Special Report: Even ‘Fame’ Didn’t Live Forever

Thanks to oddball Viva Laughlin, the competition—ABC’s declining Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Sunday Night Football on NBC, Fox’s animated combination of The Simpsons and King of the Hill, and upcoming CW drama Life Is Wild—may have one less network to worry about. This is the one show, in fact, that might make every other show in the hour look good. Every season, a show comes along that looks so weird and so bad (think recent Fox sitcom The Winner and NBC’s Inconceivable one year earlier), you have to scratch your head in amazement wondering, why? What could possibly make CBS think that Viva Laughlin, a mystery drama mixing musical interludes about a would-be casino owner in the desert, would be appealing? Doesn’t anyone at CBS remember the classic fiasco, Cop Rock, in 1990, that featured, gulp, singing cops? While recent CBS Sunday 8 p.m. occupant The Amazing Race may not have been a perfect fit out of the older-skewing 60 Minutes, chances are the blue-haired geriatrics watching the clock tick will not strap on their dancing shoes for Viva Laughlin. And the younger folks pining for The Amazing Race are unlikely to switch gears for a splashy, Vegas-based musical drama. To those fans waiting for the return of Race in midseason, it may be back sooner than you think. For those placing bets, Viva Laughlin could very well be the first cancellation of the season. This isn’t Fame, after all, which actually did not “live forever” on NBC.