Latest Ratings Buzz

All The Snooz You Can Use

Several comments have been made about the rating numbers for Chuck. Admittedly, I don’t pay too much attention because there seems to be a kind of black art involved in understanding how these numbers translate into “success” for any given show (or network). I think it’s got to do with the fluid definition of “success”.

I should not interpret. I’m not good at it. But it looks like Chuck has consistently pulled in numbers somewhere between okay and great-for-NBC this year. Of course my opinion counts for precisely 0 in these matters. Angela Bromstad’s opinion counts for a bit more, however.

NBC prime-time president Angela Bromstad didn’t quite come out and say the show would be back but said encouraging things in that regard in this interview with the Hollywood Reporter. First, she called the show’s numbers this season a “pleasant surprise,” and then she said, “Well, it’s got to maintain, and it depends on development.” Now, if there’s one thing “Chuck” has done this season, it’s maintain. The show has been remarkably consistent in its numbers.

Todd VanDerWerff is supposed to be a pro at understanding these things. His opinion is that the news is good.

Well, “Chuck” fans, it’s been a long road with this series so far, and it’s nowhere near the end, but after the ratings news of this week, it sure seems as though we’ll be seeing this show coming back for a fourth season. Now, it’s not a done deal, and if you’ve got any spare $5 bills lying around, you might want to run down to Subway, but it sure seems as though “Chuck” is going to be the least of NBC’s worries. And given that NBC has many, many worries, what with the whole “Jay Leno Show” implosion, it sure seems as though “Chuck” being a consistent performer with a dedicated audience is going to be enough to keep it around for a little while. And because Season 4 usually equals Season 5 (the better to get to 100 episodes and big syndication dollars), I’d say we “Chuck” fans are in good shape.

It would be nice to not have to worry about another Save Chuck! campaign this year. And yes, there’s still plenty of time to slip up. I’m guilty of optimism, though.

I understand some of our regulars are already thinking “Sure. But will I even care to watch?” Oh, I don’t know. But the immediate benefit of renewal confidence is that the shows creative talent faces less network pressure to tell a stock story. Many worried at the end of season 2 if they would forever be saddled with an incomplete story with no satisfactory ending. That becomes less likely, and the show could easily become more watch-able to the kind of viewer who had that concern.  For viewers like me, the time spent in character development now has much less chance of being wasted, and much more opportunity to add richness to the final body of work.

All in all, pretty good news.

– joe

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About joe

In my life I've been a professor, martial artist, rock 'n roller, rocket scientist, lover, poet and brain surgeon. I'm lying about the brain surgery.
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20 Responses to Latest Ratings Buzz

  1. Big Kev says:

    Joe,
    All good news – but I’m still not sure about where this JJ Abrams pilot fits in with regard to Chuck. The implication is that the tone and style would have to be different for the 2 shows to piggyback off each other, and that’s fair enough – but if the Abrams show is about a husband and wife spy team a la Mr and Mrs Smith – well, I’m guessing that’s where the majority would want Chuck to head.
    Even assuming Abrams’ stuff is less comedic, it still sounds to me like you could only have one show going in that direction – and it wouldn’t be Chuck.
    Thoughts?

    • Gord says:

      I could see them complementing each other. I could also see them putting them both on the same night as a theme night and who knows maybe they will even have a few crossover episodes where they get involved in a joint mission.

      I still think they will be different enough that having both wont be a problem.

    • Rick Holy says:

      If Abram’s show is like ALIAS or LOST or similar to any of the other things he’s done, I don’t think it’s going to be a simple kind of “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” thing. That’s “too simple” for Abrams. I can see it layered with all different levels of mystery, etc. In otherwords, this isn’t going to be “Mr. and Mrs. Brady who just happen to be spies.” It’s going to be something quite involved.

      So, at least in my opinion – which is only a guess – I could see the two shows not being in conflict with each other. It’s kind of like when networks have multiple cop/detective drams, multiple lawyer dramas, multiple hospital dramas, etc. Having one of a particular genre doesn’t preclude having more, especially if the story being told is quite different – and I can’t possibly imagine anything – whatever genre it might be – as being “similar” to the kind of story that J.J. Abrams will be telling.

      Mind you, I’m looking forward to it, because I enjoy his type of complicated, multi-layered stories, but I also like CHUCK, too. Hopefully there will be room for both of them.

      I guess what disappointes me – AGAIN – is seeing how AGAIN this year NBC is renewing shows that are performing less well than Chuck – and in less difficult time slots. Oh, well. Maybe that’s their strategy to keep the “Chuck talk/hype” up each season – “will it or won’t it be back next year.” Even if they know it will be back, they’ll still leave us guessing – for all the internet chatter and attention paid to it by newspaper critics, entertainment weekly, etc., etc.

      Hopefully with things supposedly looking “up” in the remaining episodes, we can maintain and possible even pick up a few more viewers – and get that S4 which I’m hoping won’t be a repeat of the troublesome/weak aspects of S3.

      We’ll see come May??

  2. eaglemmoomim says:

    Yeah, I’m a little concerned about JJ’s new baby. The direction that Chuck is taking right now is very much in the mold of Mr and Mrs Smith hooking up knowing that they are both spies. Undercovers is sounding like a very similar idea to the direction that Chuck is heading in. Bromstead has said the show will be a mission of the week kind of deal so I’m hoping that NBC will keep Chuck around as a mid season replacement or as the timeslot replacement for Undercovers in the early stages of the new year. So they have one pick up and play spy show and another mythology laden serialised spy show. Ideally a ‘spy’ night block would be great but I don’t know if NBC would go that far. Especially with the shows sounding so similar right now.

  3. joe says:

    I dunno. There’s too many variables.
    I generally don’t see Chuck to bear anything but the most superficial resemblance to Mr. & Mrs. Smith, mostly ’cause I see the Smiths as really being about the adventure of the week. Chuck is about the relationships. All of them. Whether or not the main characters are married would have little to do with that structure.

    If they keep them separate in that way, I don’t see a problem with them co-existing. If they keep Chuck on different schedules – Chuck starting in the spring, Abrams’ show in the fall, then I don’t see a conflict no matter how close they come.

    And really, even if the Abrams’ show wound up being like Chuck, isn’t there room for both? It’s not that kind of contest. But I’m guessing Chuck would win it, actually.

    I know what people fear. They love what Chuck has been, and know what they want it to become. Me too. It’s not that yet, and we’re frustrated. But because we’re in love with the characters, you simple cannot start at the end point. You have to grow there.

    If Abrams wants to create a show with characters that people care about as much, then he could do something pretty similar to Chuck, compete directly and try to do it better.

    Or else, he can create a whole different show with a whole different feel. He’s a bright, talented man. I’m guessing he’ll do that.

    • atcdave says:

      I would love to see both shows co-exist. I think a show about two career super spies would always feel significantly different from Chuck. Even if Chuck becomes a great agent, and he and Sarah are happily married; we have the nerd cover life, and major focus on important characters are partly or mostly in the dark about what he does. NBC and other networks have often paired very similar shows, like the various Law and Orders, CSIs, even things like NCIS and its spin-off; and Grey’s Anatamy and its spin-off; end up back-to-back on the schedule. I really don’t see a problem with this.
      If Monday night is spy night on NBC, it will be the only night they have me apart from Sunday Night Football.

      • joe says:

        I agree. Hum… Monday night as spy night. Or as comedy night. Or as Sci-Fi adventure night. Chuck fits in there with all of those.

        Unusual.

    • JC says:

      One thing you can guarantee with an Abram’s show is a a deep and probably crazy mythology behind it.

  4. kg says:

    yeah, Mr. and Mrs. Smith were assassins. Sarah has only killed when necessary and the most Chuck has fired is a tranq gun. Maybe they could develop a spinoff called Mr. and Mrs. Casey.

    Mr. and Mrs. Smith didn’t have a relationship until each was ordered to kill the other, and they realized it was more beneficial to team up. Each figured he/she had married a mark.

    In a side note, I’m hoping maybe Ellie can talk to Sarah and nudge her toward her brother or let Walker know why Chuck dumped Hannah. It would even be cool if Casey could step up. He hates Shaw almost as much as we do.

  5. Jason says:

    read this in one of the articles, 100 episodes is a nice number for syndication, I would guess someone would make a fortune on re-runs of chuck, with how loyal the small fanbase is, they gotta make each episode somewhat friendly to that base to make that fortune however, can’t suffer thru too many 3.1 – 3.8’s ever again. there is no doubt as a rerun, I would not watch 3.7 or 3.8, unless some pretty cool slight of hand stuff occurs between 3.9 and 3.13!

    • atcdave says:

      That’s been my biggest complaint all season, its not that I doubt the destination, its just the journey sucks.
      I’d add, I’ll never choose to re-watch 3.01, 3.05-3.08. If that list gets too much longer the whole season becomes a loss.

      • Rick Holy says:

        Isn’t this kind of a repeat of LAST year. NBC shows in much “easier” time slots than CHUCK – with equal or WORSE ratins numbers – were being renewed, while CHUCK was left dangling in the wind. The same thing is happening again.

        The thing for NBC. They’ve got this Monday night at 8/7 central time slot to fill. They have to go up against two well established shows – a quality drama (HOUSE), and a pretty entertaining comedy (How I Met Your Mother). PLUS they have to go up against a couple of reality shows, one of which (Dancing with the Stars) can be called – along with American Idol – one of the reality rating’s monsters on TV, and the other (The Bachelor) which is also extremely popular with viewers.

        NBC has tried other shows in that time slot during the last 3 years when CHUCK wasn’t airing. To my recollection, none of those shows did any better than CHUCK, and I think they actually all did worse.

        So… does NBC have something “new” to offer that they think has a chance of doing better than CHUCK in that time slot? If they DO, then it’s likely that CHUCK will end with this season. If they don’t, it’s likely CHUCK will be back. If they’re not sure, then it’s likely CHUCK will be another 13 episode mid-season replacement.

        Will be interesting to see how this all pans out.

      • atcdave says:

        I think if Chuck’s numbers hold up we’re in pretty good shape for an S4. Anything else in that slot is an unknown; while Chuck has maintained steady, if non-spectacular, numbers.

  6. amyabn says:

    Joe, glad to see you post this. I just got to yet another country and up on internet when I saw Bromstad’s comments. Not sure what to think, but I hope for a season 4!

  7. JLR says:

    Hypothetically speaking, if NBC did not renew, is Warners free to shop the Chuck franchise to other networks? IOW, is anyone aware of any contractual obligations preventing this?

    • Stef62 says:

      It has crossed my mind too. Could they not add it to their CW channel?

    • Faith says:

      I’m not certain but I think Chuck’s budge is beyond that of most of CW’s shows so that doesn’t help.

      • Faith says:

        *budget lol.

        I go away for 2 days and apparently didn’t bring back my brain 😉

      • atcdave says:

        I think Faith’s got it. I’ve heard several places Chuck is simply too expensive for CW or a cable channel. One of the other majors is a possibility, but that’s a risky proposition in several ways; another network would immediately expect higher ratings, and networks often insist on cast/production changes (although that might be more good than bad).
        If we get an S4, S5 immediately becomes likely for syndication reasons; so this year is a biggie.

  8. Pingback: Chuck vs. NBC | Chuck This

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