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Student Blog: Why Isn't There a Season Three of NBC's Smash? -- Spoilers Ahead!

I'm aiming to look into what went wrong with Smash following the success of the first season. What about it made NBC drop the show?

Student Blog: Why Isn't There a Season Three of NBC's Smash? -- Spoilers Ahead!

In the absence of live theatre during quarantine, I turned to the next best thing -- theatre made for T.V. Smash is unique to me in that the plot is completely fictional yet can be very realistic when it comes to the nature of the Broadway industry. Everything from last-minute script changes, to drama in the rehearsal room. I love this show because even while I was sitting at home during the pandemic, the realistic sets of Times Square and the Broadway Theatres brought me comfort and excitement. It was a way for me to feel connected to Broadway again. So... why didn't they make a season three?

Despite the insanely talented Broadway cast and creative team, the commercial appeal of Smash declined in the second season. Theresa Rebeck, the creator of Smash, is well-known in the theatre world as the playwright of works such as Dead Accounts (2012) and Seminar (2011). Alongside Rebeck, composers of the show include Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman who are known for writing Hairspray. In the second season of the show, Joe Iconis (Be More Chill) and the famous duo of Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (Dear Evan Hansen, The Greatest Showman) also joined the creative team. All of these artists are core members of the Broadway community and clearly understand the essential components of dramatic storytelling when it comes to writing music for Smash. For the composers, they know that songs can have a great impact and contribute to crucial character development, and songs, like Let Me Be Your Star and Let's Be Bad, do just that.

A thing to note is that the show aired on NBC -- one of the biggest broadcasting networks. This show seems so applicable and entertaining to me because my main interest is theatre. However, I know that it's hard to get a show about theatre and showbiz to appeal to the masses with a big platform such as NBC. I do think that the show tried to pull from the success of Glee for inspiration such as including popular songs (i.e. Brighter than the Sun and Haven't Met You Yet). While the first season was the perfect blend of drama and music, I feel that the writers felt pressure to write more extreme circumstances for the second season.

Student Blog: Why Isn't There a Season Three of NBC's Smash? -- Spoilers Ahead!
Megan Hilty (left) and Katharine McPhee (right)

The show had a lot of potential to go on for a third season and the cliffhangers at the end of the second season really pointed to that. However, I think in writing the second season, the writers fell into the trap of trying to pull out all the stops. From Ivy's scandalous pregnancy to Kyle's tragic death, the stakes seemed to elevate way too quickly to be realistic within the world of the show. I would love to have more binge-worthy Smash content, but seeing that the plot was only becoming more cluttered and complex and, I understand why NBC stopped it when they did. That being said if they ever did make a season three... I'd be the first one to watch!

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