The Washington Post

NBC’s ‘Smash’ culls cast for second season reboot

As many as four actors will be gone from “Smash” next year. (Mark Seliger/MARK SELIGER/NBC)

You know that great old Vincent Minelli musical “Band Wagon,” in which Jack Buchanan steamrolls Fred Astaire, Cyd Charisse, Oscar Levant, and Nanette Fabre into turning their new Broadway musical comedy into a modern day adaptation of the Faust story, only the audience said it stank on the road, so they take out all the rotten bits and turn it back into a musical comedy, and it’s a big hit?

 What they’re doing on NBC’s “Smash” for next season – it’s kinda like that.

NBC announced last week it would bring back next season its much ballyhooed scripted drama on the mounting of a Broadway musical about the life of Marilyn Monroe, which averaged 8.944 million viewers this season to rank No. 51 among all broadcast series.  Meanwhile, NBC cancelled “Harry’s Law,” which ranked No. 52 and averaged 8.916 million viewers. That’s maybe because “Harry’s Law” had an older audience, while “Smash”  this season was NBC’s second most popular scripted TV series among 18-34 year olds, who are the Holy Grail of Madison Avenue. In that age bracket, “Smash” finishes behind only “The Office” among NBC series.

 That said, the network and the show’s producers know the show went off the rails in its first season, and lost too many of its opening night’s audience of 11.5 million viewers.

 Already they’ve said so-long to the “Smash” show runner, and now it looks like they’re gutting the cast as part of a major re-boot for next season, with new show runner Josh Safran, best know for his “Gossip Girl” days.

 You know “Smash’s” diabolical assistant Ellis -- the one you most wanted to see the piano dropped on?

Gone, reports Entertainment Weekly.

 Ditto Katharine McPhee’s fiancé who, sadly, got somehow got turned into the town philanderer, as they looked to make McPhee’s character less annoying and more heroine-like.

 And, in another bid to give viewers someone they can actually root for in this show, Debra Messing’s Julia character will be given a chance to redeem herself – they’re expunging not only the object of her canoodling, Michael, but also her husband, Frank.

 Which means you won’t see much of Raza Jaffrey, Jaime Cepero, Brian d’Arcy James and Will Chase on the show next season, EW reports.



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