NBC has opted to cancel Smash, the Broadway musical drama starring Debra Messing, Katherine McPhee and Megan Hilty. Though it was once NBC's new darling, the drama sank in popularity in Season 2, going sub-1.0 in the ratings and facing ridicule from critics. After a bleak return to NBC's 2012-13 season schedule, the show's cancelation has been prophesied for some time. The show was bumped to Saturdays in March, where rankings sank below a 0.5.
NBC entertainment chairman, Bob Greenblatt, brought Smash with him from his former post at Showtime. Greenblatt envisioned elements of a Broadway musical in primetime - plus original songs by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman.
The episodic cost of Smash was reported to cost in the area of $4 million per episode, largely in part to pricey production numbers and a large ensemble cast. The show was handed over to Josh Safran to take the reins as the new show runner during the second season. The revamp of the musical drama failed to win over viewers.
Despite having Broadway guest stars on the show, Jennifer Hudson and cameos from Rosie O'Donnell and Liza Minelli, among others, the once lauded series is averaging a 0.8 viewership among adults 18-49 and just under 3 million total viewers.
NBC cleaned house on Friday afternoon. Not only Smash, but Rock Center with Brian Williams and The New Normal were also canceled. NBC has axed a number of other shows in recent weeks including Go On, Deception, Happy Endings, Guys With Kids, 1600 Penn and Up All Night.
Smash, was not just canceled, the season was shortened. The drama, which counted Steven Spielberg among its executive producers, will complete its sophomore 17-episode season on May 26.
Safran acknowledges that the final episode of Smash was crafted as a "series finale."