Four Actors Get Cut from 'Smash': Out with the Bad, on With the Show

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There's been plenty of big news about NBC's new drama, "Smash." The series has been renewed, has a new showrunner, and has just announced some pretty big cast changes. The musical series about the launching of a Broadway show about Marilyn Monroe has earned plenty of raves from fans and critics alike, but some of the forays into the characters' personal lives haven't gone over well. In an attempt to return the focus to the music and backstage drama, "Smash" is axing four guys from the cast.

The Best News We've Ever Heard.

All of you Ellis-haters out there can rejoice. Eileen's (Anjelica Huston) conniving assistant/producer/eavesdropper, played to the highest slime quotient by actor Jaime Cepero, will not be returning as a series regular for Season 2. Considering the vengeful threat he made before finally getting fired, Ellis may turn up in an episode or two to stir up more trouble, but hopefully not for awhile. The character, usually found lurking near closed doors, wore out his welcome quickly with "Smash" fans.

All good dramas tend to have a villain viewers love to hate, but there was little enjoyment in Ellis' antics on "Smash." Look to first-year lawyer Cary (Matt Czuchry) on "The Good Wife" for the example of an enjoyable troublemaker. Cary was ambitious, devious, and very clever in his machinations. He also turned out to have a little vulnerability and a personal sense of righteousness that acted as motivation.

In contrast, Ellis never seemed anything more than pure, catty evil. He had ambitions to be powerful, but more often than not, just seemed to want to hurt as many people as possible for no particular reason. Whether it was the acting or writing, the character never came across as a remotely real person. "Smash" is better off without him. 

Zero Chemistry

The second actor to get the boot from "Smash" is Raza Jaffrey, who played Dev, the fiance of Marilyn hopeful Karen (Katharine McPhee). This was an odd couple from the start on "Smash," and the Season 1 finale brought this romance to its logical conclusion. Oddly enough, despite the cheater storyline for Dev, it always felt like he cared a lot more for Karen than she did for him. Fitting with her Midwestern good-girl character, it was as if she was going through the motions of a relationship that looked good on paper.

Now that Dev has been painted by "Smash" writers as a dishonest, selfish guy, it'll be good to see Karen move on without him. This could also open the doors to a bit more meaningful flirtation with bad boy director Derrick (Jack Davenport), though we hope that doesn't go past suggestive moments in Season 2. Davenport is an excellent actor, and his unrequited longing for Karen is way more enjoyable than a pointless affair with her would be.


Freeing Up Julia

By far the most loathed storyline on "Smash" was the adoption scenario with script writer and lyricist Julia (Debra Messing) and her family. The subsequent affair with "Bombshell" star Michael Swift (Will Chase) thankfully ended that idea, even if it was with another out-of-character move. Julia's personal drama took up a lot of time during Season 1, and despite the possible pregnancy alluded to in the finale, it seems the series will be getting the songwriter back to work.

Both Michael and Julia's husband Frank will fade into the background in Season 2 of "Smash," as Chase and Brian d'Arcy James have been removed as featured players. Though it's a relief to have the family drama scaled back, it's unclear how the pregnancy bombshell will be resolved. Sadly, Julia's obnoxious, laconic son Leo (Emory Cohen) will remain front and center in her life.

What do you think, "Smash" fans? Are you happy these four guys are gone?

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