NBC's sudsy musical returns Feb. 5

Meet the new “Smash,” just like the old “Smash.”

NBC’s sudsy musical that launches its second season Feb. 5 will be very similar in tone to the first season, one that had many passionate fans but also some who were shaking their fist at the screen at times.

At Sunday’s Television Critics Assn. panel for the show, producers appeased scribes when they said, in so many words, that there would less scarves this time around and that the character of Ellis might not be completely gone, but likely won’t be seen.

“When things were going off-kilter, it reinforced our feeling that it would be great to adjust some things for season two,” said exec producer Craig Zadan, without being specific.

But for the most part, like it or hate, the show will be the same.

Exec producer Josh Safran, who took over showrunning duties from Theresa Rebeck, said, “I had the great luxury of being an audience member who then gets to come in and play in this world.”

As for how this season will be different, Safran said: “Bigger, more music and maybe younger.”

Drama started out very strongly in the 18-49 demo before settling in with solid but far from spectactular numbers. The show is a favorite of NBC topper Bob Greenblatt, who personally introduced clips to a musical number to be seen later this season.

Guest stars for the season include Jennifer Hudson, who will appear in three of the first episodes, as well as Liza Minnelli and Sean Hayes.

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