Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
With the stepping down of creator and original Smash showrunner Theresa Rebeck last April, the question ever since has been how season 2 of the NBC musical drama might differ — if at all — under new showrunner Joshua Safran. A few answers emerged this afternoon during a TCA session promoting the show’s sophomore campaign. Specifically, Safran plans, well, more of the same, just bigger and perhaps a little bit younger. “I had the great luxury to be an audience member through the first season,” he said. “As for changes, well, I don’t think it’s changed that much. The stuff you loved from last year is still there. Maybe there’s more music and maybe younger in regard to some cast members.” Returning to the show from the first season are Megan Hilty, Katharine McPhee, Debra Messing and Anjelica Huston. But they’re being joined by plenty of new faces, among them Jennifer Hudson (who appears in three of the first four episodes of season 2) as well as cameos from real-life Broadway vets including Bernadette Peters and Liza Minnelli. Safran also confirmed that, in terms of the original music increasing, there will be more than one new original song per episode as well as a greater number of musical sequences. “I kind of wanted to represent the bigger theatrical worldview on the show this season,” Safran added.
But Safran was reluctant to bash the show under the previous showrunner administration or really even to offer specifics of what he believes wasn’t working before he arrived. It was left to exec producer Neil Meron to address it — sort of. Referring to tweets about Smash that were less than kind during the first season and whether or not he agreed with them, Meron admitted only that “certain storylines were pinpointed where you could say, yes, they could have been a little bit moire impactful.” He also acknowledged “the show is still in the process of finding itself. It’s a lot of moving parts. It’s all about taking all of the moments that work and leaving it to Josh to keep things consistent in season 2.” Watch the trailer: