Katharine McPhee, Megan Hilty, Smash


Let the Smash changes begin!

The cast and crew are getting together tomorrow for the first table read of season two.

"It feels like it's going to be the first day of school," star Megan Hilty told me earlier today. "I'm going to pack my little lunch, lay out my clothes tonight, put a little name tag on. I have no idea what's going to happen, but I'm so excited. There are so many new faces."

After the table read, Hilty is hosting a dinner for the cast with Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte. "We're getting together to celebrate and get to know each other," she said. "I wanted to throw a little party and have a little mixer and shake hands and go over what's in store for us next season."

Shortly after it was announced that Gossip Girl veteran Josh Safran was replacing Theresa Rebeck as showrunner for season two, NBC revealed that Brian d'Arcy James, Raza Jaffrey, Jaime Cepero and Will Chase wouldn't be returning to the musical drama. New to the show will be Broadway stars Krysa Rodriguez and Jeremy Jordan.

"You know, change is inevitable in any business, but especially ours," Hilty said. "I've certainly been replaced in jobs and I've taken over for other people. I've been through all that before. It's sad to not see old friends like I used to, but I'm going to make some new ones now, too."

One of those news ones also happens to be Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson, who has signed on for a multi-episode guest-starring gig.

"It will be awesome if we get to duet it out," Hilty said, laughing. "I'm wondering if our characters get along or if she's yet another person that I find intimidating and going to battle with, too."

Shooting is set to begin next Tuesday.

Hilty would like to see Ivy "get it together"—but not too much. "Just for a little while and have something she can really celebrate," she said. "She can lose it again—that's fine with me—but I want to her to be happy about something!"

(E! and NBC are both part of the NBCUniversal family.)

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