NBC's Broadway-themed series, Smash, just got a major shakeup and four actors were lost in the shuffle. Which Smash stars will not return come Season 2?
The Hollywood Reporter revealed that stars Raza Jaffrey, who played Katharine McPhee's fiancé, Dev, and Jaime Cepero, who played snarky assistant, Ellis, will not be returning for the second season of Smash.
In addition, both Brian d'Arcy James, who played Julia's husband, Frank, and Will Chase, who played Julia's lover, Michael Swift, will also not be returning for Season 2.
Jaffrey's character Dev had just cheated on fiancée Karen (Katarine McPhee) with Ivy (Megan Hilty). Karen learned of the infidelity and broke off her engagement with Dev, throwing the ring in his face and taking the stage to play Marilyn. Dev was last seen watching Karen's debut performance of Bombshell in Boston.
Cepero's character, Ellis, was one of the most hated on Smash. Ellis played a small but irksome part in the Smash group. As the nagging, too-big-for-his-britches assistant, Ellis has never been likable. His conniving, underhanded ways - from going through Eileen's personal information to manipulating Rebecca Duvall's agent - were far from charming (though fun for TV).
When Ellis finds out Karen has been chosen as Marilyn, he whispers to Ivy, I can't believe this. Ellis has always had a love for Ivy. Maybe it is a deviousness that bonds them.
Ellis runs out of the theater to confront Eileen, saying, You can't let this happen. It's Ivy's part. Ivy is Marilyn. We've all seen it a hundred times, she was fantastic in that workshop, there was nothing wrong with that workshop, she delivered. It's her part. When Eileen tells him that he does not have a vote in this, Ellis breaks.
I didn't get Rebecca Duvall out of your way so you can ignore me yet again. He confesses to putting peanuts in the blender in the smoothie. So don't ever call me an assistant ever again. I am a producer, he confesses. Then Eileen fires him.
This seemed like quite a juicy cliffhanger, with Ellis saying You have not seen the last of me, but Cepero just got his own walking papers.
James and Chase will have neither regular nor recurring roles Season 2, THR confirmed. Sources told THR that NBC passed on Chase's option to return. However, it was noted that the two could come back for an episode or two to wrap up their respective storylines -- a tumultuous love triangle between Frank, Michael and Julia (Debra Messing). In the Season 1 finale of Smash, Julia revealed she is pregnant. Who is the father?
A recent report from TV Line revealed that Smash may add three new regulars in the sophomore season in lieu of the four not returning:
- Courtney: an African-American chorus member in her mid- to late-20s who packs a powerhouse voice, described as incredibly attractive and confident, but also open-minded and non-judgmental.
- Danny: astraight, working-class guy in his mid-20s, described as sexy, charismatic and musically gifted, but also self-destructive and remote.
- Joe: aBrooklyn-born guy in his early to mid-20s, gay, very cute, incredibly open and optimistic.
Season 2 of Smash is set to focus more on the music. The upcoming season will consist of 18 episodes, up from the 13 episodes in Season 1. However, it will be bumped back to mid-season to make way for six new shows premiering on the network in the fall.
Actor Christian Borle, who plays Broadway composer Tom Levitt on the NBC series, told the L.A. Times that the show will be rebooted come Season 2. New showrunner Josh Safran will replace Smash creator Theresa Rebeck.
What I think is going to happen with Season 2 is that it's actually going to delve more into the process of the creation and what the writing partnership is, the nuts and bolts of that room, he said. We looked at it briefly in Season 1 but didn't really; it was kind of, in a way, a shorthand to get us to the next event.
Critics complained that Smash takes too many liberties depicting how a Broadway show is put together. But Borle has nothing but confidence for Season 2. What's true about Season 2 is that there's still a core group of people who ... love the theater and want to continue to talk about it as honestly and as truly as possible. But the mechanics are going to change. We shall see if it's for the better.