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Jennifer Hudson To Recur On NBC ‘Smash’

By | Friday June 22, 2012 @ 3:58pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

She already has an Oscar, a Golden Globe a Grammy. Now Jennifer Hudson is going for an Emmy. The Dreamgirls co-star is set to appear in a multi-episode arc on NBC’s musical drama Smash next season, beginning with the second-season premiere. Hudson will play Veronica Moore, a Tony Award-winning Broadway star who impacts the lives of Karen (Katharine McPhee) and Ivy (Megan Hilty). “This series is a showcase for some of the best musical talent in the business and that’s a fitting description for Jennifer Hudson,” NBC chairman Bob Greenblatt said. “Her character will represent someone who reached their Broadway dream but also paid a price for it.” The stint reunites Hudson with Smash executive producer Steven Spielberg whose company DreamWorks also produced Dreamgirls. “I have no doubt Jennifer will continue to deliver even more inspiration to the audience responsible for giving us a second season on NBC,” he said. Smash will now feature two famous American Idol alumnas next season: McPhee, who was a finalist in Season 5, and Hudson, who was on the third season of the reality series.

Related: Josh Safran To Join ‘Smash’ As Showrunner

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NBC Brass On Amping Up Comedy, Axing ‘Harry’s Law’ & Keeping ‘Whitney’, ‘Center’

By | Sunday May 13, 2012 @ 11:34am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

NBC is bringing back 13 comedy series — seven new and six returning — vs. 9 dramas — five new and four returning, so it was clear its schedule was going to be comedy-heavy. But the network is making a big statement with comedy blocks on four nights: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. That is a very rapid expansion since for a number of years the network had comedies solely on Thursday until opening a second night on Wednesday last season. This fall, the network is launching two more blocks, one from 9-10 PM on Tuesday, following The Voice results show, with Go On and The New Normal, and one on Friday at 8 PM with Whitney and Community. Loading up on comedies was intentional, NBC chairman Bob Greenblatt said. “Comedy once was the backbone of NBC, and I think we need to really plan for the future. It is good for the health of the network. People are open to comedy more than they have been in long time.”

NBC’s 2012-13 Fall Schedule

With the exception of The Office and Parks & Recreation, which were picked up with full-season, 22-episode orders, most NBC returning comedy series have 13-episode orders, including Community, 30 Rock and Up All Night. Greenblatt was quick to note that “a 13-episode order … Read More »

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RATINGS RAT RACE: ‘Castle’ Up, ‘2 Broke Girls’ Down, ‘Voice’ Up & Down In Finales

By | Tuesday May 8, 2012 @ 9:23am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Last night featured three finales as the broadcast season winds down. The performance finale of NBC’s The Voice (3.7/10) was up 6% from the performance-show low it hit last week but down 16% from the series’ Season 1 performance finale, which aired in late June. At 10 PM, Smash (1.9/5) was up a tenth from last week’s series low. NBC reclaimed the nightly victory among adults 18-49 from CBS, which still topped the competition in total viewers. Read More »

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Josh Safran To Join ‘Smash’ As Showrunner

By | Tuesday April 24, 2012 @ 9:15pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Gossip Girl executive producer Josh Safran is finalizing a deal to join NBC’s musical drama series Smashas executive producer for next season. He will succeed creator/executive producer/showrunner Theresa Rebeck who departed the series shortly after it was renewed for a second season last month. A number of showrunners interviewed for the job until Safran was identified as the choice about a week ago. UTA-repped Safran spent the last five years on the CW soap Gossip Girl, rising through the ranks to an executive producer.

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RATINGS RAT RACE: ‘House’, ‘Dancing With The Stars’ And ‘Smash’ Rise

By | Tuesday April 24, 2012 @ 10:18am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

As it heads to its series finale, veteran Fox drama House (2.3/6 in adults 18-49) jumped 15% from last week. Its lead-in, Bones (2.2/6), was up a tenth from its fast national last week, even with the final. With CBS’ lineup is repeats, ABC’s Dancing With The Stars (3.0/8) was up two tenths in the demo from last week’s fast national, one from the final, and will likely be adjusted up again. A Dancing 20/20 special at 10 PM (2.1/6) was off only by a tenth from the Castle fast national in the hour last week. The semi-final round of NBC’s The Voice (3.7/10) was up a tenth from the singing competition’s fast national last week, even with the final. Smash (2.1/5) was up two tenths from its fast national last week, one from the final, so even if it’s adjusted down again, it will end up ahead of last Monday’s telecast. After going up a tenth each last week, the CW’s Gossip Girl and Hart Of Dixie were both down by that much last night to a 0.5/1. NBC won the night in 18-49, ABC in total viewers.

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RATINGS RAT RACE: ‘Two And A Half Men’ Beats ‘The Voice’ For The First Time

By | Tuesday April 17, 2012 @ 10:04am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Two And A Half Men TV RatingsIt was another depressing Monday ratings race for the Big 4 networks, with only four series — CBS’ Two And A Half Men, ABC’s Castle and Fox’s House and Bones – holding ground or posting minor improvement. Everyone else was down to a season/series low. That includes NBC, which won the night in adults 18-49. Its flagship series, The Voice (3.6/10), fell 8% from last week’s fast national for its sixth consecutive Monday decline to a new performance show low. The singing reality series also surrendered the top 18-49 spot on the night for the first time against regular competition, edged by veteran CBS comedy Two And A Half Men (3.7/9). The introduction of Uma Thurman didn’t help Smash (1.9/5), which was down 10% from its fast national last week to a new series low. (The musical drama has been adjusted down in the finals for the last three weeks.) Read More »

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‘Smash’ Creator Theresa Rebeck To Depart

By | Thursday March 22, 2012 @ 5:09pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Theresa Rebeck SmashEXCLUSIVE: Smash, which was just renewed for a second season, will return next fall without its creator/executive producer/showrunner Theresa Rebeck. I’ve learned that Rebeck is stepping down as showrunner of the musical drama after its maiden season. Details about her future involvement with Smash are still being worked out. Rebeck will keep her executive producer title and may write scripts but will not be involved in the day-to-day running of series, returning to her theater career. Word is NBC will bring in a new showrunner for Season 2. It is unclear how that would affect writing executive producer David Marshall Grant, who joined the series after the pilot.

Related: NBC’s ‘Smash’ Renewed For Second Season

While the pilot of Smash was universally praised, there have been some qualms about the creative direction of the series — chronicling the creation of a Marilyn Monroe Broadway musical — which became increasingly soapy. Additionally, Smash, which started off big and broad, sometimes meandered into niche territory by focusing too much on the insider Broadway stuff over the human drama of the two singers, played by Megan Hilty and Katharine McPhee, battling it out for the role of their career. Rebeck, a playwright in addition to being a screenwriter, will have a continuing presence on Smash — the female lead on the show, Julia (Debra Messing), half of a successful Broadway writing … Read More »

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NBC’s ‘Smash’ Renewed For Second Season

By | Thursday March 22, 2012 @ 12:00pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

NBC has renewed midseason musical drama Smash for a second season. The initial second-season order is for 15 episodes, higher than the 13 episodes midseason show normally get in their first renewal. The move is not surprising given that fact that Smash was the highest-profile and most heavily promoted new NBC series this season, backed by an elaborate marketing campaign that some estimate cost as much as $25 million. With NBC’s top entertainment show, The Voice, as a lead-in, Smash ranks as the network’s highest-rated drama in adults 18-49 (2.6 rating) and total viewers (7.7 million). After a strong start the night after the Super Bowl, Smash dropped in the ratings but leveled off relatively quickly, staying above the 2 18-49 rating level with the help of its big lead-in. Smash, which posted a 2.3 demo rating Monday, chronicles the birth of a Broadway musical. Stemming from an idea from executive producer Steven Spielberg, the series stars Debra Messing, Christian Borle, Anjelica Huston, Megan Hilty, Katharine McPhee and Jack Davenport. Smash has been a passion project for NBC chief Bob Greenblatt and the first NBC series developed by him, something he did in his previous gig at Showtime. Smash, produced by Universal TV and DreamWorks TV, joins fellow freshman Grimm as the second NBC series to get an early pickup for next season. In addition to Spielberg, it is executive produced by creator Theresa Rebeck, David … Read More »

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RATINGS RAT RACE: ‘The Bachelor’ Hits Finale Low Amidst Declines And Reruns

By | Tuesday March 13, 2012 @ 9:37am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

The Bachelor Ratings ABCThere was a slew of ratings declines on the second night of daylight savings time. The clock change was probably at least partially responsible for The Voice‘s (5.1/14) 18% ratings drop from last week to a season low as in both cases the NBC series faced CBS reruns. But it can’t be blamed for the finale of ABC’s The Bachelor (2.9/8) falling 36% from last year to its lowest-rated closer ever — the reality series’ finale last year also aired on the second night of daylight savings time. The losses should probably be pinned on The Voice as new competition for The Bachelor from 8-10 PM. At 10 PM, The Bachelor: After The Rose special (3.3/8) also was down sharply from last year, by 30%. It aired against NBC’s Smash (2.4/6), which gave up the ratings gains from last week, down 11% to its ratings levels from two weeks ago. After a House repeat, a new Alcatraz (1.6/4) was down 11% from last week when Fox aired back-to-back originals of the midseason time-travel drama.

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Ratings Rat Race: ‘Voice’ & ‘Smash’ Rise

By | Tuesday March 6, 2012 @ 9:29am PST
Nellie Andreeva

Smash Ratings NBCAfter taking a hit from facing Daytona 500 last week, NBC’s The Voice (6.1/16) bounced back with its first battle round, which was up 13% from last week for the show’s best result since the post-Super Bowl Monday episode. At 10 PM, Smash (2.7/7) was up a big 17% to reverse its initial ratings downtrend. After two weeks of double-digit drops following the premiere, Smash held steady last Monday before heading up last night — it’s great news for NBC’s new regime, which put almost all of its eggs in the Smash basket this season. NBC’s lineup, which won the night in 18-49 (4.9/13) and total viewers (13.7 million), was helped by CBS, which aired reruns. (ABC’s 10 PM drama Castle also was a repeat.) Fox’s Alcatraz aired two back-to-back episodes (1.9/5, 1.8/4). The first was up a tenth while the second was flat with the series’ most recent hourlong original two weeks ago. ABC’s aired a two-hour The Bachelor: The Women Tell All special (2.5/6), which was down a tenth from last week and down 19% from last spring’s special when The Bachelor did not face The Voice. The CW also aired repeats.

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UPDATE: Daytona 500 Down From Last Year But Wins Night For Fox; ‘Smash’ Flat

By | Tuesday February 28, 2012 @ 1:05pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

UPDATE, 1 PM: The unprecedented 36-hour rain delay for the Daytona 500 moved the marquee NASCAR race from weekend afternoon to the competitive Monday night. That resulted in a ratings dent for the first primetime Daytona 500, which drew 13.7 million viewers. That’s down 8% from last year’s race, which aired on Sunday afternoon, but up 4% from the 2010 event, which also had delays. From 8-11 PM, the Daytona 500 posted a 4.6 rating in 18-49 and 14.1 million viewers to win the night for Fox with the network’s largest audience in 16 months. Additionally, NBC’s new drama Smash was adjusted down in the finals to a 2.3/6, so it is now even with last week.

PREVIOUS, 9 AM: Because of a 36-hour rain delay, the Daytona 500 made its primetime debut last night and sucked out male viewers from the competition. The marquee NASCAR race pushed CBS’ lineup and NBC’s The Voice down, while female-skewing series like ABC’s The Bachelor and NBC’s Smash were actually up from last week. Time-adjusted ratings for the race, won by Matt Kenseth and punctuated by a fiery crash, will be available within the hour. Daytona 500 appears on track to surpass last year’s audience of 15.6 million when it aired on Sunday afternoon. Fox will likely win the night in adults 18-49 and total viewers. Read More »

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Ratings Rat Race: CBS Lineup Rebounds, ‘Voice’ Steady, ‘Smash’ & ‘Alcatraz’ Still Drop

By | Tuesday February 21, 2012 @ 9:25am PST
Nellie Andreeva

RATINGS: The Case Of Disappearing Live Nielsen Viewers

CBS’ Monday lineup recovered nicely from the head-scratching ratings losses last Monday. How I Met Your Mother (3.8/10) was up 12%, 2 Broke Girls (4.0/10) and Two And A Half Men (4.1/10) were both up 5%. Mike & Molly (3.4/8) was even, while Hawaii Five-0 (2.8/7) was up 4%. There was good news and not-so-good news for NBC: It won the night in 18-49 (4.6/11) and total viewers (12.6 million), and The Voice (5.8/14) was down only a tenth from its fast national last week and up 23% from the same episode last year to rank as a dominant No. 1 for the night in all key measures. But at 10 PM, Smash (2.3/6) was down 18% from last week. While 2.3 is still a respectable demo rating at 10 PM, the drops of 26% last week and 18% this week indicate that the musical dramedy might still have ways to go before it bottoms out. Even worse, it dropped a big 26% from the 10 PM to the 10:30 PM half-hour. Smash lost the 10 PM demo race for the first time since its launch to Hawaii Five-0. ABC’s The Bachelor (2.5/6) held steady for a third consecutive week, while Castle (2.1/5) inched up a tenth. Fox’s House (2.3/6) and Alcatraz (1.8/4) were both down another tenth from last week … Read More »

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RATINGS RAT RACE: ‘The Voice’ Shines, ‘Smash’ Solid, ’2 Broke Girls’ Tops ‘Men’

By | Tuesday February 7, 2012 @ 9:49am PST
Nellie Andreeva

Twenty-six hours after its big Season 2 premiere after the Super Bowl, NBC’s The Voice was back on the air, delivering American Idol-size ratings in its first post-Super Bowl outing. The singing competition posted a 6.6/16 among adults 18-49 and 17.7 million viewers from 8-10 PM last night, logging NBC’s highest non-Olympics 18-49 rating in the slot in eight years. It was NBC’s highest-rated regular non-sports telecast on any night in more than four years (since the Season 2 premiere of Heroes in September 2007) and the network’s first in-season win in the Monday 8-10 PM time period over all original competition in more than three years (since Deal Or No Deal in November 2008.) The Voice grew steadily throughout the two hours (5.3, 6.2, 7.3, 7.7). As for its post-Super Bowl dropoff (60%), it was in line with its predecessors (Fox’s Glee (59%) and CBS’ Undercover Boss (67%, but it had to face the Olympics in its first regular airing). Versus the Season 1 premiere, The Voice was up 29%. Read More »

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NBC Launches Big Push To Help ‘Smash’ Find An Audience: TCA

By | Friday January 6, 2012 @ 7:24pm PST

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.”

Read More »

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Uma Thurman To Do Major Arc On ‘Smash’

By | Thursday December 8, 2011 @ 4:08pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

In her first series gig, Uma Thurman has been tapped for a major five-episode guest-starring arc on NBC’s midseason musical drama Smash. On the series, about the process of creating and staging Marilyn, a Broadway musical based on the life of Marilyn Monroe, Thurman will play a famous and somewhat difficult movie star who flirts with the idea of starring in the production. The Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill star won a Golden Globe for one of her rare TV stints, in the HBO movie Hysterical Blindness. She will next be seen in the film Eloise in Paris. Smash, which stars Debra Messing, Christian Borle, Katharine McPhee, Megan Hilty, Anjelica Huston and Jack Davenport, premieres on Feb. 6.

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NBC’s Midseason Schedule: ‘Up All Night’, ‘Whitney’, ‘Rock Center’, ‘Harry’s Law’ Move; ‘Community’ Benched; ‘Suspect’ Pulled

Nellie Andreeva

NBC To Give ‘Harry’s Law’ Full-Season Order; ‘Prime Suspect’ Gone?

After a pretty dismal fall, NBC is shaking things up in midseason with several scheduling changes. Gone from the lineup is struggling freshman Prime Suspect (NBC says it hasn’t made a final decision on its cancellation), while four series — Whitney, Up All Night, Harry’s Law and Rock Center With Brian Williams — are on the move. NBC is creating a multi-camera comedy block in the 8-9 PM Wednesday hour with Whitney and midseason comedy Are You There, Chelsea (formerly Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me Chelsea; No alcohol-flavored title in the family hour.) The block, which will debut January 11, brings together two female comedians with similar sensibility in Whitney Cummings and Chelsea Handler, on whose books Chelsea is based. A month later, the two comedies will be followed by low-rated newsmagazine Rock Center With Brian Williams. It will take over the Wednesday 9 PM slot from Harry’s Law, which is moving to Sundays. Rock Center had to move out of the Monday 10 PM slot to make room for NBC’s highest-profile new series this season, Broadway drama Smash, which will premiere on February 6 and run in the post-The Voice slot as originally scheduled. NBC’s other changes for midseason include new comedy Up All Night moving to Whitney‘s Thursday 9:30 PM slot; 30 Rock replacing Community on Thursdays at 8 PM; and the John Grisham adaptation The Firm, originally slated for a Sunday midseason run, sliding into Prime Suspect‘s Thursday 10 PM slot. The order for Community has not been reduced, so it’s unclear what NBC will do with the remaining episodes of the college-set comedy. Missing from the midseason lineup is NBC’s ambitious new drama series Awake, which recently took an unplanned break to work on scripts. Here is NBC’s midseason schedule (with premiere dates) that also includes new reality series Fashion Star on Tuesdays at 10 PM and the return of Celebrity Apprentice on Sundays: Read More »

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TV Castings: Will Chase Joins ‘Smash’, Raul Esparza Boards ‘Gifted Man’, Judy Greer To Do ’2.5 Men’, FearNet’s ‘Holliston’ Adds 2

By | Monday August 29, 2011 @ 7:39pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Broadway actor Will Chase has joined NBC’s upcoming Broadway-themed drama Smash as a recurring. On the show, which chronicles the mounting of a Broadway musical and stars Debra Messing as the musical’s lyricist, he will play Steven, who has a history with Messing’s character. Chase, repped by Gersh and AC Management, has appeared in such Broadway productions as Billy Elliot, High Fidelity and Rent. On TV, he recurred on Rescue Me.

Another veteran Broadway actor, Raul Esparza, will do an arc on another new series, CBS’ medical drama A Gifted Man, about a neurosurgeon (Patrick Wilson) whose dead wife (Jennifer Ehle), the former head of a free clinic, starts appearing to him. Esparza will play Ehle’s boyfriend, who is on the board of the clinic. Esparza, repped by ICM and Elin Flack Management, recently starred in Arcadia on Broadway.

Judy Greer has been tapped for an arc on CBS’ revamped Two and a Half Men, playing new lead Ashton Kutcher’s soon-to-be-ex wife. This is the second time Greer plays a love interest on the show. She once played a squeeze of the former lead character, Charlie Sheen’s Charlie Harper. Read More »

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Critics’ Choice Awards Honors 8 New Shows

Nellie Andreeva

Seven broadcast and one cable series made the cut in the Most Exciting New Series category at the inaugural Critics’ Choice Television Awards. The category, voted by broadcast journalists who have seen the pilots and any available episodes, recognizes shows premiering after June 1, 2011. Some of the most buzzed-about new series, including NBC’s Smash and Fox’s New Girl and Terra Nova, made the list, while others, including CBS’ Person of Interest and 2 Broke Girls and ABC’s Pan Am, didn’t. Here are the honorees (there will be no winner in the category, with all eight shows acknowledged at the awards show June 20):

Alcatraz – Fox – Warner Bros.
Apartment 23 - ABC – 20th Century Fox
Awake – NBC – 20th Century Fox
Falling Skies – TNT – DreamWorks
New Girl – Fox – 20th Century Fox
Ringer - CW – CBS Studios
Smash - NBC – DreamWorks/Universal Media
Terra Nova – Fox – 20th Century Fox Read More »

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Columbia Records Teams With NBC For ‘Smash’ Music Albums, Inks Solo Recording Deal With Co-Star Katharine McPhee

By | Thursday June 9, 2011 @ 3:10pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: Following in the footsteps of Fox’s Glee, NBC has signed a deal with Columbia Records for the soundtrack of the network’s new musical drama series Smash. Additionally, Columbia has signed a solo recording pact with Smash breakout star and American Idol alumna Katharine McPhee. I hear Columbia, which also handles the soundtracks for Glee and the upcoming X Factor, landed the rights to Smash after a bidding war. The deal, brokered by NBCUniversal TV Consumer Products Group, gives Columbia Records worldwide, digital and physical rights to the first season of Smash, with options to subsequent seasons. It includes both original songs, written exclusively for the TV series by the Tony Award-winning duo Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, and covers of hit songs featured on the show. “Our Columbia Records partners will guide the soundtrack of Smash into a big component of the show’s success,” said NBC chairman Bob Greenblatt. Added Rob Stringer, Chairman of Columbia/Epic Label Group, “Music is at the heart of Smash, and with our wonderfully creative broadcast partners, we will develop innovative strategies to present this music to a huge audience.” Read More »

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