NBC Renews ‘Smash’ For a Second Season; Showrunner Departs

by | March 23, 2012 at 9:20 AM | Smash

Katharine McPhee in 'Smash' (Photo: NBC)

While it may seem that NBC giving “Smash” an early second season renewal, which the network announced in a press release earlier this afternoon, may seem like a surprise, it really isn’t.

Why? Well, first of all, the network put such a massive and expensive promotional push behind the show before it premiered in February that unless the show started drawing “Bent”-like numbers, chances were the network was going to give the show another season.

Second of all, it’s not doing that badly, at least relative to what NBC has been airing in that timeslot and in general. While not a blockbuster, the show does average 7.7 million viewers per week, according to the release, and is the network’s highest-rated drama in the 18-49 demo. Those are numbers the network hasn’t seen in a drama in a good long time, even if it’s a big drop-off from the impressive ratings its lead-in, “The Voice,” is getting.

Creatively, the show’s first season has been up and down, with some very satisfying episodes and some plots that have been head-scratchers — Julia (Debra Messing) cheating on her personality-less husband with an old flame, who is also the male lead of “Marilyn”, is the worst of them. But it always felt like the show had enough goodwill behind it — NBC entertainment chief Bob Greenblatt developed it when he was at Showtime — that it would get the chance it needs to right itself.

UPDATE: Deadline reports that showrunner Theresa Rebeck will not be the showrunner for “Smash” in its second season. She’ll still have an executive producer credit and may write some episodes, but she gave up the day-to-day running of the show to go back to her Broadway work.

Watch the latest episode of “Smash”:

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