NBC has renewed the musical series Smash, which tells the backstage story of a Broadway musical about Marilyn Monroe, has been renewed for a second season, the network announced Thursday (22 March).
The show benefits by airing Monday nights following ratings powerhouse The Voice but the network's early renewal is a strong vote of confidence in the show.
Its stars include Oscar winner Angelica Huston as a Broadway producer, Will & Grace alum Debra Messing as a writer and Katharine McPhee and Megan Hilty as two aspiring stars jockeying for the role of Marilyn.
Also in the cast is Broadway veteran Christian Borle who plays the show's composer Tom Levitt - a very prominent gay character with an active romantic life. For two weeks running, the Levitt character is seen laying in bed with a man although no lovemaking is actually seen.
In a recent interview with Gay Star News, co-executive producer Neil Meron said gay characters like Levitt are integral to a show like Smash.
'We fully embrace all that goes on in the theater, we embrace of diversity of all sorts,' he said.
Meron, whose credits with partner Craig Zadan include the feature film musicals Hairspray and Chicago and the current Broadway production of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, acknowledges that the Fox show Glee with its various popular gay characters has made it easier for Smash in this area.
'I think every time there are gay character embraced on television it makes it easier for the next show to do it as long as they're not rejected,' he said. 'It's all a benefit that gay characters have become embraced and I think what we're doing on this show is really fleshing out some really great love stories.'
'They're usually B storylines,' he adds. 'But with Christian, it is very much a very big storyline.'