Smash showrunner Josh Safran admits he was “saddened” by NBC’s decision this week to banish the struggling musical to Saturdays beginning April 6.
He was also surprised.
“I didn’t see it coming, being relegated to Saturday,” he tells TVLine. “We’re all aware the show is not successful, but I guess I had hoped we would see what happened when The Voice came back [or] maybe they’d move us to a better time slot. But I understand from the network’s point of view. We hit a number and we stuck there.”
The number the show hit when it returned for Season 2 last month was a 1.1 demo rating, a decline of 25 and 39 percent from its freshman finale. It slipped further in Week 2, stabilized in Week 3, and most recently ticked up a hair to 2.9 million viewers and a 0.9 rating. But as Safran points out, going up a tenth of a point “is not really going up.”
If there’s a silver lining here for fans, it’s that all of this season’s remaining 11 episodes will air (the next three on Tuesdays at 10/9c and the final 8 on Saturdays at 9/8c). And, according to Safran, Episode 17 “was constructed as a series finale.”
“I don’t want [viewers] to think they are going to be left hanging, because they won’t be,” he assures. “The season has a beginning, middle and an end… [And] it just gets better and better.
“Everyone here from the top down is incredibly proud of the work,” he continues. “I know that there are people who have their opinions and that’s totally acceptable, but that doesn’t change our viewpoint that we’re really proud and we love the show.”