SMASH at TCA: Live-Blog
January 6, 2013 by Marisa Roffman
SMASH is returning on February 5th for its second season and there will be changes underway: not only will many of the supporting characters be gone (bye, Ellis!), but former GOSSIP GIRL boss Josh Safran is now in charge.
Safran, along with fellow executive producers Neil Meron and Craig Zadan, plus series stars Megan Hilty, Katharine McPhee, Anjelica Huston, Christian Borle, Jack Davenport, Jeremy Jordan, Andy Mientus, Leslie Odom, Jr., and Krysta Rodriguez will be on hand to talk with press shortly, so stay tuned for our live-blog of what they have to say about what’s to come…
4:43: Panel is starting a little bit late, but we just saw an awesome sizzle reel. Lots of Jennifer Hudson featured, unsurprisingly.
4:44: Safran says he liked the show was already established; he was a fan from season 1. “The stuff that you love from last year is still there,” he says. He says there are some tangents they tried to flesh out on a little bit.
4:46: A critic asks about a possibly meta line in the premiere where the in-show critics say the problems about “Bombshell” are with the storyline. Safran says it’s not intended to be meta.
4:48: Safran says there will be a lot more music in season 2. He cites the widespread amount of depth of Broadway today and he wants to bring that in.
4:49: Mientus will be singing on the show…they found a creative way to make it work even though he’s not a singer by nature in the series.
4:49: Safran notes that NBC boss Bob Greenblatt was responsible for helping to get Jennifer Hudson on the show in season 2.
4:50: Will Ellis be back? “Ellis is still alive,” Meron notes. Uh oh…
4:51: Hilty says some of her friends have comments about the reality of what happens on SMASH versus real life. “Why do that when it’s so fantastic?” Hilty jokes. There’s something very inside Broadway coming up in season 2 that Borle thinks some fans might not believe it’s actually real.
4:53: A reporter notes SMASH was one of the gayest shows on television and wanted to know if that would change this season. Mientus said his character is gay, so there is that addition.
4:54: “For Christmas, we got her voice lessons,” Hilty jokes of working with Hudson.
4:55: Is “Bombshell” coming to Broadway in real-life? While there’s temptation, they’re focusing on the SMASH series right now. “All of us think yes [it should be on Broadway],” Meron says.
4:57: “If SMASH is going to connect to anyone, it would be us first, so yes, I watched it,” Jordan says of watching the series before joining in season 2.
4:58: “For me, it’s a lot of fun because I’m playing Eileen Rand on quite a few levels,” Huston notes of her character, pointing specifically to Eileen falling in love with “a nefarious bartender.” She notes she’s “braver than I am…maybe a bit more honest than I am.”
5:01: “It does feel like I was a different person,” McPhee says of her AMERICAN IDOL days. She says she’s grateful it “did what it was supposed to do”: take her to the next level.
“I made it to the very end, isn’t that crazy?” McPhee asked.
“That’s because I voted for you like a million times,” Hilty says.
5:04: “TV series isn’t our first profession but now we love it,” Meron says. He says he reads everything, and hopes he was objective enough to take in certain criticisms.
5:05: The panelists seem thankful for Safran’s input. They said some things they felt weren’t working right in season 1 and he had ideas to fix them. He also further expanded on executive producer Stephen Spielberg’s idea to add one new musical to the series per year.
5:07: We’re seeing an upcoming clip from the show: Jordan and McPhee are singing an original song, “I Heard Your Voice in a Dream.”
5:11: “I love our relationship because it’s a constant roller coaster,” Hilty says. She notes you never know if they’ll be friends and “then someone ruins it by sleeping with her fiancee.”
“For a while, we live in our own worlds” in season 2, McPhee adds.
5:12: “It would be physically taxing and impossible to try and do that in every number,” McPhee says of singing live in the taping of the show versus lip-syncing in the series.
Hilty also noted that due to lighting equipment, etc., sometimes it’s very difficult for the sound to actually be picked up. Jordan says whenever he sings on the show, he may be lip-syncing, but he also sings along with it.
5:14: “The first one that comes to mind are the scarves,” Meron says of the negative tweets he read. But he did allow that there are some storylines that he agreed could be tightened up.
5:15: “Theresa is a really great artist and her focus was very much taken up by a lot of her other loves, which also includes theater,” Meron says of SMASH creator Rebeck leaving.
5:18: Jordan cites being at the “right place at the right time with the right energy” for his real Broadway break.
5:19: We’ll be seeing more of Derek directing this season. “Thank God,” Davenport says. (The only thing he’s said all panel.)
5:20: We’re closing the panel with the opening musical number from episode 4!
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