Smash, Josh Safran

Smash has found itself a new lead.

Gossip Girl executive producer Josh Safran is finalizing a deal to replace outgoing boss Theresa Rebeck as showrunner in Season 2, sources have confirmed to TVGuide.com. Rebeck, who created the musical drama, announced last month she would step down at the end of the first season, but retain her executive producer credit. NBC renewed Smash for a second season the same day.

NBC renews Smash for second season; Creator to depart

Safran, who began on Gossip Girl as a writer in 2007 and has since worked his way up to executive producer, is likely to amp up Smash's soap opera tendencies. While the first episode was well reviewed by critics, subsequent episodes have been a mixed bag, focused at times on the behind-the-scenes, backstabbing shenanigans of the musical's players, including dueling leading ladies Ivy and Karen (Megan Hilty and Katharine McPhee), and other times on the serious personal drama of the musical's co-writer Julia (Debra Messing).

The most recent episode of Smash drew 6.1 million viewers and a 2.1 adult 18-49 rating Monday night, up 11 percent from last week's series low. The series finale, which will see the Broadway-bound Marilyn Monroe musical Bombshell open out of town, airs May 14.

Smash airs Mondays at 10/9c on NBC.