'Smash' mistakes: NBC boss talks cast turnover, 'inconsistent' characters and storylines

megan-hilty-katharine-mcphee-smash.jpg "Smash," NBC's Broadway soap, is going to look like a brand-new production when it returns this fall with a new showrunner [ Josh Safran] and a very different supporting cast.

Acknowledging critics' complaints about Season 1's more infuriating characters at the TCA Press Tour, NBC Entertainment Chairman Bob Greenblatt said, "I think in every soap, at the end of the season, relationships end, people leave the show and you look at characters and evaluate whether they're great characters or not and whether they have a future in the show."

Greenblatt would not confirm whether Emory Cohen, who plays the dullard son of star Debra Messing's Julia, will join the four previously reported departures ( Raza Jaffrey, Jaime Cepero, Brian d'Arcy James and Will Chase). However, he has nothing but praise for the newcomers: Broadway star Jeremy Jordan ( "Newsies"), Jennifer Hudson, appearing in three of the first four episodes, among others. But he emphasized that "the heart of the show" are Messing, Anjelica Houston and new Tony winner Christian Borle.

The central cast can also look forward to more "consistency" in their characters and storylines this season, Greenblatt promised. "I think where we didn't do as good a job [last season] -- and as I hope with the new showrunner we will do better -- is the arcing of the storylines and the consistency of going in one direction with the character, and continuing in a really interesting way with that arc," he acknowledged. "I think we were inconsistent going back and forth with some things."

Added Jennifer Salke, who came aboard as president of NBC Entertainment last year, "The new showrunner came in and pitched out this vision for the season, and it was so specific...you were really on the edge of your seat  It just felt like we had a new plan in place and things were coming together in a way that felt more consistent."

"We just started shooting episode one," Greenblatt confirmed, adding, "There are some great new storylines, and I'm really excited about it."
Photo/Video credit: NBC