The series premiere of NBC’s Smash was, in one completely uncreative word, smashing, helped, of course, by the opener’s intense, nail-biting conclusion.
In the final minutes of the hour, the two actresses vying for the role of Marilyn (Katharine McPhee’s Karen and Megan Hilty’s Ivy) were left belting out their numbers, while the audience wondered, as the screen faded to black, which one would walk away with the role. Luckily, executive producers Neil Meron and Craig Zadan were nice enough to give EW a few teases on the season to come. [Warning: Do not click on if you haven’t seen the series premiere of Smash.]
WHO WILL BE MARILYN?
The second episode of the season will tackle this question head-on, but not before a little more anxiety for the ladies awaiting word. But Meron warns, “who you think is going to play Marilyn – it might [end up being] somebody else.” That begs the question, however: What becomes of the second place finisher? As you might have guessed, Meron says “that’s a whole scenario that’s worked out. But, needless to say, our two girls will be singing.”After all, the network wouldn’t put both girls on their flashy posters just to knock one out of the game, right?
This is Broadway. Of course there will be a little backstabbing, cast drama, and , as Meron teases, “some characters [who] will be sleeping with one another.” “There will be affairs,” he says.
As viewers learned in the pilot, Julia (Debra Messing) and her husband, Frank, (Brian d’Arcy James) have set their sights on adoption, but Frank questions Julia’s commitment to expanding their family. “There are a lot of bumps in the road in terms of the adoption and in terms of how that impacts their relationship. And [the show explores] the stresses that having a career in show business and trying to juggle a personal life [has on] the marriage,” says Meron. “And, basically, what’s interesting about Debra Messing’s character is that she, basically, has two husbands that she has to juggle: her work husband and her husband at home. It does take a toll.”
MORE FAMILY DRAMA
Julia and Frank’s only son, teenager Leo (Emory Cohen), will also be the catalyst for a little drama, says Zadan, particularly as a result of neglect. “There are a lot of bumps in the road with their son,” he says. “A lot of things happen with the son that you don’t expect that are quite surprising.”
In the pilot, Ellis (Jaime Cepero) finds himself in hot water after filming a song from Julia and Tom’s (Christian Borle) forthcoming musical without their permission. And though he gets back in their good graces, Meron teases, “There’s going to be lots of twists and turns because he comes off as being such an innocent, but he’s really not an innocent…Nobody’s who you think they are, really.”
FLASHBACKS AND FANTASIES
Characters’ pasts are as rich as their presents, so there will be flashbacks, says Meron. And the fantasy sequences are also a device they plan on revisiting often. “We will kind of stretch the reality of a particular moment. We are so based in music that we feel we can be just a little bit fast and loose and be our own show as needed, in terms of how to tell the story.”
(Meghan Murphy-Gill contributed to this report.)