And Why He Doesn’t Worry At All
TV By The Numbers is a great resource and decent read. Robert Seidman posted this article over the holidays wherein he admits that he has absolutely no idea about Chuck‘s chances for Season 4 and beyond. That’s probably wise. It’s too early to say anything at all about that.
I could see both a scenario where NBC cares to change its image and one where it doesn’t. “Eh, if they’re going to wanna go crazy with change once the deal is done, they’re going to do that no matter what we do this fall, so let’s stick with the status quo,” has some merits to it. But so does, “Ben Silverman killed us! We can fix this thing though! Let’s try to get out in front of this thing right now and make an effort to really improve the ratings with better programming. We’re not waiting for Comcast!”
Huh!? What Does Any Of That Have To Do With Chuck?
If NBC is ok with the status quo, that’s good news for Chuck should it pull around a 2.4 rating. If NBC decides, “We’re not gonna take it. No we ain’t gonna take it. We’re not gonna take it anymore,” well then, all bets are off and that’s not great news for Chuck, even if it is performing near NBC’s average.
In other words, if Chuck‘s rating are around 3, there’s no question that it’ll be renewed. If it remains at or around 2.4, then it’ll probably be renewed, unless… And that’s a big question mark. Seidman removes the recent purchase of NBC-U by Comcast from the equation by noticing that the deal will most likely not get past the regulators before Chuck‘s future is decided (and he’s probably right about that). The “unless…” is all about the urgency of NBC-U’s need to shake things up.
That’s a bigger question than any one show can address.
For my money, NBC needs to shake things up a lot. Sometimes I think I’m not seeing anywhere near enough Chuck promos, and then I realize “Oh – I’m not tuned to NBC.” If I’m anywhere close to representative, they have a problem. But here’s a scoop. Chuck is not the problem – Chuck is the answer. Contra Seidman, I don’t think that a big change at NBC is necessarily bad for Chuck. If NBC wants to shake thing up to an 8 on the Richter scale, they could do much better than dropping what I consider to be the best show on TV. They could do things like, oh, I don’t know, forget about more of those Law and Order shows that became old hat about a hundred years ago and cut back on comedy/variety/host-interview *cough*Leno*cough* shows. And for pete’s sake, deliver us from reality TV! What the heck is Sing-Off, anyway? – besides unnecessary, I mean.
It’s simple, really. Give us TV that’s entertaining, intelligent and witty, with actors who are engaging and talented enough to make us care about the characters, and with stories that don’t rely on formulas, but actually have a little depth and meaning for the audience. Oh, and throw in some good music on occasion, too, okay? Chuck is not the only show that does this. It’s merely the best example, in my not-so-humble opinion.
The fate of Chuck won’t keep me up at nights. I have almost 20 new episodes to look forward to, and I’m looking forward to them and will enjoy each episode (provided they are good). I won’t be thinking “Damn, I would really enjoy the hell out of this show if I wasn’t so worried about it being cancelled! But because I’m worried, I can’t even enjoy the show!”
If you are a Chuck fan, you shouldn’t be thinking like that either.
I can’t conceive of television without NBC (or ABC or CBS either, for that matter). They’re not going dark. Network television is notorious for being one of the most conservative institutions around, so I doubt that Leno is going anywhere, especially considering that it’s becoming successful in the ratings, and has been profitable from the beginning. I’m guessing that NBC isn’t ever going to shoot for an 8 on the Richter scale when it decides to shake things up, but only a 5 or a 6. Indeed, TV is competitive, but it’s not a full contact sport, where only one is left standing. It’s more like the two guys being chased by a bear. “I only have to run faster than you, fella!”
And if that’s the case, then Chuck is fine being at the top of NBC’s list of scripted shows. Anything more is gravy.
Is it too early to start being excited about Season 4???
And on a personal note, over the holidays I got my two college age nephews interested in giving the Jan. 10 premier a try. They’ve not seen the show before. One of them took interest when I said that I reflexively dislike shows that insult my intelligence, and “Chuck doesn’t do that.” Heh! Not once did the words “hot blonde” escape my lips! Am I a salesman, or what?