*Both Jennifer Hudson and NeNe Leakes’ NBC shows “Smash” and “The New Normal” have been dropped from the network’s primetime lineup.
“The New Normal,” which featured Leakes (“Real Housewives of Atlanta”), was canceled by NBC after one season. The show, from “Glee” producer Ryan Murphy, navigated through the life of a gay couple trying to start a fami
It wasn’t received well by the public and plummeted in ratings, hence the decision. Leakes transmitted positive energy on Twitter:
“I love my fairy God Mother @MrRPMurphy & @AliAdler 4 believing n me & givin me an amazing opportunity! No mo New Normal but we r forever.”
The network also announced that Broadway-musical themed drama “Smash” will end for good after second season’s May 26th finale episode. Jennifer Hudson joined the cast at the beginning of the season playing a veteran Broadway star. Fans rallied to keep the show on air when the season’s ratings dropped, but their best efforts have apparently fallen on deaf ears. “Smash” also starred Debra Messing, former “American Idol” contestant Katherine McPhee and Megan Hilty.
*Not even the addition of Jennifer Hudson could lift NBC’s sophomore drama “Smash” to comfortable ratings.
Tuesday’s second-season premiere set series lows with 4.5 million viewers, according to Nielsen. That marked a 61% plummet from last February’s series opener, which aired behind “The Voice,” and a 25% from May’s finale, which drew 6 million. Among young adults, the drop was even steeper — 71% and 39%, respectively.
The network, riding high last fall with “Sunday Night Football” and “The Voice,” is now back in the ratings cellar, according to USA Today. With both shows off the schedule, the network has gone from first back to worst again among the young-adult audience it sells to advertisers. And its stable of replacement scripted programming has been DOA.
Meagan Good’s drama “Deception,” NBC’s knockoff of ABC’s “Revenge,” opened modestly as a replacement for “Revolution” on Monday nights, but has declined nearly every week, hitting a series-low 3.1 million viewers on Monday.
Last week, “Do No Harm,” a Jekyll-and-Hyde medical drama about a dual-personality surgeon and co-starring Phylicia Rashad, premiered with 3.1 million, the worst opening for a major-network drama series ever during a regular TV season. (The show did even worse than cellar-dwelling news magazine “Rock Center with Brian Williams,” which was bumped to Friday to make room, and is not expected to make it past this week.)
The ratings figures reflect same-day viewership only, and don’t factor in longer DVR delays. But the trend line is similar. In the four weeks since NBC’s NFL football coverage ended in early January, the network has averaged a fourth-place 5 million viewers, a figure that factors in the nearly 20 million who watched the Golden Globe Awards on Jan. 13.
But last fall it was averaging 8.8 million, and ranked a strong second in total viewers. And among those young adults, its audience has been cut in half.
Jennifer Hudson in a scene from the Feb. 5, 2013 season premiere of “Smash” on NBC
*The Marilyn Monroe musical “Bombshell” isn’t the only game in town this year on “Smash.”
Season 2 begins tonight with new addition Jennifer Hudson as Veronica Moore, a two-time Tony Award-winning powerhouse slaying Broadway audiences as the star of a successful black musical. Her level of fame is what “Bombshell” rivals Karen (Katharine McPhee) and Ivy (Megyn Hilty) hope to achieve someday.
“She’s in three out of the first four episodes,” executive producer Josh Safran says of Hudson. “She came to the show because of [NBC chairman] Bob [Greenblatt], which was awesome. He had this idea, and he reached out, and he made it happen, and we were very, very grateful to have her.
“She sings a lot. She acts a lot. She dances a lot, and everyone got to work with her, and she’s just an amazing talent.”
Jennifer Hudson films scenes for ‘Smash’ at night beside the open door of a town car with her co-star Jack Davenport. (August 19, 2012)
J-Hud isn’t the only thing different about “Smash” this season. Safran, formerly a producer on “Gossip Girl,” takes over for the show’s creator and primary writer Theresa Rebeck, who left after the first season over creative differences with the network.
Also new this year is Broadway leading man Jeremy Jordan (“Newsies,” “Bonnie & Clyde”), who starred as Keke Palmer’s love interest in the Queen Latifah/Dolly Parton film “Joyful Noise.” Jordan shakes things up in the season premiere as an up-and-coming songwriter who catches the attention of Karen.
Sheryl Lee Ralph is seen filming on the set of television show “Smash” in New York City. (August 21, 2012)
Another newcomer this year is Sheryl Lee Ralph as J-Hud’s overbearing mama Cynthia. Yes, the woman who starred as Deena Jones in the original Broadway run of Dreamgirls now shares TV space alongside the woman who won an Academy Award as Effie in the 2006 film version.
“It was actually a coincidence,” says co-executive producer Neil Meron. “I don’t think any of us realized it until she was cast: ‘Oh, my God. We have this real connection to Dreamgirls.’ So it was one of those great, great moments of realization, look what’s happened naturally.”
Their mother-daughter relationship will hit a few bumps during the first several episodes, as Veronica is looking to break free from her mother’s firm grip.
Below, returning cast member Leslie Odom, Jr., who plays Sam Strickland, says the show’s new look will address some of the hate expressed by viewers during season one.
“Smash” season 2 premieres tonight (Feb. 5) at 9 p.m. Watch a promo below.
SMASH — “On Broadway” (Season 2, Episode 1) — (l-r) Jennifer Hudson as Veronica Moore, Katharine McPhee as Karen Cartwright
*The fading impact of “American Idol” among the public is one thing, but among the people it boosted to stardom? That’s saying a lot.
Despite the waning popularity of the show, it still manages to turn out bona fide superstars whether they took first place or not. Season one champ Kelly Clarkson just set a Billboard Singles record this week. Last season’s winner Phillip Phillips just reached No. 1 on the adult contemporary chart. Fantasia made a splash in Broadway’s “The Color Purple” and was the subject of a Lifetime Original Movie. Did we mention Carrie Underwood?
Even non-winners Clay Aiken, Chris Daughtry, Kellie Pickler, Adam Lambert, and “Smash” co-stars Katharine McPhee and Academy Award winner Jennifer Hudson are household names.
Where are the winners of “The Voice?” “The X Factor?”
This week, Hudson suggested that “American Idol” has already seen its best days, and maybe it’s time to put the show out of its misery. J-Hud isn’t the only former contestant who has moved on from the show’s one-time luster.
Speaking to McPhee earlier this month following her “Smash” Season 2 TCA panel in Pasadena, the actress said she hadn’t even thought of the fact that two “Idol” alums are starring in a primetime drama.
“I think people love to hang onto the ‘American Idol’ title, particularly the media,” she told EURweb. “It’s not something that I go up to [Hudson] and say like, ‘Hey, how was your experience on “American Idol?”’ I’m sure if she was sitting here we’d both say we’re really incredibly grateful for the platform that it gave us, but it did what it was supposed to do, which was give us that platform to move on to things that we ultimately really dreamed of doing. And that’s what’s been so fantastic.
“Maybe I would’ve been on [‘Smash’] without ‘Idol,’ maybe I wouldn’t of, you know. But I know it was an amazing platform. So no, we didn’t talk about it. She was incredibly wonderful to have on set and incredibly professional and wonderful to just listen to sing these amazing songs. But no, no dig on ‘Idol,’ but that just wasn’t something that came up in conversation.”
Jennifer Hudson in New York City getting ready to film scenes for “Smash” season 2.
Below, McPhee says asking for comment on her “A.I.” connection with Hudson is like asking someone to talk about a girl who went to your high school, but was in a different grade.
*With the Season 2 premiere of “Smash” just two months away, NBC is giving fans a new three-minute teaser featuring some of the new songs on deck, including new addition Jennifer Hudson – as two-time Tony Award-winner Veronica Moore – belting “I Got Love.”
The clip also shows Sheryl Lee Ralph as Hudson’s mom and Jesse L. Martin as Scott Welker, an Artistic Director of a theater company who has history with a couple of the characters. There are rumors that his character will also become a romantic interest for Debra Messing’s Julia.
The show’s second season kicks off with a two-hour episode on Tuesday, Feb. 5 at 9 p.m. EST and moves to its regular timeslot on Tuesday, Feb. 12 at 10 p.m. EST.
*Diana Ross will join “The X Factor” judge Demi Lovato and “Gangnam Style” sensation Psy to headline the annual Christmas in Washington special airing Dec. 21 on TNT.
President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle will attend, and TNT’s late night host Conan O’Brien will host the telecast, to be taped in Washington D.C.’s National Building Museum, for the second consecutive year.
Additional performers include “Smash” star Megan Hilty, former “The Voice” finalist Chris Mann and “American Idol” winner Scotty McCreery.
This is the 14th year TNT will be broadcasting “Christmas in Washington.”