NBC's smash hit, Smash, is undergoing several changes for its upcoming second season. The network began by changing up the behind the scenes personnel by eliminating series creator Theresa Rebeck with a new man at the helm, Josh Safran. Today comes the news that four season one regulars are out.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, when Smash returns, it will focus even more on the musical aspect of the series that follows a stage production striving to find a berth on Broadway. The story revolves around the life of Marilyn Monroe during the time that she was involved with baseball great, Joe DiMaggio.
In the first season, two women fought to portray the lead role. One named Ivy (Megan Hilty) is a longtime but still unknown stage performer and the other named Karen (Katharine McPhee) is a relative newcomer. The two went head to head with Ivy initially getting the nod until the producers were forced to get a big name star (guest star Uma Thurmond) to play Marilyn. In the season finale, things don't quite go as planned and Karen ends up performing as Marilyn in the preview.
While the series focused quite a bit on the stage show and had some powerful production numbers, a soap opera element was very much present, especially surrounding one of the musical writers, played by Debra Messing. Her character of Julia ended up re-immersed in an adulterous affair with the actor hired to play DiMaggio. By season's end, it was done, but the revelation came that she could very well be pregnant. Whether the father is the actor or her husband was not known.
In season two, both actors who played DiMaggio and the husband -- Will Chase and Brian d'Arcy James -- are not coming back on a regular basis. In addition, Jaime Cepero and Raza Jaffrey have also been eliminated from the storyline. Cepero's character, Ellis, was the assistant to the producer, played by Anjelica Huston. She actually fired Ellis in the finale so there is little need for a story wrap up there. Jaffrey was Karen's fiance, who cheated one time on Karen with Ivy. She discovered the truth and returned the ring in the last episode.
It is possible that James and Jaffrey could return to either further wrap up their stories or make an occasional appearance.
The changes in the characters clear the way for Julia to focus on show, eliminating the romantic triangle drama, and also frees Karen to either concentrate totally on her career and/or possibly a romantic entanglement with the show's director, Derek, played by Jack Davenport.