NBC's musical drama that helped inspire the term "hate-watching" is back for season 2 on Feb. 5 with changes both in front of and behind the camera. The series has a new showrunner ("Gossip Girl's" Josh Safran) and new guest stars, including Chicago's Jennifer Hudson whose multi-episode arc starts in the season premiere. She plays Veronica Moore, a Tony Award-winning Broadway star.
"She's in 3 out of the first 4 episodes," Safran said about Hudson. "She sings a lot. She acts a lot. She dances a lot."
"It was incredible to get to hear her up close," "Smash" star Megan Hilty (Ivy Lynn) said. Her voice is unlike any other. And she brought such a great energy to set, too."
In the second season, the team working on bringing "Bombshell" (formerly "Marilyn") to Broadway is getting closer to their goal after a successful Boston run. But shady financing spells trouble and they soon hit a massive speedbump along the way. Other developments: Disappointed starlet Ivy Lynn (Hilty) apparently didn't pull a Marilyn and OD on pills, and Julia's (Debra Messing) marriage to Frank (Brian d'Arcy James) is still shaky. Karen Cartwright (Katharine McPhee) is single and ready to mingle, namely with a new character played by Tony Award nominee Jeremy Jordan ("Newsies"). Karen also has a lively new roomie, actress Ana Vargas (Krysta Rodriguez).
Sean Hayes will recur as Terrence Falls, the star of the musical "Liasons," who means trouble for Ivy among others. Jesse Martin will play Scott Nichols, the artistic director of an off-Broadway theater. Harvey Fierstein and Liza Minnelli will pop up too. Unfortunately, Ellis might as well. "Ellis is still alive," jokes co-executive producer Neil Meron.
Safran said the show will be similar to the first season, but "bigger, a bit more music, younger in regards to some new cast members."
Season one got a lot of attention, both good and bad. The panel was asked which of the negative Tweets did you agree with?
"The first one that comes to mind is the scarves," Meron said.
Other news: A 22-song soundtrack to "Bombshell" will go on sale Feb. 12. Advance order at iTunes and Amazon on Jan. 8.