Monday, October 22, 2007

Viva la cancelación!

If you're like Tim Goodman and believe that the first real cancellation of the season doesn't happen until a scripted show takes a fall, then today is a very special day for you dead pool watchers. We already had our first non-cancellation cancellation with Fox's "Nashville" (which was supposed to return in mid-October and then... didn't), and our first official cancellation with the CW's "Online Nation." But according to a high-placed source at CBS, today brings our first scripted bloodshed of '07-'08, and it's... drumroll...

"Viva Laughlin."

It's not a huge shock. The sneak preview on Thursday lost nearly 60 percent of its "CSI" lead-in audience, and Sunday's timeslot premiere lost about a quarter of the people who watched on Thursday. (And that's on average; the last half-hour of "Viva Laughlin" to ever air was down more than 40 percent from Thursday's first half-hour.) Any way you slice it, it was a ratings fiasco.

Official announcement's coming later today, and the cancellation is effective immediately. A "CSI" repeat will plug the gap this Sunday, and "Amazing Race" will be back Sundays at 8 (or whenever the late football game ends on double-header weeks) starting Nov. 4.

So let's all light a candle for poor Mike Brady soundalike Lloyd Owen, for all those blackjack and roulette tables that will go un-danced on in the future, and for all the poor viewers who had to suffer through any part of the first two episodes. When you sing along with the car radio or iPod on the commute home, try to pretend you're on your way to some cheesey start-up casino.


Anonymous said...

While you're lighting candles, i'll be throwing a party for the fact that Brothers And Sisters is getting Eric Winter back. Yay!
Television justice is swift and brutal.

Southern Beale said...

Wow and I totally believed that prime time TV was ready for a musical.

Karen said...

You know, I watched the pilot, and was confused by the singing. It was neither karaoke nor lip-synching, but a nasty combination of the two. What was the point? I mean, Hugh Jackman is a bona fide musical stage star--why did he have to sing OVER Mick Jagger?

While I didn't find the dialogue as stiff or the performances as wooden as I'd been warned, however, it still did nothing for me, and I turned it off shortly after the cop tried to pick up the protagonist's wife, then cancelled it from my DVR series list.

I don't think any tears will be shed for it, outside the Jackman home.

Jon Delfin said...

Wait ... they're replacing a something I don't watch with a show I like? This can't be right.

BF said...

So is TAR going to be a double season again? Cause 13 episodes (assuming no double weeks) only gets them till the end of January.

Much as I love the show, this might actually be a bad thing. If the producers have to plan another run with little-to-no prep time, we're going have an awful race design with Bunch Points and ill-conceived legs galore!

JRob said...

Don't worry that production of the season will be rushed to bring it to air -- production of the episodes is not tightly tied to the airing schedule. The current (pending) season of TAR was already well into production before this good news came out.

LA said...

No surprise here. When will Cavemen and some others start dropping?

Anonymous said...

I really want the 45 minutes of my life back that was wasted watching this!!!

David J. Loehr said...

I'm shocked to find gambling going on here.

I've loved the Dead Pool for years, and for the first time, I've picked a winner, so to speak.

Alan Sepinwall said...

It's official, by the way. The CBS press release even includes a line about how "Amazing Race" "replaces
Viva Laughlin' which has been pulled from the schedule." Can't put it much blunter than that.

BF said...


I know that Race 12 (which was originally supposed to start in February) will be fine. I'm worried about Race 13 (triskadeskaphobia!) which I'm guessing they'll rush into production to show during Feburary-May, especially if the WGA strike goes down.

BigTed said...

Isn't it amazing how network execs look at hundreds of scripts, make dozens of pilots, and then end up deciding to air something as craptacular as this show? Even if you liked the original British version, or thought the plot line was daringly over-the-top, or thought the star power of Melanie Griffith would light up the screen, or believed that America was in the mood for a musical where they didn't even bother re-recording the music, you couldn't actually have watched the resulting mess without immediately wanting to switch to something else. So was airing this show just a matter of bad decision-making, or is everything they might have developed in its place even worse?

jim treacher said...

I want my Babylon Fields.

Jeff said...

I didn't make it past Jackman's number in the pilot. I stuck around that long only because someone (Alan?) said it was fun to watch the song-and-dance man do it right.

While Hugh may have been doing all he could, the rest of the production team looked like they were sabotaging at every step of the way.

The show was ugly and nothing like a musical.

To me, you can have a musical on prime time, but MAKE IT A MUSICAL. Don't say "it's a cop show, but they sing."

Cops shows work because they're cop shows. Futz with the formula and they stop working.

Musicals don't work if they're not musicals. The (now mandatory?) musical episodes of sitcoms and The Simpsons work because they take the structure of the musical and fit themselves in it, rather than taking the form of the sitcom and making a musical number work.

I would say that Pushing Daisies got as close as you're going to get to right with Kristen C. breaking into "Hopelessly Devoted to You" since (a) she sang it alone and (b) it really really fit emotionally, which is what makes musicals work.

The "Viva Las Vegas" opening was awful -- and made no sense, since they were in LAUGHLIN!

I think, in the end, its the suits that force these to fail. Because musicals are still "fruity" (to quote Homer's disdain of that perfectly good wagon story") and Joe SixPack won't watch "fruity" but he might watch a gritty cop show or second-rate "Las Vegas" (is such a thing even possible?) with songs shoehorned in...

Instead, embrace the people that flocked to see Chicago and Hairspray and just make a damned musical.

(That said, heard a way fascinating thing on NPR some months back about how "WonderPets" is doing just that with Broadway talent...)