'Viva Laughlin' Craps Out

TVWeek's James Hibberd: Rated

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Let's dispense with all the gambling, musical and Elvis puns and get right to it: There has rarely been a show that's been more anticipated to perform poorly than CBS's "Viva Laughlin" and in this singular respect the show exceeded expectations.

"Laughlin" fell 63 percent from lead-in "CSI" to post a 2.4 preliminary rating among adults 18 to 49 at 10 p.m., coming in last place. Moreover, the show lost 31 percent of its demo rating in its second half hour and was the lowest-rated program among the major broadcast networks for the night. Among total viewers, the song remains the same—8.8 million, down 58 percent from "CSI."

CBS is going to wait until after Sunday night's "Laughlin" airing in the show's regular time slot before making any decisions about its fate. But if you're working on the show, you might want to stop payment on the boat.

Not that anybody is bragging too much this morning. ABC won the night by a hair, but "Ugly Betty" (3.1), "Grey's Anatomy" (a series low 7.1) and "Big Shots" (3.3) are all down between 12 and 15 percent from last week.

CBS was second, with an on par "Survivor: China" (4.5) and "CSI" (6.4) and "Laughlin."

NBC came in third with "My Name Is Earl" (a series low 2.7), "30 Rock" (down 13 percent to a 2.6), "The Office" (down slightly to 4.4). At 10 p.m., "ER" finally reversed its downward trend, bouncing 8 percent to a 4.0.

Fox's presentation of Major League Baseball's ALCS Game 5 (3.6) put the network in fourth place, though Fox once again urged waiting until the national ratings are released before putting too much stock in the number.

On The CW, "Smallville" was down a tick (2.0) while "Supernatural" gained a notch (1.3).