The super-sized hype about this weekend’s annual football playoff always feels like a huge party -- one I am not invited to -- going on in the next apartment.

SMASH, with Katharine McPhee as Karen Cartwright and Megan Hilty as Ivy Lynn (Mark Seliger)

(Disclaimer: For the first time since Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction in 2004 the 'Superbowl XLVI' halftime entertainment will headline a woman, Madonna, so I’ll probably look for some video of her performance on YouTube next week.) Anyway, NBC probably won’t miss me -- my husband and son will be watching the Giants vs Patriots this weekend -- as much for the ads as the game.

My husband also has a more rough and tumble taste for scripted programming than I do.  When I am out of the room he often switches to ‘Criminal Minds' or one of those bloody 'CSI' procedurals. To give an idea where my own more delicate sensitivities lie, my favorite new show on network television this season is an ABC fantasy titled “Once Upon a Time.” 

My son has to work at his video store job during the second half of the game and expects to be busy suggesting appropriately themed films for his customers. He plans to offer ‘The Replacements’ because he thinks it’s a better movie than ‘The Longest Yard’. Needless to say, on Sunday I’m also probably going to be more interested in counter programming. 

I’m thinking about watching that new hour-long TV show called “Smash” that NBC started teasing and promoting about a month ago (reminding viewers the premiere will air “Monday after the Superbowl).”  True to its promotional promise, “Smash” debuts next Monday, February 6, at 10 EST but, since NBC has a lot riding on this program, the network is hedging its bets by letting viewers watch the first episode early on its website, or Hulu or various electronic media.  Comcast, which owns NBC, is offering the Smash pilot now on their On Demand menu. 

For those who love live theater, love the idea of live theater, or just love Neil Patrick Harris hosting the Tonys, Smash looks like it will be our new appointment television show.  I suspect the network is anticipating a primarily female audience -- one of the principal advertisers is Nice n Easy color blend foam. As I program our TIVO for subsequent episodes I also suspect my husband probably won’t be joining me for the screenings. 

The Smash plot centers on the production of a Broadway musical (“Glee for Adults!”). TV Guide promises “dueling divas!” “backstage scandals.” The show within a show is a singing dancing production about iconic bombshell Marilyn Monroe. The hour long serial drama is from executive producer Steven Spielberg with a script by playwright Theresa Rebeck, who knows the New York theater landscape. Her comedy ‘Seminar’ is currently running on Broadway. The NBC program features hit ‘Will and Grace’ veteran Deborah Messing as a songwriter, Hollywood diva Anjelica Houston is a big theater producer, and the two aspiring actresses who vie for the star-making role of Marilyn are type- cast with former American Idol contestant Katharine McPhee as the Iowa ingénue with a dream, and Megan Hilty, who starred for a while in Wicked, as the more authentic Great White Way performer who has worked the boards in years of chorus lines.

I think I'll make popcorn.