SMASH at NBC TCA: Our Liveblog - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

SMASH at NBC TCA: Our Liveblog

January 6, 2012 by  

NBC is launching SMASH next month, and it’s a fairly ambitious show. The series follows the conception and production of a Broadway musical based on the life of Marilyn Monroe.

Right now, I’m in Pasadena for the NBC TCA day, and since this is one of my favorite shows of the midseason, I wanted to do what I could to bring you guys into the panel with me. So, to try and make things a little easier, I’m liveblogging the SMASH panel for you.

Scheduled to attend are Debra Messing, Anjelica Huston, Katharine McPhee, Megan Hilty, Jack Davenport, Christian Borle, Jaime Cepero, Raza Jaffrey, and executive producers Justin Falvey, Darryl Frank, David Marshall Grant, Neil Meron, Marc Shaiman, Scott Wittman, Craig Zadan and creator Theresa Rebeck.

So keep refreshing for our liveblog from TCA, which should start around 3:30 PM PT!

3:32 PM – Executive producer Steven Spielberg taped a message for us about SMASH: “I’m sure I’m not the first person who comes to mind when you think of musical theater!” he jokes.

3:35 – NBC executive Robert Greenblatt says the pilot will be streaming starting January 16th on all of their digital download partners including iTunes and Xbox, as well as their on-demand partners. A week before the show premieres, it will be streaming on and

3:36 – They’re showing us a sizzle reel for the show. If they officially release this, I’ll be sure to get it up for you guys.

3:40 – The panel is starting and yes, there are a lot of people on stage. First question is for the producers about how much storyline is used up in the first two episodes. According to Rebeck, “It was a strategic decision because what we learned when we worked with the material is that for a good six months, you just sit around writing and who wants to see writers writing?” It was important to collapse the plot a little bit, Rebeck says, but the speed will slow down.

3:43 – David Marshall Grant likes “you’re in a time zone that it’s hard to pin down” in the first two episodes.

3:44 – Rebeck says that season one will be taking the play of “Marilyn” out on the road to try it out, whereas a potential season 2 will be getting the show on Broadway.

3:45 – McPhee says she enjoys singing the original songs for SMASH. She says she considers herself more of a pop singer, so it’s an interesting change.

3:46 – When someone asks whether the goal is to make “Marilyn” a real musical, Rebeck clarifies that right now, they’re trying to make a good show.

3:48 – “The drama that happens behind the curtain is way more interesting than what happens on stage,” Hilty says of her real experience in Broadway.

3:49 – “I can’t believe you’re asking us questions — look, it’s Anjelica Huston!” Shaiman says after someone asks him about the lyrics.

3:50 – Rebeck says they’re focusing on making the show, versus how much NBC may or may not have at stake with the show.

3:51 -The songs will be released on iTunes on the day of the new episodes.

3:52 – “Because it’s beautifully written, it’s a fantastic cast of actors…we’re working with the best of the best. I’d be a fool not to participate,” Huston says of choosing SMASH.

3:53 – I’m shocked no one has asked Debra Messing a question (yet).

3:54 “I had been interested in doing a show like this for a number of years, but my agent was like, ‘Don’t even bother pitching that,'” Rebeck says.

3:55 – “I don’t know if I could write a good musical about Marilyn Monroe, but I do know I could write a great television show about people trying to write a musical about Marilyn Monroe,” Rebeck says.

3:58 – Hey, our first Debra Messing question and it’s about her family story in the series. “That was one of the things that was most exciting to me when I read the pilot and what I related to,” Messing says. “She wants that home life, she wants that balance. I love that nothing is simple.”

4:00 – “I wouldn’t compare my experiences on both, I would just say I’m so grateful,” Messing says of the WILL & GRACE and SMASH comparisons.

4:01 – “When Ryan Murphy did GLEE, he broke a great barrier,” Zadan says of the GLEE comparisons. “I don’t think any of us feel the show is like GLEE, but we’re grateful for it opening that door.”

4:03 – Hilty says being a live performer naturally sets the stage for high drama because there is so much at stake. And given all the drama in Marilyn’s life, that makes her the perfect subject for SMASH.

4:07 – “Each of them creates a different Marilyn,” Rebeck notes when a critic talks about how viewers will form their own opinions on who the “right” Marilyn is for the play.

4:08 – “I’m ready,” Davenport says, after he’s informed the next question will be for him. He says he thought he would never get the part, given the roles he’s played in the past.

4:10 – “I get to be kind of evil. And I like it,” Davenport says.

4:12 – Rebeck says she’d love to do musicals based on Victorian novels.

4:13 – Rebeck says nothing for season 2 has been nailed down. They know it will be “Marilyn” goes to Broadway, but whether they introduce a new show will be determined at a later time.

4:15 – They’re screening a musical number from episode 5.

4:19 – And we’re done! Thanks for reading our liveblog.

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