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James Hibberd



'Viva Laughlin' Craps Out

October 19, 2007 11:02 AM

Viva LaughlinLet’s dispense with all the gambling, musical and Elvis puns and get right to it: There has rarely been a show that’s been more anticipated to perform poorly than CBS’s “Viva Laughlin” and in this singular respect the show exceeded expectations.

"Laughlin" is the lowest-rated new scripted series premiere of the season among the big four broadcast networks. The show fell 63 percent from lead-in "CSI" to post a 2.4 preliminary rating among adults 18 to 49. Moreover, "Laughlin" lost 31 percent of its demo rating in its second half hour and was the night's lowest-rated program on the major nets. Among total viewers, the song remains the same-8.8 million, down 58 percent from "CSI."

CBS is going to wait until after Sunday night’s “Laughlin” airing in the show’s regular time slot before making any decisions about its fate. But if you’re working on the show, you might want to stop payment on the boat.

Not that anybody is bragging too much this morning. ABC won the night by a hair, but “Ugly Betty” (3.1), “Grey’s Anatomy” (a series low 7.1) and “Big Shots” (3.3) are all down between 12 and 15 percent from last week.

CBS was second in the demo but first in total viewers, with an on par "Survivor: China" (4.5), "CSI" (6.4) and "Laughlin."

NBC came in third with “My Name Is Earl” (a series low 2.7), “30 Rock” (down 13 percent to a 2.6), “The Office” (down slightly to 4.4). At 10 p.m., “ER” finally reversed its downward trend, bouncing 8 percent to a 4.0.

Fox’s presentation of Major League Baseball’s ALCS Game 5 (3.6) put the network in fourth place, though Fox once again urged waiting until the national ratings are released before putting too much stock in the number.

On The CW, “Smallville” was down a tick (2.0) while “Supernatural” gained a notch (1.3).

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Comments (32)

Anon:

Viva Laughlin was a joke. I caught it for 5 mins and could tell it was really, really bad. For some reason they played the song they were singing and it didn't make sense. Besides the fact that Melony Griffiths face is really scary.

Anon:

Viva was entertaining. The cast is perfect for the characters they are portraying. Lighten up people! This wasn't meant to be the greatest drama ever.

lili:

I agree completely. Lighten up people! Viva is trying to do something a bit new which is what American TV need right now in a big way! It's got a good pedigree from it's British cousin too. We just need to get weaned away from the hardcore crime/court shows that are flooding our viewing brains and tv sets these days. Give Hugh a chance!

Andy S.:

I haved just two words to say on this subject: "Cop Rock."

Tony P.:

With all programs showing either par or down, where are viewers going??? Cable???

Tony P.:

With all programs showing either par or down, where are viewer going??? Cable???

BIG:

VIVA should have been, at least, something to eat up time before Daily Show - It contained two of my favorite things in any Hollywood production. HUGH - JACKMAN

Unfortunately, it was Craptacular, Crap-a-lishous, or still, just plain old CRAP.

I will never, ever, never watch it again

Ken:

Where are viewers going? Internet, video games, books, their kids soccer games, chores around the house etc.

Sometimes with the networks, Garbage In/Garbage Out.

Hannah:

I would say that all the viewers are doing what I am doing: catching up online. I just watched Viva Laughlin on the Internet even though my DVR got it because I just don't have enough time at home to watch all the things that I'd like to. There are only a handful of shows that I watch that I can't catch online later (ER, Boston Legal) and the rest I will catch will eating lunch or during down time. The fact is that if the networks are going to make their product available in other formats they can't expect the viewing numbers to stay the same during the original broadcast. Digital is where it's at and I think more and more viewers are realizing that they don't have to watch it or record it when it's on.

Jake:

The show has a great gimick (the songs) a great locale (Las Vegas) and a great subject (casino owners.) They creators only forgot one thing. Writing

bjxmas:

Supernatural was up a notch! Yeah! There is hope for quality television. Now if we can just steal some more viewers from the top rated shows which don't hold a flickering candle to the quality and depth of Supernatural then we'll be all right.

Give Supernatural a chance... it is the best show on TV that the viewers aren't watching. Those that do watch it treasure our little gem. No other CW show could pull close to the ratings Supernatural does in its killer time slot.

Howard Lee:

It's a sad day for Elvis lovers. Viva Laughlin and you have Elvis's Viva Las Vegas song. They were only 70 miles off. The script was well to put it politely childish. What's next the Brady Family version of The Sopranos. Wake up Hollywood we deserve quality believable entertainment.

grecian:

The first time I saw anything about Viva Laughlin was after the upfronts earlier this year. I watched a clip online. The moment they broke out in song I knew it would tank. Two words: Cop Rock.

Song and dance works in scripted shows only when done on a rare occasion. Drew Carey, Family Guy, My Name Is Earl, Scrubs. All shows that cleverly used the musical angle.

CBS would have been better off giving me the money they spent on the pilot. I would have put it to good use.

Mr. Oracle:

I agree with Andy S.

As soon the singing started, the first thing that came to mind was "Cop Rock." But many popular shows got off to a rocky start, so I'll probably watch the show Sunday to see where the writers go with it. I seem to recall watching the first episode of "CSI" and thinking it was gonna be a flop. But as the characters started to develop, it really took off.

Odds are that it will become another Trivial Pursuit question in about six episodes.

Lynnation:

I watched it last night because I wanted to give something different a chance (i.e. any show that is not ANOTHER crime drama!). I love Hugh Jackman, but musicals - not so much. I really wanted to like this, but I had to force myself to finish watching it. Too bad, but hey, at least they tried. I probably won't bother to watch any more episodes - one was enough.

Andy:

I've not seen this (it's out in Australia next week), but saw the UK show this was based on called "Blackpool". I'm not sure if the US version will contain the same plot-lines (and I won't give them away), but I suspect that a lot of the edgy material will be removed - there was a lot of nudity and sex scenes in the original. Not that this made the show, but it was relevant.
The problem with US TV shows adapted from UK ones is that they have to tone down a lot of the characters and subject matter, which detracts from the original.

sarah:

I enjoyed viva laughlin last night. I hope to see it in the future. Give it a chance.

JIMBO:

Folks --
Because it may have remind you of something
awful only means you didn't give it a chance.
Was it perfect? No, of course not.

H o w e v e r -- did it take a chance and try
to break out of the mold? Sure it did.

That doesn't make it a flop, but it does make
it heroic.

All of the b.s. and complaints are merely
reflections of your shallow expectations. Why
don't we all withold judgement and give daring
shows a chance.

If we don't -- TV has not place to grow. And
isn't that we we want it to do?

Calm down. Instant judgement does not mean
you're smart or discerning, it just means
you are bored or worse.

Bless you all for caring enough to file your
arguments, but calm down. Even if you'r right
it doesn't mean we shouldn't keep working on
TV -- a medium that needs change and truth,
light, sun, and life.

Sincerely, Jim.

JIMBO:

Folks --
Because it may have remind you of something
awful only means you didn't give it a chance.
Was it perfect? No, of course not.

H o w e v e r -- did it take a chance and try
to break out of the mold? Sure it did.

That doesn't make it a flop, but it does make
it heroic.

All of the b.s. and complaints are merely
reflections of your shallow expectations. Why
don't we all withold judgement and give daring
shows a chance.

If we don't -- TV has not place to grow. And
isn't that we we want it to do?

Calm down. Instant judgement does not mean
you're smart or discerning, it just means
you are bored or worse.

Bless you all for caring enough to file your
arguments, but calm down. Even if you'r right
it doesn't mean we shouldn't keep working on
TV -- a medium that needs change and truth,
light, sun, and life.

Sincerely, Jim.

Jake Malone:

I loved the show, iT was solid. I like the characters and the possibilities that emerge early on as being a major player over the run of it. Up against the Redsox-Indians American Leagure Championship Series and the ESPN national match-up between highly ranked USF and Rutgers (#2 vs. #13) in football was brutal. I'm probably the only man in America that actually watched Viva. Me and ten million chicks, sweet. It was great, crazy.

Dave L:

I' ll say it again i am glad nbc is where it belongs in the basemet!! why don't they give up sucking up alot of cable won't help them their DONE!!!!

pi:

Move over laughlin....Here comes JERICHO!!!!!

What a bunch of scabs over there at CBS.

Yeah, It's Hugh jackman...singing...in a casino...in his office...in his pool...they sing to each other...they sing to you...

Moonves - yeah that sounds SUPER!!!!

SNORTS CRUSHED VHS TAPES OF COP ROCK.

Whattamoron.

Betty Girl:

I watched the show Friday night and was thoroughly entertained. It was an enjoyable refreshing change from the crime/lawyer/medical dramas that seem to be taking up most of the airwaves anymore. Hugh Jackman was great and it was nice to see D.B. Woodside, too. It was an hour of fun and they set a good storyline that I will tune in again to find out what's happening. It was entertaining with a "retro" feeling to it of good old shows that are long gone. I'm not sure how I feel about the singing yet, only time will tell! I'll be tuning in for more to find out!

Tina:

I gave Viva Laughlin a chance, but the writing was bad, as was the acting. Hugh will not be a regular on the show, so there goes that draw, although he really wasn't a big part of the episode anyway. I comepletely understand the lower ratings for many shows. I've got better things to do than sit around watching low quality shows there are only a few that are worth my time now, very few on network television.

Steve Watts:

I liked it, mainly because of its creativity and the fact that it took a very big chance. It seems our dimwit viewers don't want something that breaks the vanilla, predictable formats they're used to. Its getting to the point I'm just not watching because with most of these new shows, I already know what they'll be like. Viva Laughlin!

cari:

The actors (except for the lead) were good. Music & singing a fun idea. Especially Hugh Jackman playing smarmy and cheesy. Location great. But, my god, the writing SUCKED...sucked...and SUCKED!

bill:

Grecian: You forgot BtVS.

Big Daddy 17:

Bring on The Amazing Race !!!

Everyone wants to give away Viva Laughlin's timeslot already, like their names were Les, Les, and Les (with the Chenbot, of course).

Now it will be available soon, don't get me wrong, but the vultures have certainly descended quickly.

And not for nothing, but the slot is a great fit for Jericho, especially in the demo.

Of course, that means Jericho will never have the 18 to 49s that CBS really wants, but were they really gonna turn out for a dancing singing Lloyd Owen every week? Jackman's not a regular, you gotta remember, and the only thing most of us know Owen from is a story arc on Coupling.

Al Most:

Viva Laughlin? More like Viva Mortum!

Now if it had been called "Viva Laughing", they would have at least gotten a brownie button for accuracy! It was so inane, it was funny; a rare show that made me glad there were commercial breaks.

Seriously, trying to made a Teletubbies Karaoke joke into an adult series wouldn't work, even in a world of "Emergency Broadcast System" tests run 24/7 on ALL other networks -- not even in the pre-Atari days.

Back to my cell! Gotta watch the mortar crumble!

Marsha:

VIVA LAUGHLIN: I was in TOTAL shock tonight when the main character broke out in song. It was my first viewing of this show and I did not know anything about it. At first I thought it was a joke, but when I realized it wasn't I immediately turned to ABC. Is CBS crazy to spend money on a Television show lke that. Wake up.

Harmony:

I tuned in thinking I was going to catch another show and VIVA was on. I gave it a watch and it was just ok. The muscial was different and perhaps IF done better could have made an impact. I wasn't hooked on the show but decided to give it another chance on Sunday. I can't put my finger on what is missing. But I don't feel like I'll miss a thing by not tuning in again.

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