TV Daily

Salon's guide to what to watch on Thursday: CBS's new musical dramedy "Viva Laughlin" must be seen to be believed.

Published October 18, 2007 10:00AM (EDT)

Prime Pick

Photo: CBS

Tea time. Plaid skirts on grown men. Bangers and mash. There are just some things that Brits can pull off that we Americans can't, and now we can safely add made-for-TV musicals to that list. The BBC's "Viva Blackpool" was a reasonably amusing tribute to the far more breathtaking "Singing Detective" miniseries. Does that mean it belongs on American TV? Hell, no, but if you don't see it with your own eyes, you won't believe it. CBS's new musical dramedy "Viva Laughlin" (premieres at 10 p.m. EDT on CBS) is so bad, it defies description. If the actors broke into song occasionally, replete with great choreography, that would be one thing. Instead, the actors sing along to original recordings, which only remind us of being trapped at a party when someone with an inflated sense of his own talent dons a lampshade and steps up onto the coffee. Even the big numbers are sloppily choreographed and full of enough rapid cuts to induce seizures. And as unusual as it may be to see Melanie Griffith singing "One Way or Another" or Hugh Jackman singing "Sympathy for the Devil," the second the novelty wears off, a little shiver of dread sets in. What in the world were they thinking? Don't get us wrong: Nothing could be better than a fun, imaginative, well-produced musical comedy on TV. Sadly, "Viva Laughlin" doesn't even come close.


The HBO documentary "Run Granny Run" follows the campaign of the nation's oldest political newcomer, Doris "Granny D" Haddock (9 p.m. EDT). And don't miss the transfixing season finale of AMC's excellent series, Mad Men (10 p.m. EDT).

On the talk shows

Regis and Kelly

ABC, 9 a.m. EDT

Ben Affleck, Rebecca Romijn, LeAnn Rimes

The View

ABC, 11 a.m. EDT

Juliette Binoche, Jerry Springer, Chris Dodd

Ellen DeGeneres

Syndicated, check local listings

Jake Gyllenhaal, Chris Bryant, Marc Cohn

Oprah Winfrey

Syndicated, check local listings

Suze Orman

Charlie Rose

PBS, check local listings

Henry Kissinger, Tommy Lee Jones

Larry King

CNN, 9 p.m. EDT

Bill Cosby, Dr. Alvin Poussaint

Jon Stewart

Comedy Central, 11 p.m. EDT

Ben Affleck

Stephen Colbert

Comedy Central, 11:30 p.m. EDT

Craig Newmark

David Letterman

CBS, 11:30 p.m. EDT

Steve Carell, Chris Elliott, Band of Horses

Jay Leno

NBC, 11:35 p.m. EDT

Jerry Seinfeld, Amy Ryan, Evanescence

Tavis Smiley

PBS, check local listings

Walter Mosley, Forrest Church

Jimmy Kimmel

ABC, 12:05 a.m. EDT

Angie Harmon, David Koechner, Talib Kweli

Conan O'Brien

NBC, 12:35 a.m. EDT

John Cusack, James Lipton, Spoon

Craig Ferguson

CBS, 12:35 a.m. EDT

John Larroquette, They Might Be Giants

Contributors: Megan Doll, Heather Havrilesky, Eryn Loeb, Amy Reiter

By Salon Staff

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