By Sandra Gonzalez
July 10, 2012 at 10:15 PM EDT
Patrick Harbron/NBC

The cast of Smash is gearing up for their new season, but Megan Hilty is getting ready for a battle.

“In the first episode, you will be introduced to rivals of everything — including Bombshell,” she tells EW of the show’s second season. “There’s going to be a lot of new things this season.” Not the least of which is a new showrunner — former Gossip Girl head Joshua Safran, who will be replacing creator Theresa Rebeck. But the change up, including the previously announced departure of four cast members, hasn’t rattled the star.  “It’s something that’s inevitable in every business — especially ours. People come and people go. So while it’s really sad to lose some of my friends and not get to play with them every day. But I feel like I’m going to get to make a whole lot of new friends,” says Hilty, who tonight is hosting a dinner party with new and old cast members, sponsored by Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte. “It’s a really exciting time for Smash.”

Especially with an Oscar winner on board. Jennifer Hudson joins the cast this season in a recurring role as Broadway star Veronica Moore, and while Hilty has not yet been told of the dynamic between Ivy and Hudson’s character, she says with a laugh, “I can only assume that Ivy doesn’t like her.” “I’m kinda hoping for the first option because I would love to have a big, throw-down, angry duet,” she says. “That would be fantastic.”

Less thrilling? The wait fans will have to endure while waiting for the show’s second season, which doesn’t debut until January. But it’ll be worth the wait, she says. “It’ll go really quickly. It always does,” she says. “I’m a fan of shows that take really long hiatuses too, and I’m still just as excited. True Blood started a couple of weeks ago and it seems like forever ago that they went off the air, but it’s great.”


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