By Kenneth Jones
Jennifer Hudson. Photo by Nathan Beckner
Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson, of “Dreamgirls” movie fame, will play a Tony Award-winning Broadway star in a multi-episode arc in the second season of the NBC-TV musical series “Smash.” The casting was announced by Universal on June 22.
Shooting for the hourlong series’ next chapter begins this summer in and around New York City. It will return to the NBC schedule in mid-season, in the winter. Jeremy Jordan, a 2012 Tony nominee for Broadway’s Newsies, was previously announced the join the cast in season two.
Oscar, Golden Globe and Grammy-winning actress-singer Hudson will make her first appearance in the second season’s first episode. Hudson will play Veronica Moore, a Broadway star “who impacts the lives” of Broadway newbie Karen (Katharine McPhee) and veteran chorus girl Ivy (Megan Hilty), according to the producers. More
By NELLIE ANDREEVA
NBC has renewed midseason musical drama Smash for a second season. The move is not surprising given that fact that Smash was the highest-profile and most heavily promoted new NBC series this season. With NBC’s top entertainment show, The Voice, as a lead-in, Smash ranks as the network’s highest rated drama in adults 18-49 (2.6 rating) and total viewers (7.7 million). After a strong start the night after the Super Bowl, Smash dropped in the ratings but leveled off relatively quickly, staying above the 2 18-49 rating with the help of its big lead-in. Smash, which posted a 2.3 demo rating on Monday, chronicles the birth of a Broadway musical. Stemming from an idea of executive producer Steven Spielberg, the series stars Debra Messing, Christian Borle, Anjelica Huston, More
By NELLIE ANDREEVA
Lifetime has assembled the cast of its Steel Magnolia
reboot. Queen Latifah has signed on to star in and executive produce the original movie,
an updated, contemporary TV adaptation of the play and 1989 film of the same name. She is joined on the all-Black cast by Alfre Woodard, Phylicia Rashad, Jill Scott, Adepero Oduye and Rashad’s daughter, Condola Rashad.
Produced by Sony Pictures Television, Steel Magnolias chronicles the lives and friendship of six women in Louisiana: ‘M’Lynn’ (Queen Latifah), Ouiser (Woodard), Clairee (Phylicia Rashad), Truvy (Scott), Annelle (Oduye) and Shelby (Condola Rashad). Supporting each other through their triumphs and tragedies, they congregate at Truvy’s beauty shop to ponder the mysteries of life and death, husbands and children – and hair and nails – all the important topics that bring women together. More
‘The Vow’ director will steer fictional story set to band’s music
By JEFF SNEIDER
“The Vow” helmer Michael Sucsy is in negotiations to direct Fox 2000’s untitled musical scripted by Susannah Grant (“Erin Brockovich”) that will be set to the music of The Beach Boys.
Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, the team behind successful bigscreen musicals “Hairspray” and “Chicago,” will produce with John Stamos.
The original musical, which is based on a fictional story and characters created by Grant, will be driven by the music of The Beach Boys. More
By: RICK KISSELL
Net dominates in demos on night after Super Bowl
NBC’s Broadway-themed drama “Smash” opened to good numbers Monday, airing behind the timeslot debut of “The Voice,” which followed up its monster post-Super Bowl premiere one night earlier with very impressive numbers. The shows combined for easily the net’s top non-sports scores this season.
It will take a while to see where both shows settle, but NBC has to be pleased with the launch of “Smash,” which averaged a 3.8 rating/10 share in adults 18-49 and 11.5 million viewers overall, according to affiliate-based preliminary estimates from Nielsen. Though it fell off in its second half-hour as expected (from 4.2 to 3.4 in 18-49), “Smash” led its hour over competing dramas “Hawaii Five-0” on CBS (2.7/7 in 18-49, 9.8 million viewers overall) and “Castle” on ABC (2.0/5 in 18-49, 8.7 million viewers overall). More
By NELLIE ANDREEVA
EXCLUSIVE: Young Australian actors Brenton Thwaites and Indiana Evans are following in the footsteps of Christopher Atkins & Brooke Shields and Brian Krause & Milla Jovovich as the leads of The Blue Lagoon, Lifetime’s contemporary remake of the 1980 romance/adventure movie starring Shields and Atkins. (Jovovich and Krause toplined the 1991 sequel.) In the story, which echoes the biblical tale of Adam and Eve and is based on the novel by Henry De Vere Stacpoole, Thwaites and Evans will play Dane and Emma, a boy and a girl marooned on a tropical island where they grow up together, fall in love and discover sexuality. More