To Rally or Not to Rally-That is the Question

This isn’t earth shattering news, but just in case you have been living under a rock, Chuck is in trouble.  The ratings have steadily declined.  Some have argued that it was Daylight Savings Time (DST); others make lesser arguments.  I’m not here to rehash, defend, or ridicule any of them.  Most dedicated readers of this blog know that I feel the PLIs, angst, and keeping Sarah and Chuck apart (regardless of romantic status) have driven the casual viewer and some hard core viewers away.  Enough about that.

I have had mixed feelings on this topic the last few weeks, and it appears all of you have as well, judging by the passionate responses from all points of view on this blog, and others.  I have battled pessimism, optimism and every emotion in between, agonizing on whether or not I want to be even more emotionally invested in a TV show than I already am.  You see, I am one of “those” fans.  I have bought sub sandwiches, multiple sets of Season 1 and Season 2 DVDs as gifts, participated in emails to TPTB at NBC, and contributed money to the American Heart Association “We Heart Chuck” campaign.  There are other things as well, but I don’t wish to bore you, nor to elevate myself to some false status of super fan.  I don’t regret those efforts because I think the Nielsen system is garbage and doesn’t truly reflect the viewing public.  In addition, we, the fans, earned a stay of execution for Chuck. Now, like many of you, I find myself at a crossroad.  I weigh my overall dissatisfaction with Season 3 (plot holes, out of character portrayals, pointless angst for angst’s sake, etc, etc) with the fact that I still love Chuck! There, I said it. You now have it in writing and can use it against me at will.  More after the break.

Chuck still makes me care about what happens.  I still manage a laugh.  I’m still invested in the fun that I experienced in S1 and S2, and Lord knows I love this blog.  I know what excellence looks like and I know the show can be that again.  What is a fan to do?

I’ve searched the internet for other people’s ideas on how to save the show, hoping that someone else would have The Answer ™.  Sadly, all I’ve found on my journey are those who bash other fans for not seeing the same things they see.  I don’t need that and the show doesn’t need that-a divided fan base does nothing to help the show.

How do we try to secure a Season 4?  I know there are those of you out there who aren’t interested and have written the show off.  That is your right and I respect your choice.  I have read and sympathize with your views, but I must admit my addiction and say that while Chuck hasn’t been as good as it could have been this season (imho), it is still far better than most of the drivel out there.

So to quote myself in an earlier post, where do we go from here (Wait It Out-Imogen Heap)?  Alan Sepinwall, the TV critic, has been quoted as saying that a fan campaign ala Subway won’t work again.  The website, TVbythenumbers has several articles on the odds of Chuck being renewed and some argue that NBC is so desperate that they will have to renew.  I don’t have much faith in that.  We are running out of time.  With only 2 more episodes in the original order and a back 6, NBC will likely make their decision in May.  I know there is a break in the sequence of airing the episodes, so time is of the essence.

I vote for rally, so what is the answer?   I’m seriously asking, so I hope you can take the time to seriously answer.  All my best, and to quote Father Rick, keep on Chuckin’!

-amyabn

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About amyabn

My name is Amy and I'm in the active Army as my profession. I love the show Chuck and want to see it succeed for many seasons to come. My twitter handle is amyabn.
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96 Responses to To Rally or Not to Rally-That is the Question

  1. DaveB says:

    Well, what’s-her-name at NBC said whether Chuck got renewed depended upon ‘development’. As we’ve seen, development, at least in the eyes of fans, has not been good. So the fans are leaving.

    It’s a hard truth; you can be creative and do your own thing, or you can do what the customer wants.

    If the customers continue to leave, then what’s the point in keeping the shop open?

    • Faith says:

      “THR: “Chuck” — a bit surprising on Mondays?

      Bromstad: Pleasant surprise, and they’re doing great work.

      THR: So fans presumably won’t have to buy Subway sandwiches again this year?

      Bromstad: Well, it’s got to maintain, and it depends on development.”

      http://www.thrfeed.com/2010/03/qa-nbcs-angela-bromstad.html

      • amyabn says:

        Therein lies the rub, doesn’t it? Chuck has steadily declined. I actually started a spreadsheet today (I know, my nerdiness is not shocking anyone!) with the ratings by episode and the share. A 1.9 share for the last two episodes (and i have to be honest-I thought the ratings would have gone up from Beard on) does NOT bode well for Chuck.

      • Faith says:

        I don’t think it’s a death sentence yet…but yeah definitely not good.

        As for the spreadsheet, you’re in fine company. This is from snickrz from the boards:
        http://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=0AleydUWnGcZhdF80dGFnWHFUWlpVYW9MMjI5V3NEX3c&hl=en

      • amyabn says:

        I bow to Snickrz excellence! Any way you cut it, the downward trend sucks for the future of the adventures of Team Bartowski!
        I don’t agree with the whole Nielsen system. I don’t know anyone who is a “Nielsen Family.” I don’t know why, in this day and age, they don’t collect data from cable companies, Tivo, etc. I guess that would be too “Big Brother” for some, but it would better reflect the demo of who is actually watching/Tivo/DVR’ing.

      • StrikerChuck says:

        I too set up a spreadsheet which I post in the office, but I refuse to post the last 2 weeks

      • John says:

        Unfortunately, that interview was conducted before the back-to-back 1.9s.

    • amyabn says:

      I don’t disagree, DaveB. I just want ideas on how to get the customers back! I think the “product” will improve and be worth their time.
      I apologize if I’m being defensive. I watch very little tv these days (probably count the shows I religiously watch on one hand-a far cry from my younger days) and Chuck is my favorite show. I’m not trying to be melodramatic, but it is the only thing to look forward to on a Monday 🙂

      • JC says:

        Honestly I don’t think you’ll see any large fan driven campaign until after 3.13. Lets be honest this fan base is split. If anything was to happen it will be after people see how this arc ends.

      • atcdave says:

        I seriously want the show back, like you Amy, I’ve been pessimistic, angry, disappointed, etc. this season. But the thought of no Chuck after May really concerns me. That said, I don’t have it in me for a rally right now. Maybe after I things turn around in a way I like, or if TPTB make certain apologies/promises (yeah I know, no way); but for now all I can do is watch and hope for the best.

      • AngelTwo says:

        atcdave-No one has disliked this season more than I, but I don’t need an apology. I’m willing to say there was an honest miscommunications. We were expecting Season 3 of Chuck and TPTB were planning Chuck 2.0.

        So for me, no apology necessary. But they have ALREADY said there are “major” show-changing twists in store for 3.19.

        I assume if we wait until 3.19, it’d be too late. So they’d need to give me an idea of what game-changing twists they have planned.

        I want to be an informed consumer. I don’t buy pigs in pokes anymore. Or tunaroni subs 🙂

      • atcdave says:

        Angeltwo, you are completely right. I forget about the promised “game changers” for 3.19. Some clue there would be helpful. As you said, I can’t take these things on blind faith again; I need more information this year.

      • John says:

        I hope the “game changers” are about something cool related to the Spy world and not discovering something ridiculous like Awesome is cheating on Ellie or Sarah is leaving with Bryce in the morning or whatever.

      • DaveB says:

        Any TV show is in trouble if they have to “win back” followers. TPTB need to encourage the camp followers while at the same time winning new followers:

        Promote Promote Promote – But truthfully. You don’t win repeat customers by promoting one thing and presenting another.

        Learn from past mistakes. The loudest cries have been about angst for the sake of angst. The OC fell on the same sword.

        And finally TPTB, make up your freakin’ mind! Drama and Comedy are two different animals. You can liven up drama with comedy, and vice versa, but ultimately, the show must be one or the other. The first two seasons were funny and sweetly romantic, and like ‘Gilligan’s Island’, logic didn’t matter much. This season is dark and muddy; logic is required and is not occurring. It’s as though we are seriously supposed to believe that Chuck is going to become a “real spy”, get the girl, and solve global warming, all using edible glue that dissolves after 24 hours, but may kill him. I will massively suspend my disbelief for laughs, but not drama. I can accept the shoe-phone in ‘Get Smart’, but not ‘Bourne Identity’. It’s something that the Bond films struggled with, and finally overcame in the 90’s; beyond a certain point, the unbelievable becomes pathetic. ‘Chuck’ is approaching that point.

      • JLR says:

        ^^^ A great observation Dave… I TOTALLY agree w/ your line about willing to suspend disbelief for comedy but not drama. That’s why I have had so many problems this season. Look, I LOVE drama…as long as it’s done well. But then, I am also highly critical if it is not done well. It was easy for me to overlook things when the show was less “serious”, but if they want to go all dramatic, then they can’t have as many holes as they have.

  2. amyabn says:

    I guess perhaps I should elaborate a bit more. I set up a google alert (I have a gmail account) for Chuck. It sends me a daily summary of articles (some good, some garbage links) for the show. I try to reply to articles to help with publicity.
    I do the same with articles about Chuck on various forums, to include folks like Mo Ryan and Alan Sepinwall’s blogs.
    I don’t know what else to do. I, like many others, don’t feel quite right recommending the show to new viewers, because it isn’t what we want. ATCDave and I had a long conversation about this over dinner (thanks again to you and Jodie!). How do you recommend the show to a non-viewer or someone who has given up? How do you overcome the serialization of the show that makes you have to watch all of the episodes to get the “depth” to which the writers have chosen to ascribe to the characters (which makes them look flakey?)?

    • herder says:

      The only possiblity is if ratings increase and, short of searching out nielsen families, I’m not sure how to do that. I do want the show to return, like you, despite my qualms about choices made this year, it still captivates me. Another problem I have is how do we trust anything said by TPTB.

      I saw a promo this evening on Community and it was the one spy or the other tagline. What this made me think of was last summer after the Comic-con fuss there was the Ali Adler video that said “we love Chuck and Sarah together”. This at a time when they must have known that they were breaking them up in 3.01 and were keeping them apart until at least 3.12 in a 13 episode season. In retrospect I think that it would have been more honest to say nothing than to say that. So in addition to questions about how to increase ratings, we don’t have a partner in TPTB that we can trust.

      • atcdave says:

        Yeah, that’s exactly the problem right now, and its double barrelled. There is rational side; I can’t in good conscience recommend a show I’m currently embarrassed by; and the more emotional, I see previews like that and it just depresses me. I just don’t feel like fighting for it right now.

      • JLR says:

        See, that’s the dilemma I have too. I’ve already been “burned” by recommending the show. A couple colleagues of mine poke fun at me every once in a while for liking (a cute little term they came up with) “Days of Our Lives P.M.” I recruited both of them to watch, and neither made it past Mask. Maybe I’ll stick to family. Their opinions won’t intrude on my professional space. 🙂

      • Gord says:

        We keep hearing that the next show is going to blow our minds, be the greatest episode ever, be a real game changer. I thought the real show was back at the end of beard, and through most of Tic Tac, but then there was that final scene and I had that here we go again feeling. I was reading the review at tv.com of 311 and the reviewer said it perfectly. The spy stuff was an A- grade and the romance/relationship stuff as a D+ mostly because of “flip-flop” Sarah.

        That describes how I have felt by just about every episode after Nacho Sampler (Beard being the exception).

        The only way to get the fans back and people watching is for the remaining episodes to be awesome, and promos/talk-show appearances that can communicate how great those episodes are.

        I still don’t expect great things until the final 6 though.

        By the way I am worried about JS comments about the season finale. After his comiccon (something traumatic but it will be really good)I don’t trust his ideas to be in sync with the fans.

        If this is the last season, I feel really bad for the cast. I think their acting has been superb (not counting guest stars)it is the material they have had to work with that has been lacking.

  3. JLR says:

    In a week full of shocking turn-arounds (like me posting in Joe’s thread that I actually might be able to have selective memory about this season), I am on the fence personally. That’s a HUGE step from only a few days ago. Then, I flatly stated I would do nothing, nada, ZILCH to help the show. Now, I’m at least mulling it over.

    Regardless of what some haters have said about this blog, the people here are actually why I have had a change in attitude. Amy, Joe, Ernie & Dave are to be commended for this place. Not bad for a site supposedly full of nothing but negativity. Thanks for providing a haven where condescension isn’t a prerequisite, no matter the opinion being voiced.

    • joe says:

      I’m really glad for the addition 6 this season.
      I wonder if NBC will be late (again) in deciding about Chuck, just to see how the fans react to the episodes in May.

      There is good news to be seen. NBC is in no position to drop one of it’s top performers just to throw more new stuff on the wall to see if it sticks. That is, NBC’s bar is set pretty low. Chuck has to do better than it has lately. But not all that much better.

  4. metajoke says:

    It seems to me there are several options:
    1) Support unconditionally
    2) Decide after 3.13
    3) Decide after 3.19
    4) Support only if TPTB tell us their idea for Season 4 so we don’t repeat our blind support for a show they stopped producing.
    5) Let the show take its chances

    Personally, I’m prepared to do what it takes NOW–if TPTB tell us something about Season 4. I would not have supported getting this season if I knew what was coming. (I don’t suggest they don’t have the right to do what they did, only that I wouldn’t have bought DVDs and sandwiches to get it.)

    I’m too old to go through another year of Tweener Angst between the ledes and more PLIs. I don’t want to plumb the depths of self-loathing I see now. I need to know that the show won’t go there again.

    If they want to do that show again, well, that it their right. But I don’t want to put time and money against that. They have the right to produce what they want. I have the right to use my time and money wisely and make an informed choice.

    For me, if there isn’t an informed choice, I’d pass…

    • atcdave says:

      Excellent sumation metajoke. I’m actually looking at options 2 and 4 both. If I like the resolution of 3.13 (and for the record, I expect to) I will throw myself more into recommending, recruiting, and whatever else may help. If they want my help sooner, I need a 4.

    • BeCoolBoy says:

      Good, no great, summary metajoke. I think you’ve got the range about right.

      Mark me down for a 4. No blind faith.

      That said, am I the only one who finds it odd that TPTB and the usual suspects in the fan base are weirdly quiet? If 3.12 and 3.13 are so epic and so about a “payoff,” why aren’t they banging the drums LOUD? Why aren’t they saying, ‘Come one, come all and see the angst-free happy ending.’

      The only thing I can thing of is that there ISN’T an angst-free happy ending. There’s a trap door and they know it.

      I mean, let’s be honest. Chuck can’t afford more sub-2.0 weeks. Why aren’t TPTB and their fannish mouthpieces trying to rev up the interest NOW? If Chuck continues to tank NOW, I don’t think a modest revival during the May sweeps will save the show.

      Unless they’ve already been told by NBC that it’s over…

      • atcdave says:

        I truly hate to say it, but if 3.13 ends on a sour note, good riddance. I won’t go through this again.

      • JLR says:

        Come on dave, your positive posts this week played a large role in my improved outlook on the show. Hang in there, we’re almost home I think. I’ll just have to decide afterward how much I am willing/able to forget from this season.

      • Faith says:

        you rang? Kidding.

        I’m hopelessly trying to inject a sense of humor but I think I’m failing lol.

        When it comes down to it…S3 wasn’t saved by the fan fervor, it was saved because the product was just pretty damn good. Unless they can ably resurrect that product no amount of fan push will resuscitate this show. Because the people that are in line to rescue it are currently the ones to say “pass” first. Therein lies the biggest problem.

        That said, I don’t know…maybe it is blind faith but I think S4 is all but definite. That and I fully acknowledge I will buy subs and whatever they want me to to keep this show alive. Just probably gonna refrain from recruiting for now…I can’t even convince die hards to tune back in, how can I do that to new viewers?

      • JC says:

        The promos NBC are running aren’t helping. Good lord the angst they’re selling.

      • atcdave says:

        JLR, I’m glad I was able to help. I’m not really that down right now. I think the next couple episodes will be great, I expect to be fully engaged by 3.13 (shoot, maybe even 3.12). Its just if, on the off chance, they choose to end the season in a bad place, I am done. I DO expect great things though.

    • Gord says:

      I do believe in an interview CF said that if there was a S4, Chuck and Sarah would be together as a couple.

      Question is does that mean for the whole season or 1 or 2 episodes before another breakup and more PLI’s?

      I’m also nervous about the “big” game changers in 3.19. Are they “really” great or just great in the eyes of JS who told us about the trauma between Chuck and Sarah this season being really good?

  5. HenryH says:

    Both of the show’s creators, Schwartz and Fedak, have publicly stated that this season’s finale has game-changing twists that rival what they did in Ring at the end of Season 2.

    Without wanting to encroach on their creative rights, I would like to protect the time and money I suspect I’ll be asked to commit to try the save the show again.

    So my suggestion, which I think is reasonable, is this: Tell me the kind of show you’re planning for Season 4 and I’ll tell you if I’ll spend my time and money campaigning to help you get the show.

    If they insist that telling us something of their plans would infringe on their creative rights, I would accept that. Then they’d have to accept that I won’t invest my time and money to “save” a show I know nothing about.

    Creators have rights. So do consumers.

    • amyabn says:

      I completely agree with you Henry, but I think the hubris of both CF and JS will get in the way-they don’t see anything wrong with their product. I think they need to take a cue from Toyota….
      I’d be happy with a new back six video. Show me what is in store (or at least a glimpse).
      How do you guys keep up with what these guys are saying on Twitter? I only tweet during Chuck Me Mondays, but that is it. Is there a way to get a transcript of tweets?

      • herder says:

        I usually go to Ali Adler’s twitters, she often has links to others like JS’s. Actually he had a tweet the other day that made me feel a bit sorry for him; “what’s the shelf life of “epic fail” as the meanest internet insult”. I think we can presume that he is getting a lot of harsh messages over what is happening.

      • HenryH says:

        Amy-
        You folks have done a couple of polls here at the blog. I think metajoke’s options are pretty good. Why not put them on a poll, the folks here vote so we can get a sense of where people stand. It would help to know statistically, not just by reading the anecdotal comments on the blog…

      • atcdave says:

        I wouldn’t get too misty eyed for him; its still in his power to fix it. Tell us what the S4 Chuck will look like, re-edit/re-shoot if needed; its almost a month until 3.14 airs. Make it right.

      • amyabn says:

        I will have to defer to the king of polls, Ernie, and ask him to gin up the poll (I don’t know how! 😦 ). Good idea!

      • amyabn says:

        You know, herder, part of me (a very very small part) does feel sorry for him and CF. They blindly ignored the fans, who were very vocal up front (before filming started on S3). They have heavily invested themselves in the show and let’s face it, no one wants to hear that they have an ugly baby.

        I wish I knew what forums they read or had their email address. I would send them a link to this post so they could read our feedback. I think everyone here is respectful but firm in his/her opinion and it would give them, dare I say, a fair and balanced view of their creation.

  6. amyabn says:

    I just shot a note over to the gang at ChuckTV. I gave them permission to re-post if they so chose, or to start their own thread. I may do the same for Sepinwall and Ryan. Any other ideas?

  7. amyabn says:

    Sorry for the random updates, but for those of you with Facebook, there is a SaveChuck page. It was set up after S3 to avoid having this again-little did they know! Anyway, just another venue.

  8. ChuckNewbie8 says:

    “where do we go from here (Wait It Out-Imogen Heap)” —why I love this place and why I’m a chuckaholic.

    Amy to answer your question? We need to find another benificiary willing to step in and be the figurehead for our campaign. It may not work (Sepinwall is correct) but it’s the best shot we got. We’re not gonna get viewers with the show as is, I’m sorry to say. But we can still get another miracle by pandering to sponsors because when it comes down to it, money talks. Right?

    • atcdave says:

      We really just need the show to be fun again in the back six. At least I do, I can’t recommend people to it again until it is; but I will push hard for a product I believe in. If we can show upward trends in April and May we should be in good shape. It used to be, in S1 and S2, most people liked it when they were shown it; we need that kind of show again.

  9. John says:

    The next two episodes need to speak for themselves. If they do we have two weeks or so to mobilize for the back six.

    The first couple episodes of the back six should tell the story.

    • John says:

      Ok what I meant was the ratings of the first couple episodes of the back six will probably determine the show’s fate. 2.5 or so demos will probably save it.

  10. kg says:

    Monday is a very good night for teleivision in my humble opinion. There is very little on any of the other nights. Maybe Monday is a tough night for Chuck.

    NBC News is a disaster. I primarily tune into this network for Sports and Chuck.

    The same night we watch Two and Half Men, The Big Bang Theory and CSI Miami. If not for Chuck, it would be a CBS sweep.

  11. Lucian says:

    IMO, there are two things needed to get to season 4 (and they may not be sufficient at this point):

    – the end of angst as the dominant theme in the final 6
    – NBC promoting the heck out of the show, clearly highlighting the fact that the show is fun again, and there is some positive “resolution” to WTWT.

    NBC did a great job, I think, promoting the show prior to Pink Slip. It worked pretty well. The problem was the product.

    It really comes down to the showrunners and NBC. It would also be helpful to get a sense of where Subway is at with their sponsorship. They are kind of the wild card in this.

    • DaveB says:

      AS long as Subway gets a sandwich in the show each week, and an occasional location shot, they’re good…I mean, look at “Biggest Loser”!

    • josh says:

      NBC sunk some money promoting at the start of the season, the show opened with a 3.0 and just failed to maintain its viewers. I m afraid NBC is unlikely to sink more money into it at this point.

      • amyabn says:

        I would say that they promoted the heck out of it before it returned and then left it to its own devices. NBC does not have a good ad department, imho. And someone else here commented that the promo for this week looks angsty. Two spies: She must choose one! Ugh.

      • atcdave says:

        Yeah Amy, terrible promo. Perhaps its supplied by the studio though? I find it hard to believe the network could be so dense at this late date.

        Of course the other big problem with NBC promos is nobody sees them because nobody watches NBC!

      • Faith says:

        I would tend to agree if it weren’t for the fact that in the past, the promos were way more fun than the show itself. Remember the mask scene where they’re acting all jealous and putting on their jumpers? So much fun.

        The more I think about it, the more I think that episode was so good…then it wasn’t.

      • herder says:

        Well the point of view of JS and CF is that it is the WTWT or in the new parlance the “tension” that keeps people coming back for more. I question the tactic of promoting the WTWT when it has been identified as one of the more annoying parts of this season by most critics and commentators.

        There is a caveat to this, unless this is an implied message that this is where it comes to an end. If so, great, if not, then the problem could be compounded. If people tune in as a result of promos that imply a choice is made, and that choice isn’t, then people could become more angry than they would otherwise have been.

      • Faith says:

        WTWT angst isn’t just one entity though. There is acceptable, fun WTWT and there’s make me want to vomit WTWT. Unfortunately for us this year has been mostly the latter.

      • JC says:

        The CityTV promo just got posted in the Fish or Cut Bait post.

      • atcdave says:

        I think, like most story elements, WTWT has a limited shelf life. On Chuck, I believe it was spent by the end of S2; so right from Pink Slip it merits only a rolling of the eyes. Every bit of WTWT this season has been stale, they never should have returned to that methodology. And sadly, they ramped up the s-angst this season in such a way that it became the main dramatic focus of the show. Ergo, epic fail.

      • amyabn says:

        I stole this idea from someone else (sorry-I would give you credit if I remembered who), but what about having Yvonne on Biggest Loser? She certainly is fit (just in Shape Magazine) and both are on NBC. Maybe she and Zach go on and workout with each team. I know, grasping at straws here…

  12. Karen says:

    I will decide if I will continue to support the show, or fight for a renewal, after WonderCon.

    With regards to this season (meaning the first 13 episodes of the original season) in my eyes, knowing episode 12 will be an angst fest, I really don’t think there can or will be a satisfactory resolution. And let me qualify this. Sarah appearing to have to choose between Shaw and Chuck and choosing Chuck is not a satisfactory resolution. It wipes away the first two years of the show. Having Sarah jump from Shaw’s arms in episode 12 to Chuck’s arms in episode 13 is not satisfactory, she ends up looking like the office bicycle.

    So in my eyes, TPTB went to extreme lengths to give the show’s fans what they wanted BUT made sure it was given in a way that would leave the fans bitter. I am not happy about that. Nor will I feel satisfied having sat through 10 hours of angst and pointless random walk actions just to get a feel good moment at the end of episode 13. 10 hours of annoyance for 2 minutes of payoff just isn’t worth it in my book.

    If Fedak and Schwartz go to WonderCon on April 4 and convince me that they understand they messed up I will support the show. But let me make it plain and clear, unless I feel they understand they did wrong they will not be getting my support irrespective of how good the back 6 episodes are. Them talking about major twists in episode 19 makes me think more resets, and I am in no way interested in supporting this. I no longer have faith in their ability to understand what product their consumers want to buy, much less blind faith in them to deliver a product I will enjoy.

    • sniderman says:

      Agreed. My favorite show is “Chuck”. I enjoyed and supported “Chuck”. I do not want another season of *this* show – the one I’ve been calling “Carmichael.”

    • AngelTwo says:

      Karen: I may be the most vociferous critic of the showrunners’ work this year, but I do think it a mistake to expect (or even ask for) confessions of regret or admissions of “messing up” from TPTB. We should–and we should make them–focus on the future. I’m more interested knowing what they want to do in a potential season 4 before I commit to helping to get one.

      Besides, “face” is important here. If you put creative people in the position of having to stand down from their creative decisions (no matter how misguided they might have been), you get into a fight that does no one any good.

      Focus on the future, not the errors of the past. Besides (sadly) the ratings have shown that they were wrong and we were right. As the new Pornographer said in Challengers, “leave it there.” Or, as Sondheim said, “move on…”

  13. Ernie Davis says:

    To rally or not is a question for each viewer to decide. While I’m disappointed and not nearly as in to the show as when I discovered it, it is still the only show I watch regularly in about a decade. Clearly they still have something worthwhile. While I think my record is pretty clear, I’ve posted both pro and con views of a lot of the season and episodes and worked to decode some of what is going on, when it comes down to it I’ve invested a lot less in this show than most of you. I came to Chuck late last summer, after the Comicon storm, but through iTunes and DVDs and Subway subs for dinner every Monday (minus the last two) I’ve let my dollars speak for me, and probably will again. But where we are this year, from what I can tell is a lot different than last year.

    To get renewal last year it looks like TPTB got very creative. Yvonne, Adam, and Ryan all took voice acting jobs for videogames or animated movies, Zach co-starred with chipmunks, every series regular outside Zach, Yvonne, and Adam took pay cuts and missed episodes, and from the looks of it TPTB managed to set up the Honda commercials for the top three of the non-lead regulars to cushion some of the blow. Production was cut to the bone in some episodes (think First Class, Nacho Sampler and Mask) until a Subway deal could kick in with some funds, and WB managed to convince NBC that Chuck at a much lower price was worth it. My take is that some of the cracks are showing based on trying to tell too much story with too few resources too quickly, so I’ll forgive that. The question is how to move forward if we want to.

    First question, do we want to? As I said, this is an individual decision but I say yes, for these reasons.

    1) The cast and crew have been exceptionally generous with their time and energy with the fans. I want them to keep their jobs. Sure Zach and Yvonne, Adam, and most of the others will land on their feet, but it’s likely to be a while before the next job.

    2) Zach and Yvonne, together. If the show dies what are the chances we’ll see them paired again? If casting people in Hollywood have any brains they’ll be throwing offers at both of them, but maybe not as a pair, and each of them will need to take the jobs they feel are best for their career. It’s a shame so much of this season was wasted, but if you want to see the two of them together, Chuck is your safest bet.

    3) It’s still the best show on TV IMHO. ’nuff said.

    4) It is a chance for a new way of doing business in Hollywood. If the networks and studios can see that quality can attract fans and can convince them to open their wallets, they might start to look for quality and promote it.

    So that’s my why. Now the question of how. With the caveat that if the numbers don’t recover in after the two week break I don’t think anything will matter, here are my ideas.

    1) Buying subs is a good start, and it’s a pre-established connection. I think Subway sees they have a lot of fan goodwill from this, so maybe take it to another level. Find out how much an episode of Chuck costs to make, buy subs in sufficient quantities so that Subway’s profits cover those costs. Have fans sign up online to make it explicit that these profits are from Chuck fans and are for supporting Chuck, and then be sure it happens every Monday.

    2) Get a full old fashioned sponsorship like they used to do in the 1950’s. How much does an hour of NBC’s Monday night cost? Have someone (like Subway, or a combination of Subway, WB to promote movies and DVD’s and Honda) flat out buy the airtime and show the show so NBC is essentially out of the loop on the decision, other than the price they want for an hour of primetime. The price would probably be in the million dollar range, I have no experience or knowledge in this area, but it’s NBC. How bad could it be?

    3) Find another time slot on another network. Think outside the box. CBS, Saturday at 8? I dunno enough about networks or TV, but shows have jumped networks, and this is about the only good thing about NBC not owning Chuck. If WB wants to keep making Chuck and thinks it’s worthwhile, they can. So can we convince them it’s worthwhile?

    • AngelTwo says:

      Ernie-
      As I just said above, I don’t care about the past, but the future. And that is slightly where we might disagree. You cite the brilliant on-screen chemistry of Levi and Strahovski together as a reason to save the show. I agree. But since we saw almost NONE of it in episodes 1 and 5-9, I’d want to hear how TPTB intend to maximize that chemistry in Season 4 before I commited to do anything.

      I’d even try a tunaroni as a show of support if we heard that TPTB planned a season 4 that maximized the good on-screen chemistry of the leads and don’t invent reason to keep them off the screen together.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        As you’ve rightly said, getting a mea culpa is just not going to happen. I think getting a sneak preview through clips and spoilers is as close as we’re going to get to TPTB unveiling their future direction. I’m confident that they are signaling it includes a lot of Levi-Strahovski screen time.

        Look at the shooting schedule on the spoilers page. Do you see any scene with either Chuck or Sarah without the other? It looks like Charah will be joined closer than Sham for at least 3.14 and 3.15.

      • HenryH says:

        Ernie-
        I think (well, actually, I know) I’m with AngelTwo on this. I don’t care about past stuff. But I DO care about future intentions. I really would need to hear from TPTB about their plans for the supposed “heart” of the show (Chuck and Sarah) and something about these “game-changing” twists in e19.

        If Seasons 1/2 was the Chuck we knew and loved and Season 3 is Chuck 2.0 and they are planning a Chuck 3.0 for Season 4, well, then, I need to know something abotu Chuck 3.0 before I buy in.

      • Jason says:

        I am pretty sure the only thing (other than some rescue by another network) that really matters is getting the viewership back up to 2.4 or thereabouts. The competition is just so tough, that I am not sure that can happen, even if NBC were giving away free money, let alone airing a beleaguered TV show – I say beleagured because I am not real confident that 3.12 thru 3.19 will be satisfying enough to win those fans back who quit watching already, but that IMO is the best shot – but at some point the fans who have not liked S3 have to decide to forgive S3 and start talking only positives and promoting again – and somehow or other TPTB and the cast need to start doing the same, or short of a rescue, it is over

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Henry, I understand your point, I just think that what we are getting indicating the new direction is about as much as we’re going to get, unless a sheepish Schwedak says something along the lines of don’t worry, no traumatic event at Wondercon. For me it’s sufficient.

      • HenryH says:

        Well, Ernie, if TPTB aren’t more forthcoming then they have been (and I DO NOT think e14-19 will be as positive as some think…), then I won’t play.

        I don’t need TV to watch. Truly, I do not. Chuck is really the only scripted thing I do watch. If they can’t bring themselves to share a little about the shape of Season 4 and how the show will change AGAIN, well, then, I can’t bring myself to blindly follow.

        They have the absolute right to do anything they want with their show. But I have the absolute right to my time and my money commitments. And I won’t commit without a clear idea of direction and changes.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Then it sounds like you’ve answered the question in our new poll.

    • Chuckaddict says:

      How about HBO or Showtime? I’d love to see what would happen without network censors… I’d glasdly pay for the subscription too!

  14. sd says:

    Didn’t production on season 3 wrap last week? Zach Levi–the most vocal of actors in support of renewal last season has been silent (at least I haven’t seen any interviews etc. on the future of Chuck)…no barnstorming subways…etc.

    Perhaps I’m too cynical, but I think that is very telling. I think NBC is looking at the show, the ratings arc, new content, the potential for a JJ Abrams “look alike” spy show and most importantly the bottom line (ie: WB and production costs and licensing) and saying “not going to happen.”

    Don’t mean to be a downer.

    • Ernie Davis says:

      My guess is that all the cast is decompressing a bit after production wrapped and we’ll see them out and about promoting the second half of the season within a week or so.

    • John says:

      Zach has been constantly filming for months. Him taking some time off is not telling of anything but that he needed some time to relax.

    • josh says:

      It makes no sense to promote now, they pretty much got the message that they went the wrong way so far. What I hear is that general consensus is American Hero will probably end up as the lowest point for the series in terms of ratings.

      Their best bet is to promote like crazy after they resolve the story everybody’s annoyed about. They got a 2 week break after the mini finale, they got 4 more episodes coming up with which to try and convince people to tune back in. I m sure they will do a promo drive in the 2 week break.

      Don’t forget, if you ‘re constantly out there trying to save something people will get tired of hearing you talk about. So they got to time their effort for maximum effect.

      Having said all that, if American Hero dips below 1.9 I m not even sure it’s salvageable anymore.

      • metajoke says:

        Josh-
        If you are saying that the romantic angst silliness is not resolved IN episode 12, then this show is toast. And I’ll tell you why: If there is no resolution in 12, that means the resolution won’t come until the final scene of 13. That’ll leave a VERY bitter taste for shippers and those of us who lizjames dubbed “logical development” types.

        I have assumed that our Colonel-like happy ending comes in American Hero. For starters, it is the functional equivalent of Colonel in the arc structure. Most TV writers now leave the LAST episode for new stuff. The key strands of the season are wrapped in the next-to-last episode.

        Moreover, the synopsis for 12 has Chuck determined to get back Sarah and the B team helping him. If he FAILS to get Sarah back in 12, that means American Hero is an angstfest. And even MORE people will feel lied to because of the synopsis (not to mention the soapy “it’s decision time” promo from NBC).

        A slambang (no smutty pun intended) resolution in e13 WILL NOT be a happy ending and there’ll be no momentum on which to build.

        With just eight episodes left, EVERY episode is crucial in the attempt to get ratings up. If TPTB are afraid to promote the show based on 12 and 13 and DURING 12 and 13, we ARE sunk.

    • StrikerChuck says:

      Zach was u-streaming last night.

      • John says:

        I think he is having some technical problems because I tried to watch his video and it was a few seconds of a gate…and there was another time he streamed earlier this month when it didn’t get recorded at all.

        Oh well it is not like I need to see Zach’s amateur videos but they usually are pretty entertaining. The guy is just charismatic as heck even behind the camera.

  15. StrikerChuck says:

    Of course we rally, because whether you are happy with this season or not it is still Chuck. Things can get back to normal. Nothing is irreversible and no one has died (of the core) so I say good times are coming. If they killed Sarah or Casey then we have a problem. Plus imagine how much fun it is going to be when Shaw is Chuck’s first real kill.

  16. weaselone says:

    We can rally, but at this point I doubt very much it will have an impact on whether the show is renewed. Let’s face it, the fan base is tapped out. We can buy subs and make noise, but we’ve already tapped our colleagues, friends and family for new viewers and they’re either still watching or unlikely to be lured back. Maybe if we knew that the next two episodes would truly be worthy of the term epic we could resort to bribery. Or perhaps if some Chuck fan has a weather control device we could drive all those people we lost to DST back indoors. I’d recommend the assassination of the dancing with the stars competitors, but I’m too afraid someone would take me seriously and the special memorial ceremony would probably generate huge ratings.

    • Ernie Davis says:

      Hmmm, there is a major storm system moving across the country bringing precipitation and cooler temperatures into early next week. Is there something someone wants to tell the rest of the class?

    • Faith says:

      What’s harder, getting the previously fervor fanbase back on board or getting new viewers?

      In marketing it’s pretty well understood that it’s cheaper to keep clients than it is to get new ones but that’s marketing lol.

  17. John2010 says:

    TBTP have no one to blame but themselves for dividing the fan base, which is suicide for a show on the bubble.

    As for the “to rally or not to rally” question, unless you’re a nielsen viewer or your dad is Jeff Zucker, I doubt it will make a difference in regards to the shows survival.

  18. Chuckaddict says:

    I’ve been able to recruit a few people into watching this season, and everyone is enjoying it. The problem everyone I know, including the person that recruited me, doesn’t watch the show live. It’s either on DVR or on-line. I think that might ultimately be the show’s doom. I’ve read that Chuck is the most watched show on-line. There are only a few commercials to contend with, so no big revenue stream for NBC. TiVo does share statistics with the networks, I’ve seen them listed in the newspaper from time to time so I’m sure they’re available on-line somewhere. I’m sure the cable companies do the same.

    The bottom line is that NBC, and more importantly the sponsors buying commercial time, want to know how many people are watching the commercials, not the show. Plenty of people are watching the show, they’re just smart enough to not have to watch the commercials.

    • John says:

      If advertisers and TV networks are going to rely on people watching shows live, especially in the 18-49 demo, they might as well rely on the gas lamp and horse collar industry as well.

      Watch shows live is rapidly becoming a thing of the past. They will need to come up with a new model to reflect that reality.

      • Chuckaddict says:

        I 100% agree. The Internet is radically and rapidly changing the entertainment industry’s business model. The problem is the networks, studios, etc. are too fat and unwilling to adapt. Unfortunately I think Chuck might end up a casualty of them refusing to evolve their model. There are lots of viewers, just not the ones the necessarily care about. Hopefully NBC is lean enough due to their market position to modify their approach.

      • herder says:

        It’s not just a question of how many or how few people watch online, it is a question of if there is any income stream that is coming from those viewers. You could have 10 million online viewers and a 5.0 demo among them, but if no money is coming from those viewers then it is as if they do not exist.

      • Chuckaddict says:

        Exactly. NBC can’t generate more ad revenue because the Nielsen numbers are low. That’s how the system works. Unless viewers can provide NBC a revenue stream outside of commercials, the show will be cancelled. I think the system is antiquated, but it doesn’t matter what I think. Look at what’s happened to the music industry. It’s a symptom of the entertainment industry as a whole. The balance of power has shifted dramatically to the consumer, but TPTB refuse to acknowledge it.

    • John says:

      Yes, online ad-time is much much cheaper compared to live commercials.

  19. Drakan says:

    If advertisers and TV networks are going to rely on people watching shows live, especially in the 18-49 demo, they might as well rely on the gas lamp and horse collar industry as well.

    CBS, Fox, and ABC have no problem relying on people watching shows live.

    • John says:

      ABC and NBC are fighting for third place so I do not really see how ABC is doing fine.

      And I am speaking about the future. Once people get a DVR and are big TV watchers they rarely sit down and watch a show live.

      • Drakan says:

        Just because they’re not watching Chuck live doesn’t mean they not watching a different show live. I have a bunch of friends/colleagues that DVR Chuck and watch other shows instead. As for me, I used to watch Chuck live, but ever since the Mask, I started DVRing Chuck and watching other stuff instead like HIMYM or ESPN.

      • Chuckaddict says:

        The problem is watching another show live theoretically (I know the Nielsen system isn’t this simple) increases the other shows ratings, and reduces Chuck’s.

        Ad rates are set by what a show’s Nielsen ratings are. Luckily, these rates are set 3 times a year, during sweeps. That’s typically November, February, and May. I don’t know how the Olympics taking up half of February affected things this year.

        If Chuck’s ratings can rebound for the upcoming May sweeps, then NBC can charge more for commercials, and ultimately cover the production costs of the show, thus saving it for another season. If the ratings stay low, ad rates get cut and NBC can’t cover it’s costs. The show gets cancelled.

        It all boils down to advertisers paying for people to see their commercials. People (like me) who watch the show and skip the commercials don’t count in the current system.

    • Chuckaddict says:

      If viewers are going to save the show despite poor Nielsen numbers, we’re going to have to come up with another way to provide a viable revenue stream for NBC. Ernie’s idea of buying time is great. I wish I could afford to do it personally!

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