Bombshell – the Marilyn Monroe musical that was being rehearsed on NBC’s now-canceled series Smash – is being readied for life as an stage production following a successful, one night event concert staged as a benefit of the Actors Fund.
Beginning Saturday, April 6th, NBC is shifting Smash from its primetime Tuesday slot to Saturdays. The Voice will encore on Sunday, March 31st and April 6th, leading into new episodes of Celebrity Apprentice – which will expand to two-hour episodes thereafter (can you say ‘burn them off?’).
Details on these changes and more follow the jump.
It may not be burning up the ratings race, but NBC is showing a little faith in its critically acclaimed freshman series Smash. The network today announced that smash will be back for a second second season. The series is about the making of a Broadway musical about Marilyn Monroe – and the lives of the people involved in the production.
Smash [NBC, Mondays, 10/9C] is a risky oddball of a series that was developed for cable before winding up on NBC. The story of the mounting of a Broadway play, Marilyn: The Musical, it is a big budget swing for the fences that knocks it out of the park.
It is extremely refreshing to see a series where a courtroom, a hospital, or a crime scene are nowhere in sight. Networks don’t often take chances on a series without one of those popular and successful staples as its foundation. And let’s also get another thing straight – with the exception of the inclusion of songs and musical numbers, there is simply no comparison between Smash and Glee, the first being a serious drama and the latter a comedy that doesn’t take itself too seriously. The good thing about Glee is that its success helped open the door to other shows interested in including music in its formats.
Smash takes us behind the scenes into the world of Broadway giving us views through the eyes of the struggling artist looking for that one break to fulfill their dreams; the creative team looking for inspiration in developing the next big thing along with its music and dance numbers; and the people who can write the checks to pay for it all. The characters involved through each of these views are interesting and engaging, and the talented cast does an excellent job bringing them to life. The musical numbers are richly produced and give a true sense of a Broadway stage while giving us an often-painful peek behind the curtain. But the thing that will keep viewers interested will be the personal dramas associated with all the characters. Based on the Pilot episode alone, Smash appears to be hitting all the right notes.
Things begin to get interesting in January as NBC premieres its mid-season schedule. Included in its four new series are: the highly regarded [and for good reason – the pilot is delightful] Smash [pictured above]; The Firm – sequel series to the Tom Cruise movie adaptation of John Grisham’s novel of the same name; Are You There, Chelsea? – the sitcom based on the memoir by Chelsea Handler, and Fashion Star – a reality series set [surprise!] in the world of fashion.
The schedule also sees new timeslots for Whitney, Up All Night, Rock Center with Brian Williams and Harry’s Laws. Other returning series include: The Voice, 30 Rock, The Celebrity Apprentice and Who Do You Think You Are?
There’s no mention of the parallel worlds/procedural/family drama Awake, which has one of the best pilots of the 2011-2012 season. Color me very disappointed.
As the network with the biggest need to attain credibility with the American public, is going for it! The network’s new drama schedule runs the gamut from traditional to way, way out there, with The Firm, a sequel to John Grisham’s The Firm, and an adaptation of Lynda LaPlante’s brilliant U.K. series, Prime Suspect. Other new series include Playboy Club, Awake [a police detective finds himself living in two worlds after a tragic car accident], Grimm [a world in which the fairytales of the Brothers Grimm were real] and Smash [the last being positioned for a mid-season premiere].
On the comedy side, NBC has taken six pilots to series: Are You There Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea!, Bent, Best Friends Forever, Free Agents and Up All Night.