Here's hoping Megan Hilty doesn't have a complex... For months, NBC has been touting Smash as that new show starring American Idol's Katharine McPhee when in fact she is one of two actresses in the series whose characters are vying to play Marilyn Monroe on Broadway.
"...and introducing Katharine McPhee!" "Watch this specially filmed music video of Katharine McPhee singing 'Beautiful'!" And just take a gander at the poster, nicknamed Mount McPhee by one of the Idol alum's co-stars: It does her co-stars like Debra Messing no favors (is she about to fall off?). Anjelica Huston just barely squeezes in.
So is it safe to assume that McPhee's Karen Cartwright gets to play Marilyn?
Smash, Katharine McPhee and Megan Hilty
Thanks to NBC's relentless marketing and PR campaign, much is already known about Smash, a big-risk series about the making of a Marilyn Monroe musical. At the center of the sudsy backstage drama is American Idol's Katharine McPhee, who stars as an ingénue pitted against a more seasoned Broadway chorus girl to play the iconic blonde.
If the premise sounds hopelessly niche for a broadcast network in desperate need of a hit (thespians! show tunes! jazz hands!), both NBC and critics high on the series have been working hard to change your mind. Advanced word on Smash is that it's the anti-Glee (especially if you've tired of that show's pop song-happy chorus of high schoolers), The West Wing but on Broadway (should you miss Aaron Sorkin's defining sense of a workplace), and a game-changer for NBC (if you went bananas for the first episode, which NBC screened in theaters and made available on-demand and online weeks before Monday's official premiere).
Watch Smash right now — then tell us what you think!
Is it all just hyperbole?
The X Factor
Some time in recent days and weeks, Simon Cowell realized that The X Factor wasn't shaping up to be the singing competition to end all singing competitions. The money was there, as was the support from Fox, but with little more than 12 million viewers tuning in to see who would win a $5 million windfall, it became clear something hadn't clicked with America.
And so on Monday, we learned that he had cleaned house: Gone are stiff host Steve Jones and simpering, whimpering judges Nicole Scherzinger and Paula Abdul. Reports that Cowell was looking for more star power next season quickly followed. Mariah Carey's name has already been bandied about as the kind of A-list celebrity he wants, and she did serve as Simon's right hand during the at-home coaching sessions.
But is she enough? Is she even the right Hail Mary play? The truth is The X Factor has strong elements going for it, boasting auditions in front of a live crowd, Simon's bitter tongue and the most diverse lineup of contestants of any of the broadcast talent shows.
Now if only it could rid itself of any remaining similarity to American Idol. Some ideas:
Wallace Shawn, Leighton Meester, John Shea
[WARNING: The following story contains major spoilers from Monday's episode for Gossip Girl, "The Princess Bride." Read at your own risk.]
She did it. She got married and became a princess. And now the avalanche of questions...
Is Gossip Girl really going to make Dan and Blair happen? Did new media magnate Nate just fall for another pretty girl (who happens to be the real Charlie Rhodes)? Would the reformed Chuck have sent that video to Gossip Girl? Will he and Serena decide to put themselves out of their misery when they find out Blair ran off with LonelyBoy? Did the royal lapdog Prince Louis actually grow a pair? Is Georgina the real Dread Pirate Roberts Gossip Girl?
Ed Westwick tired of "lovesick puppy" Chuck, ready for Gossip Girl to end
So many burning questions lingering about Monday's 100th episode of Gossip Girl, written by executive producer Josh Safran and fittingly titled, "The Princess Bride." Fortunately, Safran and fellow series boss Stephanie Savage were on hand last week to tease and tantalize reporters who got an early peek at the episode about everything that is to come. Get cozy — they had a lot to say! (And for the record, we're so sticking with the theory that Georgina is not Gossip Girl.)
Darren Criss, Grant Gustin
How evil, or stupid, is Sebastian anyway? So far, we know that that the self-assured Dalton Academy Warbler — aka Glee's christened Season 3 villain -- has sex and Blaine on the brain and little else. And based on his appearances thus far, his personals ad probably reads something like this: "Likes -- one-night stands, Blaine 'sex on a stick' Anderson, Lima, Ohio's finest gay dive bar, Scandals, and coffee with a shot of Courvoisier."
Oh, and he used to live in Paris, plays Lacrosse and has waged war on Kurt.
Glee video: Watch New Directions bust out their best MJ moves in "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'"
Anyone else ready to barf? "I don't...
Ed Westwick and Leighton Meester
Last we saw Chuck Bass, he was so determined to bust up Blair's wedding (ah, young love) that he told some malevolent priest from Monaco that he'd revert back to his dastardly scheming ways to do it. Which isn't so much what Blair wants, but Ed Westwick would love it.
That's because over the past two seasons of Gossip Girl, Chuck has been re-made into the heart-on-his-sleeve Romeo of the Upper East Side. His reformed self is still rich and pretentious, but the amoral playboy who once traded Blair for a hotel is long gone. Even his last fling last season with Raina turned into real love (if you take Blair out of the equation).
Gossip Girl "End of the Affair" postmortem: Burning questions answered!
"I feel like the old Chuck was a playboy and that's what I would have loved to have been," Westwick told TVGuide.com at the CW winter TV preview earlier this month. The 24-year-old British actor laughed before adding, "Maybe...
Touch, Kiefer Sutherland
Remember when Jack Bauer was forced into a situation where he needed some friend (not foe) to get out of his way so he could stop some damn terrorists? He'd perform his mighty headlock maneuver and whisper ever so gently, "Don't fight it." That's more or less how Kiefer Sutherland feels about Touch, the new show in which he stars created by Heroes boss Tim Kring. Watching it is what's best for you, he explained
For his next act, Heroes creator Tim Kring wanted to nix the epic mythologies and instead make the TV show that he'd been kicking around in his head for years. His new drama, Touch, stars Kiefer Sutherland as a man desperate to communicate with his mute son Jake, an 11-year-old who he discovers can spot patterns in the world that predict the future and -- more importantly to Kring -- demonstrate humanity's interconnectedness.
So while Jake sounds suspiciously like one of Heroes' superpower-wielding characters, solving the mystery of his gift is not a priority for Kring.
NBC would love for you to start obsessing over its new musical series Smash early.
Check out photos from Smash
So while the show -- a soapy, backstage drama about the making of a Broadway musical -- won't premiere until Monday, Feb. 6, you can watch it right here, right now.