“Viva Laughlin” officially craps out, gets canceled

VivalaughlinrateThe last fall skein to bow is the first to bow out. CBS’ music-drama hybrid “Viva Laughlin” has been axed after just two episodes. The network moved swiftly after both outings of the series — and only one in its official timeslot — performed dismally.

There’s no way to spin these numbers. “Viva Laughlin” was a non-starter for America.

Skein’s first airing in its regular Sunday 8 p.m. time slot drew 7.6 million viewers and 1.2 rating/3 share in the adults 18-49 demographic, per prelim Nielsens. That was coming out of 11.1 million viewers and 2.2/6 for “60 Minutes.” The worst stat was how fast the “Laughlin” numbers fell at the half-hour mark, plunging from 7.6 million viewers and 1.4/3 in the first half to 6 million and 1.0/2 in the 8:30-9 p.m. leg.

This has to be a tough one for the folks toiling over at CBS TV City, particularly CBS Entertainment chief Nina Tassler, who went out on a limb in championing the show. Chalk it up to an experiment that didn’t work, but good for the musical theater-loving Tassler for having the courage of her convictions and having the guts to take a flier on something she believed in.

NBC’s football and Fox’s baseball coverage upset the usual Sunday apple cart ratings-wise, but one success story that’s emerging on the night is ABC’s drama “Brothers and Sisters” in its sophomore sesh. The 10 p.m. drama is holding a good chunk of its “Desperate Housewives” lead-in (last night “Brothers” averaged 11.9 million viewers and 4.8/11 to “Housewives'” 17.7 million and 7.1/16), and IMHO is a whole lot more watch-able than its flashier companion.

–Cynthia Littleton