There have been a slew of TV programs that call on characters to show off their pipes, says Donald Liebenson in the Los Angeles Times. Historically, as with the 1990's police musical "Cop Rock" or ABC's much-hyped 1968 romantic dramical, That's Life, it's a recipe for disaster—and abrupt cancellation. Fox's Glee (about to begin its second season) has evaded the curse for a variety of reasons, reports Liebenson:
"'On Glee, as with Fame, there is a logical reason for the cast to burst into song: The kids are in a singing group,' said Arthur Smith, a curator at the Paley Center for Media in New York. 'I think the conventions of musical theater are not sufficiently familiar to contemporary audiences to be able to just accept, say, [a show like Cop Rock in which] police detectives suddenly begin to sing in the midst of an interrogation.'
"But the biggest bust was the 2007 series Viva Laughlin, about an entrepreneur who dreams of opening his own casino. It lasted only two episodes before it was canceled. Executive-produced by Hugh Jackman and adapted from the British series Blackpool, Viva featured cast members singing over recordings of recognizable rock songs. Jackman kicked things off by strutting through the Rolling Stones' 'Sympathy for the Devil.'"