Harry’s Law, and they are both gone. I loved all the cast on both shows and the story line. It was something easy to keep up with and look forward to the next weeks show.

    • S. Gray says:

      I loved Harry’s Law…saved season 1 and now season2. I AM NOT OVER 49…but apparently the demographics were not good. Kathy Bates has become so seasoned and this was a great character for her. Too bad NBC can’t get it right. If they keep messing u…people will just stop watching new programs for fear they will never get an ending.

  41. James Agard says:

    GLEE” GETS “SMASHED”
    It is true that GLEE has made some great contributions to social awareness, however SMASH has quietly and without the fanfare of the media has made some strong positive statements about such social hot words as interracial relationships, gay love, Church, acceptance of self-image and family.
    GLEE has made some wonderful positive statements about gay life and the hardships that growing up young people; gay or straight must face. However GLEE, as with many major shows lacked a very important element during the past seasons which is the image of a self-assured strong Black Gay Male in a continuing role.
    SMASH has given us Leslie Odon Jr. in the role of Sam, a young Black Man who, is respected by his family, loves sports, has always sung in his Church choir, has a passion to dance, has a strong self-image, is wise, kind, caring and he is gay!
    As a Black gay man it is a pleasure to finally see such an image on National T.V. With this role played so wonderfully by Leslie Odon Jr. the stereotypes of a gun toting, drug dealing, uneducated man, who is not a detective or side kick have been put to rest.
    I hope that those in the media finally see this viewpoint and give Leslie Odon Jr. and SMASH the credit they deserve for giving the Black Gay Community a positive image.

  42. S. Gray says:

    I have been on bedrest for a week. I just watched all the first season again…man I love it and can’t wait for the season two. Please don’t lose Dec or anyone else…they fit for now and anyone who watched season one should feel a kindred spirit to all the ties. Leave it alone.

  43. nippi says:

    With third of the cast gone and several new characters it won’t be the same Smash anymore. Too bad, I’ve really enjoyed this show! Ellis was the only one whose disappearance is beliveable – but what about, say, Frank, with Julia being pregnant and all?

  44. Jan Barre says:

    I loved every minute of Season One and am looking forward to Season Two. I can’t afford tickets ti the theater right now, but having “Smash” to look forward to each week sure made the cost of cable (On Demand) seem worth it,because if I wanted to see a musical number again I could just dial it right up. Loved Angelica Houston and the bartender!!!

  45. F. Spinelli says:

    I Think SMASH IS GREAT!!!! PLEASE LEAVE THE CAST AS IS!!! THE SHOW IS GREAT ALONG WITH THE CAST IF I HAD TO MAKE ONE SUGGESTION LEAVE JENNIFER HUDSON OUT OF IT!!!! SO SORRY WE HAVE TO WAIT UNTIL JANUARY TO SEE SEASON 2. SMASH IS A SMASH

  46. laura says:

    I don’t usualy go in for all these singing programs but thought i’d give smash a go since i liked the cast line up, and i have to say i was hooked!! I just wish Bomshell was a real musical as i would pay to see it!!

  47. Phil says:

    Smash is pure CLASS in an age of TV trash this is the best show on TV !! Love it .. Love it!!! Have season 1 on DVD & the ” Bombshrll” CD soundtrack sounds awesome !
    What a fantastic cast of singers , songs , & production all around!! I really saw no need for the major changes in season 1 – would at least like to see these actors apprear from time to time in future episodes !! Live Dev & Leo !! Dev would do more than write a note to his beloved Karen!!!
    NBC please have enough faith I this classy Smash nor to cancel !! Will be a cult fav forever & needs enough episodes for future retuns!
    We hope to finally get a 2 part episode of the entire ” Bomshell ” musical in its entirety – finally after 2 seasons on mere clips!! This could be apart of the episodes or stand alone as a special a la MTVs broadcast of ” legally Blinde the musical ” !!! Please consider this !! The cast & music ate too good nor to present this musical in full!!!
    I work in theatre & amazed that no one has ever heard of Smash when I talk about it!!! What’s up with that? Right down our alley too!!!!!
    NBC – please rebroadcast episodes several times a week like AMC does with Mad Men – even rerun on BRAVO
    The show needs a decent time slot , more promo!!
    Those that I do know who watch DVR it in this busy world!!!
    A full soundtrack of ALL music hopefully in the works?
    As I’ve noticed on you tube that ” 1000 & 1 nights ” is everyone’s favorite song & not released on either CD!!
    NBC – you are first class here with Smash!!
    Please don’t cancel! Bring back quality TV !!!!

  48. Phlash12 says:

    So Season Two has “consistent” storytelling? Are they watching the same show we are?????

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