Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s coverage of TCA.
NBC’s multimillion-dollar, Steven Spielberg-produced new musical drama Smash rolled out at TCA this afternoon, carrying with it the primetime hopes and dreams of struggling NBC. To generate maximum sampling and word-of-mouth in advance of the show’s February 6 premiere, the network has launched an extensive promo campaign. It includes consumer screenings in 10 major markets next week, digital downloads over Apple iTunes and Amazon Video, VOD and in-flight screenings on American Airlines. (Fingers crossed that American’s declaration of bankruptcy won’t be a bad omen.) NBC.com and Hulu also will stream portions of Smash from January 23 through February 6. The heavy marketing push is understandable given the stakes for an expensive series whose pilot reportedly cost $7.5 million. And there’s its heavyweight pedigree — not just Spielberg but film, TV and Broadway producers Neil Meron and Craig Zadan and many others. While there is an idea for the musical show about a theater staging a musical about Marilyn Monroe to spawn a real Broadway production of Merilyn, that is not the main goal, creator-exec producer Theresa Rebeck said. “What we are aiming to do is write a great television show. That is really what we’re all about. And what happens in the future, who knows? Like we could all die tomorrow or something.”