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Katharine McPhee Cast in NBC Musical Pilot 'Smash'

The "American Idol" alum joins Debra Messing in the Steven Spielberg drama.

American Idol alum Katharine McPhee has signed for the NBC pilot Smash.

The Steven Spielberg musical drama, from DreamWorks TV and Universal Media Studios, revolves around a cross section of characters who come together to mount a Broadway musical inspired by silver screen icon Marilyn Monroe.

Playwright Theresa Rebeck wrote the pilot; Michael Mayer (Spring Awakening) will direct. Spielberg, Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey are executive producers with Hairspray's Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, while Tony-winning songwriters Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman will write original songs.

Debra Messing and Jack Davenport (FlashForward) have been cast as the lyricist and choreographer, respectively.

Smash is an ambitious project for broadcast television. Until Fox's Glee, the musical had not exactly had a successful track record, with experiments including the Hugh Jackman-headlined Viva Laughlin, canceled after a handful of episodes. Smash was originally developed at Showtime by new NBC entertainment chief Bob Greenblatt.