NBC's musical series 'Smash' and its star, 'American Idol' alum Katharine McPhee, get record deals

Smash

Image Credit: Will Hart/NBC

Move over, Glee—there’s a new musical-TV competitor coming, and it goes by the name of Smash.

That’s right: NBC’s Broadway-set series is poised to give FOX’s behemoth singing series a run for its money in the genre with its own Glee-style production numbers woven into its storylines.

And now, NBC has signed a deal with Columbia (the same label that releases Glee‘s music) to produce a soundtrack for the show. The announcement came with a bonus: Smash‘s star, American Idol season 5 runner-up Katharine McPhee, has also signed a solo record deal.

The pilot of the series, which is set to bow on Mondays at 10 p.m. sometime during midseason on NBC, features a mix of original songs and covers of pop tunes such as Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful” and “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” from The Wizard of Oz (sung by McPhee), as well as other stars, including Broadway standout Megan Hilty, who has starred in Great White Way hits like 9 to 5 and Wicked.

The announcement of the record deals explained that the Smash soundtrack would include “both original compositions by Mark Shaiman and Scott Wittman, the Tony and Grammy Award-winning songwriters of Broadway blockbusters such as Hairspray and Catch Me If You Can, as well as covers of a variety of existing hits that will combine to tell the narrative of this musical series.” Smash itself tells the story of the making of a fictional Broadway musical, Marilyn: The Musical, and also stars Debra Messing, Christian Borle, and Angelica Houston.

For a taste of what might be on the Smash soundtrack, watch the preview for the show here:

The press announcement didn’t shed any light on what might be on McPhee’s solo album. (Maybe numbers from…Smash?) McPhee has released three studio albums since she came in second on the fifth season of American Idol in the spring of 2006.

Her first, self-titled album debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 in January 2007 and spawned a minor hit, “Over It,” which made it to No. 29 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was certified gold. But the album itself only moved 381,000 copies. Her second effort, Unbroken, debuted at No. 27 and sold just 45,000 copies after its release in January 2010. A Christmas album last fall, Christmas is the Time to Say I Love You, fared even worse, selling just 23,000 copies after its release in October 2010. But maybe Smash, if it catches fire, will make McPhee an album-selling powerhouse.

Do you think that’s possible? Will you buy the soundtrack to Smash? Will you buy a new solo record from Katharine McPhee? Sound off below.

Tanner on Twitter: @EWTanStransky

The Music Mix: @EWMusicMix

Read more:
Debra Messing: ‘Smash’ isn’t ‘Glee’


Comments (102 total) Add your comment
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  • Jack

    This is going to be a huge hit. The Show is nothing like Glee.

    • jennrae

      It would look more attractive if they sang a cappella or with just a piano. Also, Katherine McPhee is best when she’s not singing big songs like “Beautiful.”

    • sam

      i wish that nbc would not program the voice and smash in the spring opposite dancing with the stars and castle when they can have tuesdays to itself.

      • Andie

        Other than, you know, Glee. They might kind of be worried about that competition, for Smash at least.

  • anikes

    OMG! That looks amazing. I hope they don’t cancel it after one show. That’s the problem with NBC, they cancel shows right when you’re just getting into it.

    • jake

      you got that wrong, they keep shows in the same time slot even if they are doing terrible and let it die (the event, heroes, community). They don’t program well. This show could easily have been on Thursdays at 10 instead of opposite castle and hawaii 5-0. If I were NBC, i’d switch their tuesday and monday schedules. The voice could be a real hit for them on tuesdays.

    • Andie

      Yup, like Chuck and Friday Night Lights and Parenthood. ….

  • Julius

    WoW

  • P7

    “And introducing Katherine McPhee?” Really? Isn’t she a bit past the “introducing” stage? The House Bunny, Shark Night 3D, American Idol, 3 albums, etc, etc…Hmm.

    • Brigette

      I know! “Introducing.” Isn’t that what they say in front of the names of child stars? Sheesh.

      • Kt

        It always makes me think fondly of Robin Wright; when she did The Princess Bride, her credit was “introducing Robin Wright” even though she wasn’t a child. I think it’s just supposed to be a classy way of saying “This person isn’t a star YET.” She hasn’t really had a big role on TV yet (I don’t think) so I guess it’s fair to say “introducing.”

      • LAJackie

        The term ‘introducing’ usually refers to an actor’s first major role, regardless of their age.

    • Andre

      I think they do that when a lead actor is in a new type of role. McPhee has never done episodic television…this is new for her. Remember that in the credits for “Dream Girls”, it was “Introducing Jennifer Hudson” because she’d not done a film before.

    • Tony

      I agree, she is passed the “Introducing” phase. Jennifer Hudson was “introduced” into acting when she did Dreamgirls, even though she was a finalist on American Idol. Plus, having “introduced” Ms Hudson, the producers were able to get her a supporting actress oscar instead of having her compete in the lead actress category

      • Point

        Hudson wasn’t a finalist in her Idol year.

      • Zach

        That was different though – it was Hudson’s first screen performance.

    • underfor5

      “Introducing Julia Roberts” at the beginning of Ocean’s Eleven was my favourite…

      • ty

        I thought it was introducing “Tess” as Julia Roberts in Ocean’s Twelve. If they did that in Ocean’s Eleven, then I missed it.

    • Kevin

      Right?! They need to stop trying to make Katherine McPhee happen, she ain’t gonna happen.

      • mike

        The girl simply doesn’t have “it” No matter what she does, she will never be a star.

      • Lillian

        See Jamie Gertz…Oh, how they tried!

  • Randi

    You forgot to mention the best person in the cast – Brian D’Arcy James. Best. Ever.

  • Gavin.

    She’s the most gorgeous Idol contestant EVER. Her debut album was actually not bad and it didn’t get enough recognition from her label. Too bad. The new series will do well.

    • matt

      No, her debut album was awful. Okay, three good songs if that, but the rest were bad.

      • Leanna

        That’s totally untrue. Katharine’s first CD was awesome and had many wonderful songs on it:

        Great ballads:
        Ordinary World, Better Off Alone, and Home.
        Uptempo:
        Not Ur Girl, Over It, and Love Story.
        She even had a dance club hit with Open Toes.
        Neglected was fantastic and one of the best on her cd!

        What was “awful” was the little promotion RCA did for her. Such a travesty. Anyways, she will eventually find her own and be a hit!

      • Jonathan

        Thank you, Leanna; I agree with everything you said!

    • gregk

      She is indeed the most beautiful contestant and could not believe she lost to Hicks. I even bought her Christmas album, one of the few apparently. Love to see her on a new TV show.

    • Kent

      I hated when she went blonde since it did not go well with her skin tone. She is such a stunning beauty with her natural brunette and I could go on looking at Katharine forever. I think she’ll be amazing in SMASH and she will make the series one also!

  • allie

    I am SO in. This looks awesome!

  • Katie

    I haven’t been a fan of hers since i saw the house bunny but I’ll give her another chance

  • mar g

    Totally looking forward to this new show and the new albums!! Alot of people have seen the pilot & are raving about Kat and SMASH! January can’t come soon enough! WTG, Kat and the rest of the SMASH cast!!!

  • Brigette

    I can’t really tell if these will be awesome or awesomely bad. I’m leaning toward awesome because the cast looks great, and it’s kind of hard to lose with Speilberg.

  • Chris

    One of the most beautiful women I’ve ever seen.

    • Kent

      Oh man you got a ditto on that!

  • Nick

    She looks and sounds amazing I look forward to a little competition with glee. I would invest in the album if it resonates a great theme.

    • Kt

      Seriously, Glee needs a real kick in the pants from some kind of competition so it gets its sh*t together. That show has never lived up to its potential, and it’s a shame because I want to love it so much. But I think that, if Smash is any good, I’ll have to switch over entirely and let Glee go.

      • LAJackie

        I feel exactly the same way!

  • steve

    “introducing…” as an actress.

    makes perfect sense.

    thank god she’s out of the blonde phase ;)

  • John

    She is a stunningly beautiful woman, and has a really solid voice. I don’t understand how a “singer” like J-lo could, at some point, have hit after hit, but McPhee has flop after flop…

  • Pisces228

    That trailer was excellent. Catharine McPhee has one of the best voices to ever come out of Idol, and she’s beautiful to look at. If she can act–and it looks like she can–then this show has real promise. I know I’ll be giving it a try. :-)

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