Once upon a time, not too long ago, TV musicals were nothing but a guaranteed flop. ABC showed the broadcast networks with COP ROCK how to waste money by having their characters sing like the viewers are watching a Broadway show and not a TV show, and CBS would get to learn in 2007 how it can get even worse. Based on the British show BLACKPOOL, the eye network ordered a musical drama that would eventually somewhat star (in a recurring sense) Hugh Jackman, besides him producing the entire thing. VIVA LAUGHLIN seemed like it was destined to be a sleeper hit, an unexpected bringer of money for CBS. But then it turned out to be one of the worst shows of all time, ranking right beside COP ROCK.
For today’s standards, the show might have premiered with very solid ratings – maybe even for CBS. What’s the biggest question about the two airings of VIVA LAUGHLIN is though how the show managed to lose 1.1 ratings points in the target demo while only losing close to 2 million viewers. As it stands, the younger audience tried to watch the show, and the ones that did immediately turned away when VIVA LAUGHLIN was airing its second episode on its intended Sunday timeslot. After the second episode, even CBS saw that VIVA LAUGHLIN was a flop. It was taken apart by the TV pundits, and it lost about half of the target audience – there was no way the show could be carried for another week, which is why CBS made short work of VIVA LAUGHLIN’s existence and immediately cancelled it after the second airing. And thus was Hugh Jackman’s chance to be a TV star gone.