Debra Messing Returns To NBC With 'Smash'ing New Musical Drama Alongside Angelica Huston & Katharine McPhee

Debra Messing attend the 2011 NBC Upfront at The Hilton Hotel, NYC, on May 16, 2011 Debra Messing attend the 2011 NBC Upfront at The Hilton Hotel, NYC, on May 16, 2011

Debra Messing is heading to a primetime network musical television series — and it won’t be on “Glee.”

On Monday, NBC confirmed it had picked up the musical drama “Smash,” starring the former “Will & Grace” star for the 2011-2012 television season, and Debra told Access Hollywood her new show has a unique edge.

“It’s different than ‘Glee’… because it’s a drama and it’s naturalistic, so you really do see the behind the scenes,” Debra told Access on Monday at the NBC Upfronts in New York City. “I doesn’t have a style to it in the same way.”

The series is set to look at life behind Broadway, focusing on the creation of a musical based on the life of Marilyn Monroe, the network confirmed in a release.

It stars Debra as Julia, who is hired to write the music in the production, “9 To 5: The Musical” actress Megan Hilty as the rival to “American Idol’s” Katharine McPhee, and Oscar winner Angelica Huston as the show’s producer, Eileen.

“I love it because it’s not cops or forensics. Finally, it’s something fun and beautiful,” Angelica said of the series, which also stars British actor Jack Davenport, most recently of the ill-fated “Flash Forward,” as a director.

“Everyone has a background story,” Angelica further explained of “Smash.” “The sort of overlay is Broadway… I’m the producer, I don’t sing actually. I watch everyone else sing.”

Katharine said she was thrilled to join the celebrated cast and to be able to, at the same time, continue her love of music.

“I’m so excited. I’m so honored to be with this amazing talent,” she said. “It’s literally a dream come true to be able to sing, and act and be able to dance to… I’m living my dream.”

For Debra, “Smash” reunites the actress with her old “Will & Grace” network, NBC, and since the news about her new show’s pick up was announced, she’s been in a bubble.

“The last 24 hours have been pretty fabulous, because I’m seeing old friends,” she said. “It’s exciting and it feels good, but it feels completely different because this is a drama and it’s an ensemble and it’s just a different feeling and Steven Spielberg came up with the idea so that makes me kind of giddy.”

“Smash” is a production of Universal Media Studios and Spielberg’s DreamWorks’, but Angelica said it won’t have the famous director’s penchant for special effects.

“I don’t think we need special effects,” she laughed. “We’ve got some great acting… it’s a very human drama.”

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