NBC programming chief Robert Greenblatt had to put his puppy down Wednesday.
The network announced its let’s-make-a-musical drama “Smash” is, as of April 6, moving to Saturdays to run out the rest of this season’s order.
“Smash,” starring Katherine McPhee as the Broadway newcomer cast to play Marilyn Monroe in a musical biopic, was a passion project of Greenblatt’s, who first developed it while running things at pay cable network Showtime. He brought it with him when he moved to NBC.
The show started strong when it was launched last season, but faltered as its first season continued. And, despite a show-runner change, and a cast overhaul, the second season failed to rebound, ratings-wise, contributing to a lousy first quarter for the network that finished the fourth in first place among 18-to-49-year-old viewers who are the currency of broadcast TV ad sales.
For the season to date, NBC has now slipped to third place in that age bracket, behind CBS and Fox.
Which explains why NBC is putting the pedal to the metal with a heavy dose of reality TV to get it through the end of the TV season in May, according to Wednesday’s announced schedule changes
Most noticeably, its new dating competition series “Ready for Love,” which had been scheduled to air Sunday at 8, will instead air Tuesdays at 9, following NBC’s singing competition hit “The Voice,” starting April 9. Eva Longoria exec produces “Love.”
(One week earlier, the season finale of Ryan Murphy’s freshman comedy “The New Normal” airs its season finale after “The Voice.”)
On Sundays, NBC will instead air reruns of its Tuesday and Wednesday episodes of “The Voice,” on March 31 and April 7, leading into “Celebrity Apprentice,” which will expand to two hours as of April 14.
Matthew Perry’s freshman comedy “Go On,” meanwhile, will get to follow “The Office” on Thursday nights for its final two episodes of the season, on April 4 and 11.