A scene from NBC's 'Smash.'

A scene from NBC's 'Smash.' Credit: NBC

Why are we suddenly hearing so much about "Smash," a new NBC drama that won't launch until February? Maybe because the network doesn't have much to say about a couple of its new NBC dramas ("The Playboy Club" has been canceled, "Prime Suspect" is struggling).

Last week, a couple of major guest-starring roles were announced for "Smash," a show about a show: Joe Jonas, who'll play "a hot sitcom star who started his career as a child actor in a Broadway show," and Bernadette Peters, playing a "Tony Award-winning mother who was once a theater sensation, but who now lives vicariously through her daughter." These big gets are designed to launch buzz on a project that's now effectively the most important show in NBC's entire prime-time portfolio.

And "Smash" is quite the project: With Steven Spielberg topping the credits, the drama's about efforts to launch a Broadway musical based on the life of Marilyn Monroe. Debra Messing is the lead, while "American Idol" season 5 runner-up Katharine McPhee and Anjelica Huston are also on board. Not to be forgotten: Original songs by "Hairspray's" Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman.

"Smash" bows Feb. 6 at 10 p.m.

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