Don’t Freak Out!

Chuck’s Fate Keeping You Up At Night?

Freaking Out?

“Don’t Panic” as The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy advises.  Or in Chuck parlance, “Don’t Freak Out”.

“But Ernie” you say, “Chuck has fallen to a 1.3 in demo rating and only has a few episodes left before it will surely be canceled!  To make matters worse they are ending the series with an episode called Chuck Versus The Cliffhanger!”

I know it seems dire, and it is serious.  Chuck could go away and we need to be prepared to accept that and move on to support the Chuck team in their next endeavor, but I am confident that there is more Chuck to come.  It has to do with the bear, L&O LA, NBC, the NFL and timing that always seems to work in Chuck’s favor.  After the jump.

Chuck tends to be blessed and cursed to that limbo called “the bubble”.  Blessed because at NBC, on the bubble is almost as good as renewed lately.  Cursed because sooner or later that will change.  We all know Chuck’s rocky history.  It started as a highly acclaimed critical and ratings hit, drawing 3.0 or better in demo on a regular basis with somewhere around 7 million loyal viewers.  Then came the writer’s strike.

Between December of 2007 and September 2008 Chuck took a hit, as did all of TV.  When Chuck came back it had shed about 1-2 million viewers and was now only pulling slightly better than 2.0 in demo, putting the show at risk.  Even worse, in the aftermath of the strike NBC decided they were going to ditch scripted television in the 10PM hour for Jay Leno, meaning they didn’t need nearly as many shows.

We all know this part of the history.  A Subway fan campaign allowed WB and Chuck to come back to NBC with a drastically reduced fee, saving Chuck as a mid-season replacement.

I won’t get into season 3 other than to say this is when I joined in the show fandom and really found out what angst meant.  Still, as season 3 drew to a close Chuck had again shed viewers and dropped in the ratings.  But it had one thing going for it.  The Jay Leno debacle left NBC with a lot of schedule to fill, and despite picking up 13 new shows from the pilot season Chuck was renewed, and then given a large backorder as nearly all those pilots tanked.

Which brings us to where we are now.  Chuck on the bubble, and NBC with a schedule full of holes from canceled shows.  I think fate favors Chuck again.

I’ve already made the case for Chuck coming back financially and logistically here, and the artistic case here, and the worst case here, and I still stand by most of that even with the recent drop in ratings.  But make no mistake, 1.3 is bad, even with L&O LA dropping back between Chuck and the bear.  At some point either 1.3 isn’t even good enough on NBC for their new owners, or further drops make Chuck a poor gamble, but I don’t think that time is quite here.

I’ve been doing some reading online and found a few interesting things.  One of the main things I was interested in was the fall pilots, NBC’s in particular.  You can read up on them here at The Wrap.  Another one is a blogger, John Johnson, whose credentials I can’t vouch for, but who seems knowledgable and connected to the industry.  Take it for what you will.  One particular post he did caught my attention.  He speculated on the NBC fall schedule, and in virtually every scenario he had Chuck coming back.  It got me to thinking further about NBC’s situation.  Not only do they have at least 5-6 hours of programming to fill, similar to the hole that Leno left, but they have to plan for the, albeit unlikely possibility that they won’t have the NFL for some portion of the season adding the need for up to 2-3 more hours of programming.  I talked before about how a network can’t fill 1 hour in the schedule on a 1 to 1 basis.  No show can be counted on for a full season in its first year, and the disastrous 2010 pilot season at NBC proves that point.  NBC has 16 hours of programming in development.  That is all that is available for the fall at this point unless they plan to plug holes with game shows and newsmagazines; or try a Leno again.  Given their history, even if they did pick up every single pilot they would have to allow for the possibility that many would fail in the first part of the season and need to be replaced quickly.  The 16 hours of programming is about the minimum I’d think you’d want for 9-10 hours of open schedule they are looking at (especially in the spring after football).  That puts them in the position of having to pick up nearly every single pilot even if they don’t cancel Chuck or L&O LA and assumes a full season again for nearly the shows they are keeping.  I can’t imagine NBC is looking to shoot more holes in their schedule at this point.

But football will be back.  Surely nobody, even the NFL owners, are stupid enough to kill their own cash cow.  I say never underestimate the level of stupidity rich guys are capable of.  More to the point we have timing on our side.  NBC will announce it’s 2011-2012 schedule May 16.  If the NFL hasn’t settled things by then NBC has to be very careful.  Let’s look at their options when it comes to Chuck.

NBC can cancel Chuck (one of their least expensive shows).  If that happens WB does one of two things.  They either do a “hard wrap” on Chuck and tear down sets, closing down production for good, in which case NBC doesn’t have any possibility of getting any more episodes and WB doesn’t get Chuck to syndication.  The other possibility is that WB continues production and looks for a new network or venue, possibly even online as discussed.  In that case NBC again has no possibility of new episodes to fill the schedule.  NBC’s other option is a lot more attractive I’d think.  They get the best deal they can for Chuck, practically free, then announce it as a mid-season replacement with a small order, 10 episodes.  That way NBC can run their new shows and have Chuck as a possible replacement to fill whatever gaps are created.  If they have a ton of hits from the pilots, they don’t have to ever air an episode of Chuck, but WB will likely have started production early as they did with season 3, and one way or another, we’ll get more Chuck.

I’d hope that if I can figure this out that NBC and WB already have.  I’m hoping it’s a done deal.

Still, I want to emphasize, these are all things, like fan support and advertiser campaigns that tilt in Chuck’s favor at the margins.  At some point, if numbers drop too low it may be out of our control, but for now I think we need to make the best case we can where we can and hope that NBC and WB see things my way. 😉


About Ernie Davis

I was born in 1998, the illegitimate brain child and pen name of a surly and reclusive misanthrope with a penchant for anonymity. My offline alter ego is a convicted bibliophile and causes rampant pognophobia whenever he goes out in public. He wants to be James Lileks when he grows up or Dave Barry if he doesn’t.  His hobbies are mopery, curling and watching and writing about Chuck.  Obsessively.  Really, the dude needs serious help.
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95 Responses to Don’t Freak Out!

  1. atcDave says:

    Great analysis of the situation Ernie. Let’s hope we get some good news in a couple weeks and we will indeed have more Chuck to look forward to. Faith posted several tweets the other day from advertisers on this week’s Chuck where they were thanking viewers for their enthusiastic response to ads and product placement on the show. I think even if Chuck’s numbers are weak, happy advertisers is one more reason why the network might want to keep the show.

    • ArmySFC says:

      NFL talks on hold till the 16th of May. i would think that’s more good news.

      • atcDave says:

        Good news for Chuck…

        But of course I’m a big football fan too!

      • ArmySFC says:

        dave so am i but there is always college FB. i already think chuck is a go but they need to announce on the 16th. sunday has 4 hrs to fill if no FB.

  2. Big Kev says:

    I’m pretty optimistic too Ernie.
    If NBC are doing their job they would have built their profitability models for S4 on ratings around 1.5 at this point, given previous performance. We’re only a couple of ticks off that. Yes, it’s not good, but it’s still the best on Monday nights.
    Assuming WB are prepared to virtually give the show away to get to syndication (or if NBC manages to negotiate a cut of syndication revenue) it’s possible the show could still make money at these levels. It wouldn’t be much, but it might be enough for NBC. As you say, the other variable is the quality of the pilots and the possible NFL lockout. An unknown is whether Comcast are prepared to do a deal to keep Zac on the air (who they seem to be invested in). Probably wouldn’t do any harm to be still associated with Yvonne either, with Killer Elite due out soon, and a possible major lift to her career.
    I don’t think it’s a done deal. I think the negotiations with WB are probably going to go to the wire, but I’m cautiously optimistic.
    I’m guessing a 13 ep Fall order and then done. Our ratings wouldn’t survive the annual spring/DST freefall, assuming we come back around 1.7, so it makes no sense to have a back order or to be a spring replacement. I think we’ll stay in the Monday “slot of death” although a move to Friday wouldn’t be a surprise.

    For what it’s worth, DR is predicting renewal on his blog, and his source has been pretty accurate on this stuff in the past. His comment, paraphrased, is that it’s not about ratings at this point, which suggests to me it’s all about the deal that WB are prepared to cut.
    Here’s hoping we’re both right, Ernie!

    • jason says:

      kev – count me in on the optimistic part, a couple of more hints, both zach and yvonne have separately said something optimistic in the past 1-2 months about s5, and the notion of a cliffhanger ending, given schwartz was ready to end 4×13 all wrapped up with a wedding less than 3 or 4 months ago – almost makes you think the chuck team has some strong hints.

      The NFL is not going to strike – but might not settle until after the NBC decision is made on may 16th, yet another plus for chuck.

    • Ernie Davis says:

      I don’t usually read DR’s blog, not my style, but he clearly is in contact with someone in Chuck’s production team, so I’d trust his read of the mood on set. When he says it isn’t about ratings at this point I think he’s right to an extent. Part of it is the logistics and economics I’ve gone over. The other part is that while it is about ratings I think we’ve managed to rig the game for Chuck.

      The most profitable advertising for the network are the slots they reserve for sale directly to advertisers at a premium. The Chuck team has managed to line up product placement advertisers, who then want to buy that premium ad-space for maximum impact, and we re-inforce to the advertisers that it is worth it by contacting them and by going to RewardsTV, the Nielsen’s site, and making sure they see that those ad buys are being seen and having an impact. Make no mistake, the 1.3 is bad and I’d like to see better, but we can and do give advertisers, and thus NBC something other than plain old in demo ratings to consider by being active. What NBC wants in the end is happy customers buying their ad time, not an in demo number. Were we to be able to go back up to 1.5 for the next (new) episodes I’d be downright confident, as it is I’m cautiously optomistic and not freaking out. So don’t forget to thank the advertisers.

      • armysfc says:

        its also been reported by someone from WB that they did a soft wrap. they left the sets in tact and just moved trailers and the like, not what you would expect if it was canceled.

  3. angelpoo12 says:

    It’s the Fan Base On Twitter esp & other Social networks that are fighting hard to keep Chuck on also .

    • rac2873 AKA Rich says:

      Ironically most of those companies consider the hundreds of Chuck tweets spam. A few is good but a few hundred or 1000 is bad. Imagine if you had a product and every Chuck fan on twitter tweeted you. That would be too much. I agree with DR less is more not the other way around.

      Also contacting the companies directly that are shown in product placement for the show is better than contacting every company for every commercial. I don’t even think the companies decide on what gets shown when.

      I want to take part in a campaign that is fun and also beneficial. I fear that this spam the advertisers campaign could do more harm than good.

      Regardless I hope that NBC decides to stick with Chuck for one more year.

      • Chuck Fan says:

        Did anyone actually hear that the companies thought that was spam? I’d seen only positive responses. Curious to hear where the spam issue is coming from.

      • joe says:

        Rich, I really don’t think that’s the case.

        I’m sure they’re hoping for a positive reaction. But usually they consider ANY reaction better than none at all. I’m sure any ad agency that can get a 1000 tweets credited to their efforts is going to get more ad $s from the company.

      • armysfc says:

        all…concerning the spam issue. several people posted they work for companies that have twitter accounts. they claim that there is software in place on most large accounts that does several things. one is look for certain key words or phrases then auto deletes them then blocks the user. the second is multiple tweets from the same account in a set amount of time. they work in a similar manner to the spam filter on your email account. once they make it past the filter, a person then has the job of reading them, further making cuts and then sends the final ones to the correct department.

        i did some research online and found that information to be correct. several articles said the best way to get a company to notice your tweet is send one. sending many in a short time gets treated as spam. they get millions of tweets and emails a year and need to have a way filter out some.

        i can see the companies point. there are no doubt people that dislike a product and keep sending emails and tweets.

    • Rich says:

      You know what you guys are right. I was thinking about this and and after reading EW and Wired I am convinced this is a good strategy. It’s odd though that Magnus seems pretty confident in renewal. I think the Twitter campaign convinces The WB to lower the licensing fee to meet NBC not the other way around. Either way whatever helps Chuck get renewed is a good thing. 🙂

  4. armysfc says:

    ernie… ya better sit down for this. i agree with you on this. yep i said it, lol. in fact i think the decision to renew has already been made. you made the comment that NBC will need to fill 2-3 hours more if football goes bad. it is really 4 hours of sunday programming, as prime time starts at 7 on sunday (i don’t know if you subtracted time and didn’t explain the difference. if so sorry). that works in favor of chuck.

    this next part is a guess but it makes sense so i used it. DST and spring hits TV hard every year and always has. i’m sure some number cruncher has the percent of viewer drop each year after a certain date. they probably have it broken down by hour as well. if i guessed at it, early hours would show the greater drop and decrease as the time gets later.

    they then use that percent to figure out where a show will drop to during that time. as long as the show in question stays at or above that line its good to go. i believe chuck has stayed in that zone long enough for the decision to be made.

  5. amyabn says:

    Well, I still am downloading the latest ep (ok, I’ll stop whining now) but from what I’ve read of the ep, everyone loved it. Those feelings should hopefully translate into higher numbers for the last couple of episodes. I’d have to look at one of our charts, but ratings always seem to lag a great episode.

    I read something today about Diet Pepsi being approached to be a sponsor? Are we ramping up our thank the sponsors and potential sponsors campaign? I think we should ASAP. I’ll do what I can from here, but internet has been really sketchy with the dust storms we’re having.

    • Faith says:

      Well worth the wait Amy. You won’t be disappointed.

      As for pepsi lol that was me. I think we should consider having Pepsi with our weekly subway. Or if you prefer Pepsi max.

      It’s a viable plan and certainly internationally available.

      • atcDave says:

        Fortunately our Subways sell Coke products. I’m not sure if I could survive a Pepsi campaign…

      • Faith says:

        I’m finding that people take that seriously Dave. But Chuck before…sodas lol.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        I prefer to follow Jeff’s lead and invite my friend beer. Beer flavored, from one of the many fine beers that sponsor Chuck.

      • ChuckNewbie8 says:

        Here’s an article on Monday night’s advertiser pandering erh I mean, Chuck campaigning 😉 :

      • Tamara Burks says:

        I’m a Coke fan too Dave. Pepsi has a monopoly on most of the food places around here though. Mountain Dew is is the only Pepsi product I really like.

      • thinkling says:

        Heh, Coke for me. I’m a Chattanooga girl … first Coca-Cola bottling company and all that. Pepsi … eeww.

      • atcDave says:

        No sugar for me, I’m actually a Diet Coke guy; and I seriously need the caffeine, and I have never fallen asleep on the job!

      • thinkling says:

        I only drink diet water.

        I’m glad you’ve never fallen asleep at your job. Unfortunately I fly in a different direction.

      • joe says:

        I’m with Ernie. Beer. Beer brand.

        But I have to say that diet water is an interesting concept… 😉

      • thinkling says:

        It always gets a smile from the waitress. 😉

    • Ernie Davis says:

      I would normally side with Coke, but the whole “New Coke” conspiracy to switch from cane sugar to high fructose corn syrup made me distrust them all… 😉

      • thinkling says:

        If that’s how you feel, Ernie, you could just switch to sugar cane juice. 😉 No, I’m not kidding.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        I’ve given up on them all since you can’t get Lenape anymore.

      • thinkling says:


      • Ernie Davis says:

        Grapefruit pop (soda) local to Pittsburgh. The perfect late afternoon Thanksgiving/Christmas/New Years/Superbowl Sunday digestif.

      • thinkling says:


      • Ernie Davis says:

        I seriously mourn it’s passing. It is a loss not just to the tri-state region, but to the world. The last of the holdouts (after old Coke) who realized a carbonated beverage could be something other than sickly sweet fuzz.

      • thinkling says:

        I like grapefruit, so it sounds good. The coke in Brazil is better than here. I know that sounds weird, but it’s true. It’s fizzier and burns more going down. The recipes do vary somewhat in different places. But in Brazil we drink more Guaraná, a soft drink made from the guaraná berry, another natural source of caffeine. I’m not at all keen on sugar cane juice.

      • First Timer says:

        Try to find a Jamaican restaurant or Jamaican grocery story and get some Ting. All natural grapefruit soda with sugar, not HFCS. It’s better in the 10-ounce glass bottles rather than the plastic ones. Of course, I say the same thing about Iron City….

      • First Timer says:

        I missed a flight at Guarulhos once because I was savoring my last (from the tap) fresh Guarana. You can get Antarctica in a can here in the States. It’s never fresh, though, and it always tastes tinny.

      • thinkling says:

        Antarctica is the best. Isn’t São Paulo amazingly huge when you fly over it?

      • Ernie Davis says:

        FT, I’ll tell you something about Pittsburgh. We know Iron City sucks, and so does Rolling Rock. We prefer Stroh’s, but we keep up the facade so they can sell what we consider the cheap stuff we don’t drink unless we have to for $6 a bottle in DC.

        OK, occasionally there is some nostalgia for cheep bad beer, but that’s it.

      • First Timer says:

        Yeah, because Stroh’s brewed by Pabst is better than Iron City brewed in the old Rolling Rock brewery? It’s all the same now, sadly. Might as well drink Ballantine’s. (Well, I exempt Ballantine IPA…)

        I lived a charmed life in SP. Even during the hyperinflation…

      • thinkling says:

        @FT: Way cool. Now I have a thousand questions.

        Hyperinflation was ka-razy. If they hadn’t had so many devaluations the exchange rate would have been a trillion to one. They would have had to put prices in cubic feet of money. I remember writing checks for over a million for a tank of gas. Wild.

        We’re not in the capital anymore … just an hour away, though. Don’t miss the traffic or the pollution. We can always go visit to get our carbon fix. 😉

      • First Timer says:

        My recollection is that, at its worst, inflation hit 15,000 percent. I do remember having three currencies in my pocket (cruzado, nuvo cruzado and then the revived cruzeiro). And my most vivid memory is walking into a dress shop, asking a woman what a nice frock in the window cost (my Portuguese was passable then) and having her go to a black folio to consult the day’s price. For whatever the reason, that has stuck in my mind.

        But we’ve now bored this audience and they must be wondering what we’re talking about. 🙂

    • Ernie Davis says:

      You just nailed it. The Coke in Brazil still uses cane sugar. In the US it uses high fructose corn syrup.

      • thinkling says:

        Makes sense. Brazil produces a lot of sugar cane, most of which fuels the cars, but there’s plenty left for sugar, as well.

      • Faith says:

        Yeah different countries have better tasting coke. When overseas, I prefer coke, when in the US, I prefer pepsi. It’s weird.

        Also, I can’t believe we had a big involved discussion on coca cola vs. pepsi.

      • thinkling says:

        Faith, you don’t have to be crazy to post here, but it helps. 😉

      • atcDave says:

        And I can proudly say I started it!

  6. Xenaclone says:

    Sadly the Nielsen ratings do not take into account ‘Chuck’s many, many world wide fans, nor the US viewers with purchasing power outside the ‘holy’ demographic area.

    • DS says:

      I presume that these in-show advertisers like subway, Toyota and Apple are doing most of the heavy lifting (in regards to funding)and since their advertisements are technically unavoidable in comparison to the advertisements during the commercial breaks, doesn’t that make the total viewership (live+dvr+onlineviewers and maybe even downloaders?) more important than that 1.3 live rating?

      • atcDave says:

        Obviously all of those elements figure into the revenue stream. Foreign markets absolutely matter too. But last I knew, what NBC pays to WB for broadcast rights was still over 50% of the show’s intake. It is by far, the single largest source of revenue for the show. I don’t know what those exact numbers are, but last time I checked, Chuck was getting less than 50000 viewers a showing in the UK; compared to 4 to 5 million on NBC.

        So while WB certainly figures UK and other foreign carriers into their revenue, and into the equation of how much they need to make from all sources to keep Chuck in production; NBC is the one source that essentially has make or break power. If NBC cancelled it, every other source would have to contribute twice as much as it currently does to keep the show viable. For now that seems like a long shot. Obviously ratings in foreign markets do matter, the more WB can make from other sources, the less money they need from NBC. But NBC doesn’t exist just for Chuck’s benefit (I know, shocking but true!), so at some point, even if WB is giving the show to NBC, the network will choose to stop showing it just because its a drag on the rest of their line-up and affiliates. Of course it is possible for a show to survive without a US broadcaster at all, but for now it seems highly unlikely for an American made show about American characters.

      • DS says:

        Thanks for shedding some light on the matter, atcdave.

      • Verkan_Vall says:

        “But NBC doesn’t exist just for Chuck’s benefit”

        Wait, what?

      • atcDave says:

        I know VV, weird huh! If I owned the network you bet there’s one show that wouldn’t be getting cancelled!

      • thinkling says:

        What? Dave, you’re not in the market for a small network?

      • atcDave says:

        I think my household wi-fi is the closest I’ll ever come to owning a network!

      • thinkling says:

        Good one.

  7. Ernie Davis says:

    For those interested in the NBC pilot season, here is a list of shows in development. There is a brief description of most at the link I have to The Wrap or another one opining on the prospects here.

    Smash 1 hour
    Reconstruction 1 hour
    Playboy 1 hour
    Prime Suspect 1 hour
    REM 1 hour
    SILA 1 hour
    A Mann’s World 1 hour
    Wonder Woman 1 hour
    Grimm 1 hour
    17th Precinct 1 hour
    Are You There Vodka 1/2 hour
    Bent 1/2 hour
    Brave New World 1/2 hour
    Emily Spivey Project 1/2 hour
    Free Agents 1/2 hour
    Untitled Whitney Cummings 1/2 hour
    I Hate That I Love You 1/2 hour
    Lizer Kari Project 1/2 hour
    Lovelives 1/2 hour
    My Life As An Experiment 1/2 hour
    Untitledn Parham/ St. Clair 1/2 hour
    Untitled Dan Goor 1/2 hour

    • Faith says:

      Are you there vodka sounds like my kind of show! Hehe.

    • Katsumaro says:

      Just because I have to reply this, but oh my god is Wonder Woman going to bomb *hard*. I think it’ll get great ratings (for NBC anyway) on the first like.. episode or two, but after that, it’s going to be monumental fail, Haha. Think back to Bionic Woman or whatever it was.

      As for the chances of survival.. here’s hoping. I’m still standing pat on ‘enjoy these last episodes this season as if they are the last’ so if it is renewed.. that’s a bonus!

      • Faith says:

        BOO! 😛 I’m quite looking forward to WW. I’m probably the only one but I’m excited! Of course I’m also a huge fan so I probably have really low standards and is just happy the icon is being revisited.

      • JC says:

        The character is great, its just a shame the Joss Whedon version never got the green light.

      • thinkling says:

        I was a WW fan. It’s been a while, but I’ll give it a shot.

      • Rick Holy says:

        I’m looking forward to WW, too. Have to say that I LOVE Adrianne Palicki. She was absolutely wonderful as Tyra in Friday Night Lights. She CAN act, so if it tanks, it’s not going to be because of her.

  8. Faith says:

    I want to say something about that which shall not be named but I won’t…instead, I’ll say hmm, this makes me feel better. My face does not like the desk (referencing *facedesk* from yesterday), nor does it want to go back there. So thanks, I can exhale for a little while. Note: I wasn’t panicking or anything, but certainly concerned and a tad frustrated.

    I will say though that you also have to account for NBC replacing shows mid-season as is their MO. And though the idea that WB would shop the show to other venues seem attractive, I’ve always believed that’s the longest of all shots. It goes back to the same old, if you already can’t get people to watch the show, how can you get other networks to buy into the show enough to purchase it? There are very few shows that live on in other networks and most of these are owned by the networks itself that chooses to prolong the life of their own show, for their own profit.

    Apart from that, I feel better. Certainly my face does ;).

    P.S. on the ratings page, I posted this. Read into it as you may.

    • atcDave says:

      One reason why the CW is often suggested as an outlet of last opportunity is because WB has 50% ownership of that network. So if NBC cancels, there is the remote possibility CW could be coerced to run a single 22 episode season just to get to the magic 100 episode mark. Given the end of Smallville and slightly different economics at the quasi-network that might prove to be a good fit.

      But staying on NBC is always the best shot at another season.

      • Faith says:

        Dave, if you consider the size of the network, and the number of times they’ve done something like it…those are the reasons I call long shot. Having said that, it’s not impossible. Chuck is nearing the syndication mark. It could come to pass that they would shop it around, or prolong it themselves to hit the black.

      • Tamara Burks says:

        I’m pretty sure NBC is connected to USA and the SyFy channel too. And since both repeat an ep the same night if Chuck was on one of those it would help the ratings.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah Tamara those are all properties of NBC Universal. But they do have their own programming departments. Sci-Fi has run Chuck re-runs in the past, it would be nice if we could get that going again (actually USA seems like an even better fit).

    • alladinsgenie4u says:

      My face does not like the desk (referencing *facedesk* from yesterday
      Apart from that, I feel better. Certainly my face does

      I am more worried about the desk now. Does it have a huge dent on it? 😉 😛

    • Ernie Davis says:

      I still say that a last season 22 episode starting in the fall deal is what Chuck should get, just for all the grief they’ve gotten from NBC every spring. 😉 But even if I try to play out the worst case scenario I can’t see how it is to NBC’s advantage to outright cancel Chuck for the one or two bottom of the barrel pilots that would need to be bought to replace it. Add L&OLA to that equation and I think a mid-season 10-13 episode order is the worst case. But then we’ll probably get what we all fear, a rushed front 13 that ends on a satisfying note, but then is padded out to 22 to fill the inevitable holes the NBC pilots create as they plummet. Well, it’s not like the Chuck crew hasn’t practiced that a few times. 😉

      • ArmySFC says:

        ernie… i agree with you but i’ll play devils advocate on this one. first is i don’t think you can just guess that the replacements will fail. any new show is a chance at best and most do fail. this is where it could get dicey. the amount of ad money an new show can get. is it more than chuck? how much did it cost to produce and what are it’s chances based on screening? what would the profit loss ratio be between chuck and a new show. i know nothing about how it works and don’t claim to. if NBC decides to risk what little it makes on chuck for a bigger potential gain i can see them going to a new show. it would be a pure financial decision. that’s about the only way i can see it happening.

    • Ernie Davis says:

      Oh, I meant to add that the schadenfreude would be through the roof if a Chuck repeat (Honeymooners) could beat new episodes of L&OLA and The Event next Monday.

      • Tamara Burks says:

        Definitely. I like the Law and Orders but the only one I make a point to watch is Criminal Intent. The rest I tend to catch in reruns unless there’s nothing else on.

  9. joe says:

    Sorry I’m late to this party, but wow – I’m in! Great analysis, Ernie.

    I hadn’t even considered what effect an NFL lockout might have on the network, but it only puts pressure on them to have some product in the pipeline, ready to go. And that’s especially true if the season starts late, because that’s far more likely than a season long strike.

    Yeah, I’m still an optimist. I think the odds are still better than even we’ll see them next season. Following that, I’m starting to feel that the show will end because the cast and crew decide it’s time and not because the network feels that way.

  10. Katsumaro says:

    Also, adding a new reply, but I don’t think counting on the NFL to lockout is really a positive thing. Yeah, if it’s delayed, that’s a plus.. but something tells me the NFL will come back down and work toward renewing the CBA. Big NFL/College football fan, so I follow that stuff religiously.

    As for moving “Chuck” to another network.. also another thing that shouldn’t really be hoped for as it doesn’t happen often enough. Based on ratings, it’s not like “Chuck” would be canned unfairly. I mean.. it’s getting a 1.3. Now you guys who follow me on Twitter know how much I love the show.. so I”m saying that with as much biasedness as I can, yanno?

    But yeah, I think our best bet is to hope it gets renewed the regular way, at NBC, even if the network is a giant dumpster fire of awfulness.

  11. Faith says:

    A couple of renewal and #Chuck related reads:

    Remember awhile back the survey from USA Today on which shows we want saved? I thought then that it had more cache than the Hulu poll (no matter how publicized that was) because this one will go to print. Well we won. Chuck got the most votes at 45%.

    And here it is on today’s front page:

    (photo via @beauparadox of twitter)

    Now for something related, on Monday Chuck fans tweeted in support of advertisers and Chuck. I posted the EW article that mentions it, and the people that started the tweet campaign (wegiveachuck) heard the concerns about the danger of spamming, as opposed to supporting so they’ve changed things up a bit. In the coming mondays, if and when you buy a product (dove chocolate, tide to go sticks, pepsi, dunkin donuts—the latter I hate you and I’m jealous because we don’t have ’em here! etc.) they’re asking people to take pictures of those things and tweet them to the advertisers. Here at Chuck this, for those that don’t have twitter, we can always go the direct route: via the thank the advertisers page contact infos. I’ve personally sent off and gotten a reply from Budweiser (heh) in the past and they were very cordial and appreciative. On Monday, with some Stella, I’ll take a pic too 😀

    • thinkling says:

      That’s a pretty big percentage. Does the network pay attention to things?

      • atcDave says:

        I don’t know if NBC will pay attention this poll in particular; but I know they are well aware Chuck has a very activist fan base. That seems to be worth at least a little extra consideration.

      • armysfc says:

        thinkling…i don’t want to sound like a wet blanket about the poll. on paper to us 45% looks good. now the bad news. there were only 47k votes cast during the poll. chuck got around 23.5k. that means out of the 4mil plus that watch on a weekly basis less than .58 millionth of a percent voted.

        NBC may take notice if the number of responses to the pole is higher than most polls. the amount of weight NBC puts into polls in my opinion is small no matter who runs it. the numbers just aren’t there. if the number of folks that voted was 8 million and chuck got 3.9 million you bet they would take notice. like i said this is just a guess.

      • armysfc says:

        opps typo .58 milth should have been .0058 % not what i typed. to early, lol.

      • atcDave says:

        Army it may be a small poll but it absolutely has some bearing. After all, it got NBC and Chuck printed on the front page of the only national newspaper, in addition to all the mention and articles about it on the internet. Its free publicity for the network.

        Now of course ratings are always the bottom line. But there is a whole host of intangibles that go into close decisions. And related free publicity, goodwill of viewers, and general buzz are issues that all have some weight.
        Will it be enough to save Chuck? We’ll know in a few weeks. But I remain cautiously optimistic.

      • jason says:

        another thought – executive teams in rebuilding situations are very busy, it is possible the notion of a set, cast, writing team, and slight profit all in place may be appealing, as the new NBC leadership starts running out of time and resources cobbling together a near all new lineup for the fall. Might even mean chuck starts the season out of the gate in the fall, while some of the pilots put the finishing touches on themselves.

      • armysfc says:

        dave agreed about the front page ad. anything can help. i just put out the other side. it helps people from getting to giddy since we have no way of really knowing what NBC cares about other than numbers. i’m with ernie on this though. i think chuck has been renewed and will be slightly shocked if it’s not.

      • atcDave says:

        Jason I’m sure that is among the many issues they will consider. Of course new ownership and management could completely backfire on us if they decide to clean house. But I think its more likely to be among the many intangibles in our favor.

    • DS says:

      I don’t think any of this stuff is going to make a difference now though. At the end of the day, NBC is going to ask themselves the following questions: What is the break-even point and when do we expect to reach it (i.e. is it still going to make profit in the most dire of situations)? Do we have the certainty that a new show will ‘do better’? if we renew chuck, will it continue its downward trend or can we expect an increase in the fall (probably a question the advertisers are going to ask themselves as well)?

      At the moment, I think the problem lies with the second question. The ratings are at a point now where it might be more profitable to take a gamble on a new show. In the best case scenario, NBC will have so many holes to fill in their scheduling next seasons that they are forced to renew some of their established shows and launching new shows is expensive due to the amount of promotion they require.

      Anyway, in the end, it’s the advertisers who decides whether chuck stays or goes. This doesn’t have to be a problem per se. if they somehow manage to find more in-show advertisers, like SuperShuttle, and convince the current advertisers, like Subway, to stick around then the lost revenue might be covered. In the best case scenario, NBC expects chuck to gain back some of its lost viewers (to DST and DWTS), but even if this is the case, chuck will still be at dangerously low levels, which will affect the negotiations with advertisers.

      Conclusion: the only way I can see a renewal happening at this point is if chuck can ‘beat’ the upcoming pilots and attract/keep the advertisers interested; not an easy task…

      • Big Kev says:

        I think it comes down to 2 things – and neither of them are ratings. Ratings are bad, we know they’re bad – but to a large extent they’re a known quantity for Chuck because they follow the same pattern every year.
        The 2 things are – how good are the pilots? And is WB prepared to offer a sweetheart deal to get the show to syndication? Both of those are still unknown at this point and I’m guessing that’s why a renewal announcement hasnt been made yet.
        I’m also guessing that if the answer to either of those questions goes in Chuck’s favour, then we will see a 5th and final season.

      • amyabn says:

        I also think NBC has to take a hard look at itself and see how many of its pilots BOMBED this year: Undercovers, The Event, The Mask (I think I’m screwing up the name-the one with Summer Glau-sorry Fr Rick!), Chase, The Paul Reiser Show, Perfect Couples. That’s just going off the top of my head. Internet has been down here for days (finally back on tonight!) but I think their show about restaurants (next best or something to that effect-I don’t do reality tv and I don’t have tv here) is doing poorly. Add to the list if you know of another.

        Anyway, my point, if I finally get around to making one 🙂 is that Chuck is a known quantity. I hope we get a 13 episode S5 so they can wrap things up. Tweak their pilots, and use them as mid-season fills. I’m even open to moving Chuck to Fridays. If they do, we need to try and capture former Smallville fans to tune in. Just my 2 cents.

      • thinkling says:

        Makes sense to me, Amy. Glad your internet is back up. Always glad when you can join us! 🙂

      • joe says:

        I agree with that too, Amy. I’m stunned that the Paul Reiser show died so quickly! Not that I ever saw it, but – wow! Two whole episodes.

        NBC needs some stability or it’s got nothing.

        Hum… I just realized, the Internet can either kill TV or it can save it. I wonder which it’ll be.

  12. sd says:

    Another NBC show is dropped after two eps—The Paul Reiser Show—actually saw it and it was really awful, imho.

    I don’t know if this show was meant as a mid-season/summer replacement with perhaps a fall pickup…but its failure is just another hole in NBC’s schedule.

    I am going on a limb here…but every year, I have worried over Chuck’s renewal– not this time.

    I have also been out of the country for a few weeks and have been playing catch-up on the Chuck eps I have missed…I have found them totally enjoyable…what is it about the “added episodes” that seem to be more entertaining than the ones originally ordered? The ones I have watched have been so well written and produced…with Chuck and Sarah’s characters as mature couples in a mature relationship.

    That is just my perspective based on my inability to read/watch the spoilers or read the synopsis for the last month.

    Does anyone else share the same impressions about the added episodes?

    • atcDave says:

      I agree entirely SD. I’m always a big fan of the more episodic sorts anyway; and we’ve seen so much with a pretty stable happy couple, that never gets old to me. I especially love watching them get into a little trouble together like in A-Team and Wedding Planner, somehow they never seem more real than when they’re causing mischief together.

      • sd says:

        I know! I watched the A-Team for the first time a couple days ago…I loved the Super Shuttle and the net…a net???!!!! Great gag.
        And you’re right…Chuck and Sarah working as a team and goofing up as a team are fun scenes to watch.

    • Big Kev says:

      Definitely going to agree with you about the back half being stronger than the front 13. Absolutely. The stories have been tighter, they’ve taken more time with the set ups, which in turn means that the pacing has felt much more even. Muurder was the big exception, but Newman has been so good I’ll forgive her one turkey.
      I think it’s fair to say the new writers are finding their feet after some serious missteps. Wootton’s last episode was light years better than his first two, and I liked DiGregorio and Meyers as a team in First Bank of Evil much more than I liked their individual episodes. The standalones in this half have felt much stronger too, culminating with Wedding Planner, which was just a sensational episode, and there’s been much less of my own personal Kryptonite, which is whiny/neurotic Chuck.
      I always love the run to the Season finale on Chuck anyway. I love the way they bring the stories together that have percolated all season, and the synopses for
      the next 2 look great. So yeah – with you all the way on the strength of the back half, and hopefully it’s only going to get better!

    • thinkling says:

      Yes. I love the front 13, but I love the back 12 even more. Chuck and Sarah as a more mature couple … fantastic … I could watch indefinitely. And I do love it when they get into trouble together à la A-Team and Wedding Planner. And the heartwarming scenes toward the end just get better and better. I hope they realize they’ve found the C/S groove.

      I’m with Dave on loving the stand alones. If I were planning the S5 strategy, I wouldn’t do away with mythology, but I would give it less weight and make it less of the driving force than it was in 4.0. I would back burner it a bit and make it the episode focus only occasionally. Their stand alone episodes are always good.

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