Katharine McPhee in ‘Smash’

Road to the Emmys 2012: The Supporting Actor & Actress

Did anyone think it would end differently?

By the season finale, Katharine McPhee’s character Karen Cartwright landed the lead as Marilyn Monroe in “Bombshell” as it made its way to Broadway. The journey, however, was never smooth.

That’s similar to McPhee’s path as well. She rose to instant fame in 2006 as the runner-up on “American Idol” but never found the right part after that. But then “Smash” came along and McPhee knew she had to be part of it.

“I was like, ‘I want in! Will they see me?’ My first thought always is, ‘Do I even have a shot to be seen for it?’ ” says McPhee.

Her determination paid off, and within a week of auditioning, she won the role and was ready to dive into primetime television as a series regular.

“I love the sense of drive that she has for the business and that Karen’s the one person who can keep her integrity through everything,” McPhee says. “I think she could be a little bit more aggressive, but that’s what’s beautiful about her: She’s always trying to do the right thing.”

What Karen may be lacking in professional ferocity, McPhee makes up for in her spare time. In the middle of recording an album, she certainly isn’t resting on her accomplishments.

“I always relate to that struggle of trying to get people to give you an opportunity,” she says. “I’m just trying to position myself so that I can have the best opportunities for myself, to do what I love to do.”

More TV

  • Starz Expands Into Canada With Bell

    Starz Expands Into Canada With Bell Media Pact

    Did anyone think it would end differently? By the season finale, Katharine McPhee’s character Karen Cartwright landed the lead as Marilyn Monroe in “Bombshell” as it made its way to Broadway. The journey, however, was never smooth. That’s similar to McPhee’s path as well. She rose to instant fame in 2006 as the runner-up on […]

  • Sky TV Logo

    Fox Still Expects Sky Takeover to Go Through, but Opponents Rejoice

    Did anyone think it would end differently? By the season finale, Katharine McPhee’s character Karen Cartwright landed the lead as Marilyn Monroe in “Bombshell” as it made its way to Broadway. The journey, however, was never smooth. That’s similar to McPhee’s path as well. She rose to instant fame in 2006 as the runner-up on […]

  • 'The Bachelor' Recap: Arie Luyendyk Jr.

    'The Bachelor' Recap: Arie Luyendyk Jr. Faces 'The Bekah-ning'

    Did anyone think it would end differently? By the season finale, Katharine McPhee’s character Karen Cartwright landed the lead as Marilyn Monroe in “Bombshell” as it made its way to Broadway. The journey, however, was never smooth. That’s similar to McPhee’s path as well. She rose to instant fame in 2006 as the runner-up on […]

  • CBS Orders Pilots From Gloria Calderon

    CBS Orders Pilots From Gloria Calderon Kellett, Amanda Green, Michelle Nader

    Did anyone think it would end differently? By the season finale, Katharine McPhee’s character Karen Cartwright landed the lead as Marilyn Monroe in “Bombshell” as it made its way to Broadway. The journey, however, was never smooth. That’s similar to McPhee’s path as well. She rose to instant fame in 2006 as the runner-up on […]

  • NBC Orders FBI Drama 'The Enemy

    NBC Orders FBI Drama 'The Enemy Within' From 'Mentalist' Writer to Pilot

    Did anyone think it would end differently? By the season finale, Katharine McPhee’s character Karen Cartwright landed the lead as Marilyn Monroe in “Bombshell” as it made its way to Broadway. The journey, however, was never smooth. That’s similar to McPhee’s path as well. She rose to instant fame in 2006 as the runner-up on […]

  • Timeless

    TV News Roundup: 'Timeless' Sets Season 2 Premiere Date on NBC

    Did anyone think it would end differently? By the season finale, Katharine McPhee’s character Karen Cartwright landed the lead as Marilyn Monroe in “Bombshell” as it made its way to Broadway. The journey, however, was never smooth. That’s similar to McPhee’s path as well. She rose to instant fame in 2006 as the runner-up on […]

  • "The Matrimonial Metric" -- Pictured: Sheldon

    Delayed Viewing Ratings: 'Big Bang Theory' Winter Premiere Starts 2018 Strong

    Did anyone think it would end differently? By the season finale, Katharine McPhee’s character Karen Cartwright landed the lead as Marilyn Monroe in “Bombshell” as it made its way to Broadway. The journey, however, was never smooth. That’s similar to McPhee’s path as well. She rose to instant fame in 2006 as the runner-up on […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content