Pasadena, Calif. – Despite all the changes made to NBC’s Smash in its off-season – a new showrunner in Josh Safran, the elimination of several disliked cast members and addition of big guest stars like Jennifer Hudson — the executive producers insist they were not out to radically revamp the drama.
“I don’t really think it’s changed that much,” Safran said at the Television Critics’ Association winter press tour Sunday. “The stuff that you loved from last year is still there. Just sort of bigger, there’s more music, it’s maybe younger in some regards.”
One change is that Smash will add more music sequences per episode and more original songs, and will represent more diverse musical styles. Much of that is done through the addition of a new show-within-the-show called “Hit List,” which adds Jeremy Jordan as an aspiring Broadway star and potential new love interest for Katharine McPhee’s character.
Executive producer Neil Meron said he “read everything” that was written about the show in its first season and that “there were certain things that were written that I actually thought made a lot of sense,” though he declined to offer specifics (besides nixing those ubiquitous scarves).
“When we felt things were going off kilter in season one we would read about them in blogs,” executive producer Craig Zadan said in agreement. “A lot of it reinforced our own instincts about the show.”
And though rumors have swirled since Smash’s inception that the Marilyn Monroe musical “Bombshell” might move from TV to a real Broadway production, Meron said no plans are in place at this time.
“We always say wouldn’t this show be great on Broadway? That’s basically where we left it,” he said. The first priority is to make the TV show, that’s what we’re focused on. All of us think yes [it would be great]. Have we done anything? No.”