"Smash" Gets a New Showrunner By Way of "Gossip Girl"
By Kenneth Jones
Josh Safran, an executive producer at CW's "Gossip Girl," will succeed Theresa Rebeck as "showrunner" — the person in charge of all aspects of story — for NBC's "Smash," according to published reports.
Rebeck created the musical drama series, but was not asked to continue controlling the written aspects of the show for its second season. Rebeck, the Pulitzer Prize finalist and prolific playwright (Mauritius, Seminar, The Understudy), will continue as an executive producer and may write future episodes of "Smash."
Safran, connected to the TV soap "Gossip Girl" since the 2007-08 season, would become showrunner and an executive producer of "Smash." He is currently showrunner of "Gossip Girl."
"Smash," the show about the making of a Broadway musical about Marilyn Monroe, is currently 12 episodes into a 15-episode first season that will conclude in May with the musical having an out-of-town tryout. Rebeck penned the April 23 episode, as well four earlier episodes.
It's not immediately clear how "Smash" may change under Safran. Fans and critics expecting a juicy showbiz drama have questioned some of the seemingly off-topic domestic storylines that have emerged in the first season, including the woes of the show's central playwright character played by Debra Messing (her affair, her baby adoption, her neglected science-teacher husband, her teen soon's arrest and drug use).
Ratings were high for the series debut, but have waned since then. The April 23 episode had six million viewers; the Feb. 6 pilot episode earned 11.5 million viewers.
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