So long, Smash. We’ll miss you.

Oh Smash.  I had such high hopes for you.  And now, you’re (tear, tear), gone.

For the second time in the past five-or-so years, another giant NBC network show about Broadway has . . . well, let’s just say it, shall we . . . flopped.

The first was the “You’re The One That I Want” Grease reality show that failed to capture the huge audiences that its British counterparts (Joseph, Sound of Music, Oliver) did.  Well, at least it gave us Laura Osnes, right?

I am so thankful to NBC for having the courage to try and make a show about Broadway work.  This kind of exposure to millions of people all over the world about what we do is arguably the biggest weapon we have in the war on audience development.  

But let’s admit it . . . that’s two strikes against Broadway on television.

And that means, we’re almost out.

See, the worst part about these two failures is that TV doesn’t like to give topics more than two chances.  It’s probably going to be awhile before someone takes a shot on a Broadway themed anything on a network.

So what didn’t work?  Is it because our industry is so niche that not many people care about its drama (as opposed to medical dramas and police dramas that feature high stakes and workplaces that we all can understand)?  Is it because singing and dancing in a show was designed to be done on a stage, and not on a flat screen?  Or was it simply an execution problem – were the shows just not very good?

Honestly?  I’m mostly thinking execution here.  I thought the Grease show could have been a rama-lama-ding-dong more exciting with just a few different twists and turns.  And I thought Smash started off strong, but struggled with its gotta-be-like-Glee mentality and a too-serial-of-a-story structure to be as thrilling as we had hoped.

So yes, I still think there’s a Broadway based TV show out there that the mass public will embrace (and I’ve actually got an idea for one that I’ll put down on paper someday when the Smash smoke clears).

And we should all pray that we get another pitch to swing at, because while it may be called the Boob Tube, it could be the fastest way to get more butts in seats.

 

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Ken created one of the first Broadway podcasts, recording over 250 episodes over 7 years. It features interviews with A-listers in the theater about how they “made it”, including 2 Pulitzer Prize Winners, 7 Academy Award Winners and 76 Tony Award winners. Notable guests include Pasek & Paul, Kenny Leon, Lynn Ahrens and more.

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