Talk about a bombshell!
After series creator Theresa Rebeck exited in March, NBC's freshman drama Smash began auditions for the role of new showrunner. Well, they may have finally found their leading man: Gossip Girl executive producer Josh Safran! We are hearing lots of of speculation Safran is trading in the Upper East Side for Broadway and will be taking over showrunner duties when the troubled musical returns for its second season.
So what would Safran's new gig mean for Gossip Girl's sixth season? And what might he tweak on Smash?
First off, NBC would only acknowledge there is speculation about Safran but the network declined to release a statement. A Smash insider tells us there is no deal in place yet.
Safran has been with Gossip Girl since its freshman season in 2007, starting out as a writer/consulting producer before moving up in the ranks to coexecutive producer. He was promoted to executive producer last season.
While the CW has yet to renew Gossip Girl, which is currently attracting just over one million viewers, it seems likely the network will give it a sixth and final season order. There's no word yet on who might replace Safran.
As for Smash?
Soon after NBC renewed the show for a second season, news broke that Rebeck would be stepping away from the showrunner spotlight. The Broadway vet will still serve as an executive producer, but she has relinquished day-to-day operations.
While Smash intially enjoyed rave reviews from critics and viewers, the show soon received backlash for several storylines, including Julia's (Debra Messing) adoption and affair with Michael (Will Chase), focusing on secondary characters' deemed unessential to the central plot and, what we receive the most emails about, the cartoonish villain that is assistant Ellis (Jaime Capero).
Presumably Safran will refocus the series on the musical numbers and interplay between the two would-be Marilyn Monroes, played by the charismatic dueling divas Katharine McPhee and Megan Hilty.
Good luck with that!
(E! and NBC are both part of the NBCUniversal family.)