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Smash and Burn: NBC’s Musical Tanked Last Night

SMASH -- "The Dramaturg" Episode 203 -- Pictured: (l-r) Christian Borle as Tom Levitt, Debra Messing as Julia Houston

The music's stopped for Smash: NBC's big bet from last season crashed upon its return for a second season Tuesday, averaging 4.5 million viewers and a 1.1 rating among adults under 50. That last number is what makes last night a disaster for NBC, since it's less than a third of what Smash averaged in its 2012 premiere (3.8) and about half of what it was drawing when it left the air in the spring. Nobody even bothered to hate-watch: Smash's demo score was also lower than any other show on ABC, CBS, or Fox last night, and even lower than Smash's lead-in, a Betty White birthday special (1.5.)

Smash also lost young viewers throughout its two-hour run, starting out a 1.3 in the 9 p.m. hour and dipping to a mere 1.0 by its final half-hour. Now, Smash's ratings will go up once DVR data is factored in, possibly by quite a bit. But barring a historic jump, there's almost no way NBC will be able to spin the show's numbers. We're calling it: Smash, for all intents and purposes, died last night. (And, by the way, so did the NBC fall recovery: Smash joins 1600 Penn, Do No Harm, and Deception as the fourth consecutive flop for the network since 2013 began.)

Photo: Will Hart/NBC