March 22, 2012 6:35pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
'Smash' Creator Steps Down as Showrunner
In a story similar to that depicted on the Broadway drama at its center, NBC's Smash is changing its behind-the-scenes star.
Series creator Theresa Rebeck will step down as showrunner of the newly renewed musical drama, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed.
Just hours after the series about the staging of a Broadway musical about Marilyn Monroe was picked up for a second season, its executive producer/writer has opted to relinquish day-to-day duties.
The Broadway veteran will remain on board as an executive producer next season and could potentially pen episodes of the series.
"The show's a hit and I'm proud of the work I did," Rebeck said in a statement to THR.
Rebeck, who wrote the first three episodes of the series' freshman run, is an established Broadway playwright, and Smash's lead character, Julia (Debra Messing), is based on her. She has been involved with the series from its inception, adapting the script initially for Showtime and then later at NBC. The shift to broadcast entailed a rethinking of the drama, including such elements as who initially would win the prized role as Marilyn in the pilot.
Even with Rebeck stepping down as showrunner for Season 2, Smash will continue have a deep roster of fellow executive producers with Broadway credibility, including Marc Shaiman, Scott Wittman, Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, among others.
Despite early critical praise, the series has been criticized of late for its focus on the personal lives of the characters attached to the production, including Julia's marriage and subsequent affair.