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Who You Callin' a Musical?

In CBS's new series "Viva Laughlin," characters will break into song.

They'll dance on the top of blackjack tables at casinos. But don't you dare call "Viva Laughlin" a musical, the cast and executive producer Bob Lowry warned TV critics.

"Viva Laughlin" is based on "Viva Blackpool." You know "Viva Blackpool" - the British TV series in which the characters, um, sing and dance?

TV critics, who really wanted to like this Americanization, attempted to talk to the cast and exec. producer about why the U.S. version seemed to be so much more tentative about the whole "music" thing than the Brit version.
"Though you don't call yourself a musical at all?" asked one critic.

"We're a dramatic television show -- with music," Lowry explained as though talking to a child who had never recovered from falling off its pony onto its head.

A musical, he explained, would have five or six songs per hour; his "Viva Laughlin" pilot episode has just 2.5 songs. Easing into the music slowly and cautiously "we are teaching our audience how to watch a show with music," Lowry explained.

Minutes later a critic told Lowry "they slam into" the music almost immediately in the British show, whereas "you seem to tiptoe up on it"; the critic wondered "is that because we need to educate the American audience because they might not understand?" - confirming the whole fall-off-pony-land-on-head thing.

This time Lowry said the tiptoeing was "very intentional" but added "I wouldn't say it was to teach the audience." Which of course was odd because he had said just that minutes back.

This mind-numbing cross-talk went on for some time, critics referencing his "teaching the audience" gag and Lowry denying he'd said it. Did he know the sessions were being transcribed?

Finally cast members decided enough was enough.

Madchen Amick said "Viva Laughlin" is "a great balance between both drama and musical."

But then D.B. Woodside jumped in and insisted "it's not a musical." Rather, "when the music happens" it's just "a soundtrack into these characters'lives."

And Lloyd Owen warned critics Woodside "gets very angry if you mention the musical thing -- very, very."

And when Eric Winter hears the show called a musical, "I just get upset," he told the critics.

VIDEO | Viva Laughlin

Editor's note: The Summer TV Press tour has ended, but Lisa will share some of her favorite moments in the blog this week.

By Maura McCarthy  |  August 2, 2007; 11:42 AM ET
Categories:  Summer TV Press Tour 2007  
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Next: Vampire Sleuthing


They shouldn't get so indignant. The show probably won't last very long. "Cop Rock" anyone?

Posted by: Elvis | August 3, 2007 10:01 AM | Report abuse

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