There is a lot of excitement surrounding Smash‘s nomination at the Golden Globes. “Everyone who is involved with Smash, whether on the outskirts or at the epicenter, is thrilled and dancing in the aisles this morning on this wonderful news,” Steven Spielberg, executive producer of the show, said in a statement.
Smash songwriters and executive producers Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman were especially thrilled. The pair were on their way to upstate New York — “to write another 200 songs for Smash,” jokes Wittman — this morning when their phones began buzzing.
“Me — being Jewish — I just assumed, ‘Uh oh. There’s some bad news. What are all these e-mails?'” says Shaiman with a laugh.
It was anything but bad news. The two learned that the show, which begins its second season in February, was nominated for a Golden Globe in the Best Comedy or Musical Television Series category. (See the full list of nominees here.)
In a quick chat with EW, the two talk about the big — and unexpected — honor and very mildly tease a bit about what fans can expect in the second season.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Smash‘s nomination was a big surprise this morning. Were you expecting this at all?
Wittman: I wasn’t expecting it at all. It wasn’t even in my zeitgeist.
Shaiman: I forgot they were even being announced.
Wittman: [Laughs] But we couldn’t be happier, especially for Bob Greenblatt and Steven Spielberg because this has really been their baby since the beginning. So we’re glad to be part of that.
Season one had such a passionate following, but it also had a fair amount of criticism. Sometimes unfair amount, too. Do you feel vindicated a bit?
Wittman: I don’t know. We were pretty proud of the work we did last year, so you know what, if you believe the good ones, you gotta believe the bad ones. We just pile it on.
Shaiman: We’re old enough and experienced enough now that we basically roll our eyes at both the good and the bad.
This has got to be good fuel going into the second season. From what we’ve heard Karen (Katharine McPhee) is in a good place when we start off. What can you tease to me about her character journey this year?
Shaiman: Everyone — Karen and everyone else on the show — are still finding their place in New York on Broadway and on the theater scene. And [new showrunner] Josh Safran has found ways to shake things up more than a little bit.
Wittman: But still keeping what’s great about last year.
Shaiman: And there’s still a lot of competition for Karen. In fact, there’s even more competition for her and everyone else.
Wittman: She gets to sing a lot of new songs this year. So that’s always great whenever Kat opens her mouth.
There are multiple musicals this year. Can you talk to me a bit about the challenge of writing different genres?
Wittman: Well, it was great. First of all, in one year, most people wouldn’t get to write for Jennifer Hudson, Sean Hayes, Bernadette Peters and Liza Minnelli. So that’s been great fun for us.
Shaiman: And like you said it’s been fun to write for those different styles. We’re really writing and tailoring these songs very specifically for the artists. So that’s wonderful, and it’s wonderful when you send a song and then wait [for their reaction]. So far, they all write back write away saying, ‘Oh my God. I love this. I can’t wait to sing it.’
Wittman: It is almost as good as a Golden Globe nomination. And I will say the thing we’re most proud of last season was Anjelica Huston[‘s performance of “September Song”] — and we didn’t even write that song. But we wanted her to sing so badly. So the fact that she’s had this longevity of career and never sang in public whet our appetites to get her to do it. We were very proud of that.
What I’m really excited about is Daniel Sunjata. He’s a new love interest, right?
Wittman: You’re trying to get things out of us!
Shaiman: You want spoilers!
Wittman: We’ll get yelled at!
Shaiman: Golden Globe [nomination] or no Golden Globe [nomination].
Wittman: But if you know what Daniel Sunjata looks like and sounds like, he’s a love interest for any character on the show. He’s such a dreamboat.