Though NBC has had high expectations for the show for months thanks to a shaken-up cast and storyline, not even the network could’ve expected ratings to be this low.

Smash’s season two premiere was watched by 4.5 million viewers and had a 1.1 rating among adults in the all-important 18 – 49 age range last night. That’s a 71% decrease from last year’s series premiere.

Why the lower ratings? Many think Smash went off the rails towards the end of the season one. Moreover, the promotional campaign was significantly smaller than season one’s. This year it did not have a lead-in from NBC’s popular singing competition The Voice and did not get Super Bowl advertising.

Viewer reaction in our article about last night’s episode is largely positive, and we provided a recap of storyline events. One event that occurred last night: The role of Marilyn seems to be now up in the air, as Ivy was able to get to the gala in time, while Karen’s phone was completely off. Was this just an easy way to write Karen off for drama’s purposes, or did Ivy deserve this second chance?

The show is performing roughly 40% lower than other television shows do for NBC in the same time period, which will surely make the network cringe. Can some more promotion save the show this season?

Smash aired two episodes back to back last night to celebrate the season premiere. Episode three will debut Tuesday, February 19 at 9 PM ET.

Thanks to EW for the stats.

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