Although Megan Hilty and Sean Hayes worked together on the second season of NBC’s Smash, when his new semi-self-titled sitcom Sean Saves the World was looking to re-cast the role of his character’s best friend, it wasn’t as simple as a phone call to keep the theater-trained actress on the peacock network.
“I answered an ad on Craigslist,” Hilty joked at the NBC TCA presentation in Los Angeles today.
But seriously, she added that she “heard they were auditioning girls…I auditioned, and I got the part.”
The role in the pilot was played by Lindsey Sloane, who opted not to continue on with the series once it was picked up for the full first season back in May. Instead of a straight recasting, though, the addition of Hilty to the cast actually allowed for an expansion of the character in general. Originally she “just” worked with Hayes’ character, but now the two actually have a rich, and long-term history.
“They’ve known each other 15 years. They met because Megan was the caterer at his wedding and knew he was gay and said, ‘What are you doing?’ But he was not ready to come out yet,” series executive producer Victor Fresco said.
Now, Hayes’ character has hired Hilty’s to work with him in his new role, after having been friends this whole time. She serves as a bridge between both worlds on the show, Hayes’ life at home, trying to raise his teenage daughter (Samantha Isler) as best as he can, and his life at work with an insanely hard-nosed boss (Thomas Lennon).
Hilty’s character is single in the show and a “little wilder” so there will also be some humor and conflict born in the butting heads she has with Hayes’ character’s mother (Linda Lavin).
“Her character can travel home, and it can be the ‘Who’s the surrogate mom?'” Fresco said.
But what won’t be happening in Sean Saves The World is a reprisal of Hayes and Hilty’s Smash duet. This show is not a musical (though Fresco did tease a dance number in the works and said he was open to hearing story pitches that included songs), and Hilty is okay with that.
“I’m so excited about this. This is all I’ve ever wanted to do. I’m real excited to be doing a complete 180 from my last job. I love making people laugh. I love having a good time. So I really am excited about the differences from my last job. I can always do concerts and be singing other places; I don’t always have to sing in every job I do,” Hilty said.
Sean Saves The World premieres on NBC on October 3rd 2013 at 9 p.m.
Want more television news and live TCA updates? Follow LA TV Insider Examiner on Twitter!