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James Hibberd

CBS Tries Non-Musical Approach to Promotion of Musical

July 18, 2007 9:33 AM

The best way to pimp a prime-time musical to crime-loving CBS viewers?

Pretend it’s not a musical.

New on-air ad previews for CBS's fall musical "Viva Laughlin" show viewers plenty of drama, intrigue and gambling—but no actual singing. The songs play in the background, and there's a quick cut of a character doing an Elvis-esque dance move on a craps table, but otherwise viewers are left with the impression the musical is just an oddly colorful drama.

CBS says the promotions are part of multi-pronged approach to promoting the series. During the Tony Awards, for example, the network aired 14 spots—and they all included singing.

“Like with many of our shows, we are targeting different types of audiences,” said George F. Schweitzer, president of CBS Marketing Group. “We’re focusing on it as a drama with music, but we’re not hiding that fact.”

Still, love the idea of unsuspecting "CSI" fans being horrified to discover that "Viva" includes the mirthful recital of song instead of murdered Laughlin prostitutes being prodded by a specialized crime squad.


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