Few series in recent memory have created as big a stir as NBC’s Smash. Less because there was anything overtly controversial about it, and more out of the weird schadenfreude surrounding its production. It’s an ugly thing when you see as many people praying for a show to fail as there were when Smash premiered, and the reasons were numerous: dislike of Katharine McPhee, hatred of Debra Messing’s character and her increasingly ludicrous scarves, the asinine plotlines, ELLIS, etc. Yet I found the show to be so guileless in its approach to the world of musical theater that I don’t think I could ever hate it. This is just a roundabout way of saying I’m excited for season two, particularly with Entertainment Weekly’s behind-the-scenes story on the second season premiere.
Early word is that the season, fronted by new showrunner Joshua Safran (of the recently-departed Gossip Girl) is a considerable improvement over its predecessor. If nothing else, it’s upping the star count, with upcoming appearances from Jennifer Hudson, Sean Hayes and Liza Minelli. Check out the cover:
New showrunner Joshua Safran (Gossip Girl) got the gig after selling NBC on his plan for the new Smash: More star power (Jennifer Hudson! Liza Minnelli!), more ambitious plotting, more original music (including tunes from a new Rent-esque project called Hit List), and absolutely no more scarves. Judging by the first three episodes, Safran has given Smash some much-needed mood stabilizers to eradicate its whiplash tone and character shifts, and the new players — like bad boy songwriter Jimmy (Jeremy Jordan), a love interest for Karen, and Broadway superstar Veronica Moore (guest star Hudson) — bring fresh energy to the storytelling. Basically, this season could be retitled Smash 2.0: Go Big or Go Home. “Some things you’ll fail with because being audacious doesn’t always fly,” says NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt. “But I think we have to be audacious or we’re dead.”
Watch footage of EW’s cover shoot below with stars Katharine McPhee and Megan Hilty alongside Smash newcomer Jennifer Hudson, who appears in three episodes this season.
For the full story, plus the behind the scenes video of the photo shoot: Entertainment Weekly