The contract comes as part of a deal between Columbia Records and NBC to release the soundtrack for McPhee's upcoming TV series, Smash. Set to premiere midseason on NBC, Smash is a drama that follows the making of a Broadway musical about Marilyn Monroe. McPhee appears in this, her first scripted series, as one of the musical's stars.
McPhee, 27, was previously signed to RCA Records after she lost the Idol crown to Taylor Hicks in 2006. Her self-titled debut peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 albums chart in 2007, but suffered sluggish sales and she was dropped from the label a year later. She released two more albums for the Verve Forecast label, a subsidiary of Universal, both in 2010.
As part of the agreement, Columbia Records now holds the rights to all of the songs from Season 1 of Smash, with options for subsequent seasons. Smash will feature both original songs, composed by Broadway veterans Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, as well as covers of hit tunes. Columbia Records has a similar agreement with Glee. The company has released 10 albums from Fox's hit TV show.
"A musical series should naturally be accompanied by a soundtrack deal, and NBC is very excited to be working with the best. Our Columbia Records partners will guide the soundtrack of 'Smash' into a big component of the show's success," NBC entertainment head Robert Greenblatt said in a statement. "The music will be a driving force of what promises to make a tremendous impact for NBC in January and we couldn't have asked for better expertise and strategy than this company will provide."
Watch a preview of Smash: