NBC TV series SmashNetwork: NBC
Episodes: 32 (hour)
Seasons: Two

TV show dates: February 6, 2012 — May 26, 2013
Series status: Cancelled

Performers include: Debra Messing, Jack Davenport, Katharine McPhee, Christian Borle, Megan Hilty, Raza Jaffrey, Brian d’Arcy James, Jaime Cepero, and Anjelica Huston.

TV show description:      
This musical drama revolves around the Broadway theater community. The TV series follows a cross section of dreamers and schemers who are trying to create a smash hit musical that’s based on the life of Marilyn Monroe.

The musical is written by the successful Houston-Levitt team. Writer Julia Houston (Debra Messing) struggles to balance the relentless demands of Broadway with the needs of her family. She recently began the process of adopting a child with her husband Frank (Brian d’Arcy James) of many years, but her focus is torn when she has the opportunity to write another Broadway hit. Frank set aside his own career as Julia’s took off. With their son Leo now in high school, he has become restless. Frank and Julia strive to maintain their family life as her attention is divided between Leo, her new musical, and the return of old flame Michael Swift (Will Chase).

The other half of the team, composer Tom Levitt (Christian Borle), fights to help his old friend Ivy (Megan Hilty) achieve stardom after she’s spent years in the chorus line. He’s assisted by Ellis (Jaime Cepero), a smart young man who’s armed with charm, boundless ambition, and ruthless determination.

A rivalry for the lead role in the musical is between stage veteran Ivy and a youthful, inexperienced Midwestern beauty named Karen Cartwright (Katharine McPhee). Karen gets a fast education on how to navigate the shark-infested waters of the professional theatre world. She wants to win the role of a lifetime while also maintaining her integrity. Karen’s supported by Dev (Raza Jaffrey), her loving and supportive boyfriend who works in the New York City’s Mayor’s office.

Tenacious and legendary Broadway producer Eileen Rand (Anjelica Huston) discovers the “Marilyn” project and jumps on board with a brilliant director, Derek Wills (Jack Davenport). A brilliant but arrogant talent, Derek is also a cunning, egocentric bad boy — as well as composer Tom’s arch-nemesis. Driven by a passionate love of her art, Eileen must masterfully manage both the warring egos of her creative team and her musical’s skyrocketing budget — all while her ex-husband, Jerry (Michael Christofer), freezes her assets.

Series Finale:     
Episode #32 — The Tonys
Leading up to the Tonys, each main player of “Bombshell” and “Hit List” perform an ensemble rendition of “Under Pressure.” With only 12 hours to go, Julia and Tom settle down to write their acceptance speech. Julia tells Tom that her lawyers want her to outline her relationship with Michael Swift to hopefully put an end to Frank’s case against her, but it only seems to be making it stronger.

While getting dressed, Ivy and Leigh watch a recording of one of Leigh’s old acceptance speeches; Leigh’s positive they’ll both win. When Ivy struggles to fit into the dress that fit her perfectly a week ago, she tells her mother she’s thinking of time off. Leigh laughs – what’s gotten into Ivy?! The Tonys will give her a career momentum she may never see again. Meanwhile, Derek’s holed up and drunk, too embarrassed to show his face in public after confessing to sexual bribery. Karen tries to cheer him up to no avail.

Jimmy gets cold feet about performing at the Tonys. With Derek missing in action, Jerry changes their awards show performance to “I’m Not Sorry,” with Daisy as the featured singer. None of the rest of the cast wants to work with her, though, as she’s being a prima donna. Ivy shows up and asks Karen where Derek is. Karen tells her he hasn’t gone out in weeks and she’s never seen him this low. When she discovers Jimmy has yet to pick up his Tony tickets, Karen calls to ask what’s going on. When he gets off the phone, it’s revealed Jimmy has moved out of his apartment – he’s even leaving his deposit behind.

Eileen finds Nick working as a short-order cook in a local diner; she tells him that he’s the only thing she’s got in her life at the moment, and – win or lose – she wants him by her side at the Tonys that night. Meanwhile, Daisy calls Jerry to tell him the whole cast of “Hit List” has staged a coup against her, refusing to perform her song. Jerry doesn’t care; if they don’t want to perform, Daisy will just perform “Reach for Me” solo. Jimmy stops by Tom’s place to ask Julia to accept Kyle’s award if he wins tonight. Realizing he’s planning a no-show, Julia tells Jimmy this is his big moment, and he has to stop self-sabotaging. Whatever it is that’s holding him back, Jimmy needs to confront it once and for all.

Ivy checks in on Derek, who seems to be getting worse. He’s struggling to take ownership of the wrongs he’s committed in his life, and even though they’re a source of anger and sadness for Ivy too, she still loves him. Ivy tells Derek to clean himself up and accompany her to the Tonys. Julia meets with Frank to confess the truth about her relationship with Michael. She met Michael years before Frank knew she did, and for much of their marriage he was there. Julia apologizes for not loving Frank “the right way,” and encourages him to follow his heart regarding their settlement. She won’t refute any of his claims. As she leaves, Frank grabs her arm and says, “Thank you. I’m pulling for you tonight.”

Off Julia’s advice, Jimmy puts on a tuxedo and surprises Karen at her place; he’s decided to go after all. Karen’s excited to see him and glad Jimmy finally came through, as he has a history of flaking. Ana is devastated she’s not going, but Jimmy surprises her – he has Kyle’s ticket and knows his deceased friend wouldn’t want them to go without her. As Ana rushes off to get ready, Karen kisses Jimmy. She thanks him, for everything, then rushes off to help Ana. Alone, Jimmy takes a nerve-wracking call, promising he’ll be there by midnight.

During the show, Jimmy and Karen comfort Ana as Daisy takes home the Tony for Best Actress in a featured role. It’s the fifth award for “Hit List” that night. When Ron Rifkin announces the nominations for best book, and Julia wonders to Tom if she could really be so selfless as to want Kyle to win instead of her; Tom jokingly says that historically, no, she couldn’t be… but people change. Jimmy breaks into tears when Kyle Bishop wins for best book. Through tears, Jimmy gives an impassioned speech in his friend’s honor, thanking Karen for making this night possible. Before leaving the podium, Jimmy has a special message for Julia: “You were right. It’s never too late.”

When the nominations for Best Original Score are announced, Tom and Julia commiserate together in their seats, joking that Jimmy’s going to win, so they need to get some alcoholic beverages in coconuts. It’s just like old times, and Tom and Julia are having so much fun, they don’t hear their names called. Shocked, they excitedly run up on stage to accept their award. Derek is nominated twice for Best Choreography and his name is met with boos and hissing. Although everyone assumes he’s absent, he runs onstage, having made a last minute entrance. He thanks voters for judging the work, not the man; then he dedicates the award to someone he truly loves, and to whom he owes everything – Ivy. Standing backstage, she’s conflicted by the show of gratitude.

Ivy finds Derek in the back of the theater, behind the audience. As Ivy attempts to tell Derek about her current situation, he puts her off one more time, saying he needs to do something. Derek pulls Karen and Ana out of the audience, saying he’s “making things right.” Backstage, Daisy prepares for her big solo, but Derek pulls her back – now that everyone hates him, he can do anything he wants. The whole “Hit List” cast, with Ana -and without Daisy – sings an a cappella version of “Broadway Here I Come,” which earns a standing ovation. As the crowd cheers, Jimmy kisses Karen and tells her he loves her.

Tom and Julia are walking around in the lobby, wondering if their Tonys mark their last hurrah, when Patrick Dillon approaches them. He congratulates them on their win, then asks if they’ve ever thought about writing for the movies? They are still a writing team, right? Julia and Tom look at each other for a moment, and then say yes! Of course they are. What an opportunity! As Patrick leaves, Julia encourages Tom to approach him, and thanks in part to the courage that comes with a Tony win, Tom asks Patrick out to dinner. Patrick tries to say he’s flattered, but not gay, but Tom kisses him before he can get it out. Patrick doesn’t exactly oppose the kiss! Tom quips, “That’s how all my straight friends kiss me,” before Patrick beats a hasty retreat.

When Ivy wins the Tony for Best Actress, Karen’s happy for her, but disheartened. In her speech, Ivy admits she didn’t think she would win, and thanks her mother for giving her the greatest gift – a life in the theater. Ivy can only hope that one day, she’ll give that gift to her children. Ivy says there’s nothing more special than the moment before a show, when the audience is full of hopeful anticipation, and anything can happen. She thanks everyone for believing there’s nothing better than live theater. In the lobby, Eileen comforts Karen, who’s worried she missed her shot. Eileen tells Karen she’s an amazing talent, and time is well on her side. An announcement is made; the award for Best Musical is about to be presented…

Rosie O’Donnell presents the Tony for Best Musical to “Bombshell,” capping off an amazing night for Eileen, even though “Hit List” won more awards in total. Eileen is beyond happy to have won – and beyond happy to be escorted by Nick. Calling Derek up to the stage, Eileen tells him Broadway will forget about his scandal – they just need him to do another show. At the after party, Ivy approaches Derek and asks if they can talk. In private, she tells him about her pregnancy, and though it’s unclear what he says, his actions imply Derek is willing to finally own up to his actions and take some responsibility.

Handing Kyle’s Tony to Ana, Jimmy pulls Karen aside to confess his shady past. A couple years ago, Jimmy gave a girl some drugs at a party and she took too much. He thought she died, and he changed his name and ran from the problem instead of taking responsibility, but today, he turned himself in. Karen freaks out, shocked by this revelation, but Jimmy assures her the cops said the girl was okay. She’s still alive! But he was charged with distribution of a controlled substance and will likely serve several months in jail. He posted bail that night so he could accompany her to the Tonys, but he has to go to jail tonight. He promised her he would do whatever to be the person she saw him as – and now he’s free to do just that.

At the bar, Tom and Julia flip on the TV to watch their song from the Tony Awards. They were so busy celebrating they didn’t get to see it live. Karen and Ivy perform a duet of the song “Big Finish,” and as this goes on, each character has a moment somewhere else around New York City. After a deep kiss, Karen tearfully says goodbye to Jimmy at the police station. Derek gently puts his hand on Ivy’s stomach. Julia gives her letter to the man for who it was intended – Michael. Tom looks proudly at his Tony, now resting on his home piano. And Eileen Rand stands triumphantly in her office, accompanied by her Tony, and more importantly, Nick Felder.
Courtesy NBC.
First aired: May 26, 2013


What do you think? Do you like the Smash TV series? Do you think it should have been cancelled or renewed for a third season?

Canceled and renewed TV show

82 Comments · Read them below or add one

  1. Rhonda says

    their is so much more to the story. I Love SMASH it makes me laugh and cry in the same episode.Such talent please bring it back I will miss it so much.

  2. Kylie says

    I just finished watching the smash finale, unaware it was the series finally. This is one of the best shows, one in which I wait or with anticipation every week. I live in Australia, and have been hooked. The ratings in the USA may not be great but this show reached out to many places in the world, in which ratings are not counted. Therefore I find it utterly disgraceful this show has been cancelled. I am also a fan of. Glee, they had an absolute shocking season two, I held onto it and watched season 3 although season 2 let me down completely, and they turned it around completely and made it back to the best show it cold be.
    Smash has far out way more potential than glee. It is a phoenomenal show which deserves a 3rd even 4th and 5th season.
    When I found out it was cancelled I was on the verge of crying. This show from the beginning edged a way in my heart, like it has very many people. I really hope it is picked up by another station. Because I is a great shame if it is to not be.
    Smash, forever and always a show that makes one believe In possibility

  3. Penny says

    Sad to see a perfectly good show for real adults being lost in the shuffle. Leave shows where they belong so people can find them!

  4. Donna says

    So sad to read tonight’s show was the series finale. I have watched since the beginning but feel that recently the show has grown into it’s potential and has truly shined in 2013. Tonight’s finish was amazing, I am grateful for that at least. Wish another network would pick it up so that it could continue to shine.

  5. Jim says

    Smash should not have been canceled. More good music would have helped, and NBC seemed to abandon it….no promotion, moved it to a dead night. Get a good show, and NBC can show you how to destroy it. No wonder they are in DEAD LAST PLACE.

  6. Janet Hagen says

    I am so disappointed. I am so tired of reality and detective, crime shows. This show has talent and a great plot. What happened NBC??????????????????????

  7. Judi says

    THIS SUCKS!!!! Finally another show beyond the “glee” kids drama with MUSIC and THEATER showing an important place in society. NBC is wrong to cancel this … Maybe a BETTER NETWORK will be smart and pick it up

  8. Rachel R says

    I am dumbfounded that NBC would cancel such a great show?! I mean do they really have so much going on at that network that they can’t give a great show a few more seasons to grow? The acting is great- the writing is great…and I want to know what happens! Please tell me that they are at least going to air the Tony’s episode and let us know who wins…NBC you have a bad habit of just canceling shows and leaving viewers hanging…anyone remember LAS VEGAS?

  9. Amanda says

    Can’t believe this show has been cancelled – great cast, great music, and innovative lay merged Season 1 into Season 2 without re-hashing the plot. Pity the writer couldn’t do this for more seasons, or is it just that NBC don’t have enough faith in them. NBC has let a huge number of fans down and lost a large audience, and I’m in Australia!

  10. Sandra Bowen says

    NBC you suck!!!!!! And I mean big time! Ratings ? Really? Is that the only factor ? I completely agree with everyone above that “smash is an outstanding show . I think that it didn’t get promoted enough or rolled out properly because there are so many people that I know who have no idea what the show is about or even that it exists. It is so great, so entertaining and packed with seriously talented people. Come on now, Steven Speilberg doesn’t get involved in crappy projects, he’s a genius. Snap out of it people !

  11. kay cue says

    I am very disappointed that this show was canceled. This was a great show. Interesting plot not blood and gore and showed the theater community and what the life can be like and wht drives people in this business. Perhaps inserting some different talent would have been refreshing but i think this is a bad call to cancel a show like this. please don’t replace with the reality stuff take a risk for broadening peoples minds not catering to the prevailing wind.

  12. Chuck Duncan says

    It is no wonder NBC is no longer the leader of Broadcast TV stations. Smash
    was one of the few fully entertaining shows on your pitiful schedule. No doubt your replace it with another mind numbing “REALITY” show

    Thank goodness I still have CABLE stations that I CAN WATCH.

    What’s your next great move.

    This was my first posting. It was ashame to waste it on NBC

  13. Dorothy B says

    They would rather put on a reality show than really good TV, is that it? I wish some other, wiser network (the cable networks seem to do a better job of this) would take on this unique show.

  14. Susie G. says

    I am so upset over the cancellation of SMASH….it always astounds me how NBC, especially, seems to cancel absolutely creative shows. I guess this is why I am watching less and less on that station!

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