Just got off the phone with "Chuck" co-creator Chris Fedak, who was very pumped about the early premiere date, and the fact that they'll get to produce six additional episodes, bringing season 3's total up to 19.
If you've read any of my previous conversations with Chris, you'll also know that the man is incredibly, intentionally vague about anything that's upcoming on the series - at one point in the conversation, I think he started pulling the Chevy Chase microphone trick from "Spies Like Us" - so the following transcript will only be somewhat illuminating about how Fedak, Josh Schwartz and company will be using these six extra episodes on top of the 13-episode story they had already planned, but here we go...
How do you feel?
I'm fantastic. I'm so excited.
Happy to be back in the same timeslot?
It feels like Monday nights at 8 o'clock is the "Chuck" hour. We know that real estate.
And I'm assuming you're pleased to be coming back sooner than originally planned, right?
I am glad to be coming back sooner than March. It's kind of strange to be making a television show and not having anybody watching it. We're doing lots of crazy stuff.
So how are you going to work these extra six episodes into the season? Will you be inserting them into the middle of the 13 you had already planned, tacking them onto the end, telling a whole new story or what?
Right now, we're going to stick with the 13 that we had planned. When we got the order for six more episodes, we restructured the story somewhat, but we're still operating along the lines that the six additional episodes will be "Chuck" season 3.2. We're not going to pad the original story out. We're going to tell more story.
So will episode 13 still end more or less where it was going to when it was going to be the season finale?
Mostly, yes. When you watch 13, you'll get a feel for the big, epic things we're doing. We're telling a lot of story this season. It's all going to be one season. Essentially, it's our ability to tell more story. But it'll still feel like one season. It won't feel like we're going into another season of the show. It's one consistent thing.
How far along in the process are you? Were you ready for this possibility?
Right now, we're in the process of working on the additional six episodes. The good thing is we started (production) early. We're currently shooting episode 11. So we had to be ahead of the curve in the story-breaking process. When we got word, we still had enough time to do what we do at the beginning of the season, which was to ask, "What story do we want to tell?"
And the way you planned 13 to end wasn't going to put you in a place where it would have been hard to tell more stories immediately afterwards, correct?
It was a super-exciting episode, but it's not as if we have to reinvent the show.
I imagine that if NBC had somehow tacked an extra six episodes onto season two at a late hour, it would have been tough to suddenly do extra episodes where Chuck knows kung fu.
That would have been very difficult to do.
So you hadn't planned to do something that extreme at the end of 13?
Hmm... That's a good question. Hmm... I don't agree with the presupposition of the question. So I can't answer that question. But you can quote me saying I can't answer. Hmm...
I think I've already forgotten what my presupposition was.
Your presupposition that 13 could not have been that cataclysmic because we don't have to reinvent the show.
It's so tightly wound, there's a lot of epic things that happen throughout the season. The six episodes after 13 are very much a continuation, building upon the stories that we're telling.
Now, I haven't done the math yet, but you should have aired around eight episodes before the Winter Olympics begin and take you off the air for a few weeks.
Seven episodes, I believe.
So how do you think episode seven works as the last one people will be seeing until the Olympics are over?
Episode seven is kind of a good stopping point. It's a good place to break for the mid-point of the season. It's kind of cool, I think.
Well, congratulations on coming back early, and the extra episodes. I'm pumped.
We're stoked as well. It's great to be coming back, it's great to be coming back early.
And hopefully there won't be any Obama primetime press conferences on Monday this time around.
Hopefully, not, but you know, we do understand that the President needs to talk to the country from time to time. So does Chuck, though.