Megan Hilty on the Failure of ‘Smash’: “I can only do so much”

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Not many actors can still claim to have a career after starring in two failed television series. But Megan Hilty, who starred in NBC’s Smash (canceled after two seasons) and Sean Saves the World (canceled midway through its first season), isn’t just still working, she’s actually talking about her experiences on the highly-promoted but commercially disappointing Smash. In conversation with The Daily Beast, Hilty talks about what went wrong and how it felt to be on a series while knowing its days were numbered.

Hilty admits that the pressure that NBC put on Smash was a big deal. She reveals, “I was terrified. I also felt like I had a lot to prove, being the theater gal in the cast, because we get a bad rap. People think that theater actors are too big for the camera. It’s like,  ‘No, we’re actors and we adjust for our audience.’ So without being like, ‘I’m going to show that every theater girl can do it!’ I felt like I had to prove something.”

When the show wasn’t delivering the ratings that NBC hoped for, panic began to sink in behind the scenes, which included major behind-the-scenes changes for the second and final season. However, Hilty points out that as an actress she could do little about the drama except to roll with it. She explains, “Honestly, we were so separate from it all. I dealt with the cast and the crew all the time, but it was just them. I was aware of all the other drama, but that’s it—I was aware of it. And it’s so far out of your control when that’s going on, whatever the fans or critics or whoever is saying and whatever anyone is doing at the network. There’s nothing I can about it.”

This included performing scenes that she didn’t feel were high quality — she cites the storyline when he character became addicted to pills — which she confesses sometimes caused her to speak out on the set. She reveals, “My job is to go and make the words work. And if they don’t, then what am I going to do? I didn’t throw a lot of fits. I chose when to throw my toys, and when I did, they actually listened to me. But especially at the beginning, what am I going to do? Tell DreamWorks and NBC how to do their show? I can only do so much.”

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