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The NBC drama has tapped Gossip Girl showrunner Josh Safran to replace creator Theresa Rebeck on the musical drama about the staging of a Broadway production, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
Safran, who has been with the CW staple as an executive producer and co-EP and consulting producer since 2008, when Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage brought him into the Gossip Girl fold.
Safran, who currently serves as showrunner on the CW series, replaces Rebeck, who stepped down from the helm of the freshman NBC series in March. She’s expected to remain a writer and executive producer on Smash‘s recently announced second season.
Rebeck, who wrote the first three episodes of the series’ freshman run, is an established Broadway playwright, andSmash‘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.
Safran’s addition comes as viewers of both series have been vocal about the story lines on both series.
Despite early critical praise, Smash 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. For its part, Gossip Girl viewers have been vocal about its skewed focus and on Blair and Dan.
While NBC has already picked up Smash for a second season, the CW has been mum about the future of Gossip Girl. Safran is repped by UTA.
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