Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Chuck: Early returns are in, or out?

Ever since NBC pulled the plug on "Southland," I've been getting e-mails and tweets asking variants on the same question: "Does this mean 'Chuck' gets to come back early?" I have no idea, in spite of at least one published report suggesting it could happen. Nor am I sure it's a good idea if it happens. Some more thoughts after the jump...

Look, NBC is in very bad shape right now. "Southland" won't even get to air its second season, neither "Trauma" nor "Mercy" have done well, and the network's really only competitive when "Biggest Loser" airs on Tuesdays. Things are enough of a mess that there could be one or many timeslots opening up soon, and "Chuck" has been in production long enough that it could get on the air quickly. And, if it does well, then the show could get a full-season order, as opposed to the 13 episodes we're currently scheduled to get.

But much as I want Chuck, Sarah and Casey back in my life already, I fear that would only hasten the show's demise.

Now, I was worried about the March premiere when it was announced last spring. Being off the air for so long after the writers strike stole away any ratings momentum the show had from its first season. However passionate the fans were at the end of season two, would they all come back 9 months later? And would more casual viewers even remember that the show existed, or care, after that long a hiatus?

But if they wait that long, they get to promote it for two weeks during the Olympics. And while sports audiences tend to be a borrowed audience, and one you can't rely on to show up for your entertainment programming, the Olympics are still a much, much, much better promotional platform than anything NBC has right now. And advertising the 3D episode during the Super Bowl (another borrowed audience) actually did help, getting the show its best ratings ever. The problem was that President Obama's speech pre-empted the next episode, and all that momentum was lost, as the episode that aired the week after was the lowest-rated ever. So if they can promote the hell out of the show, and if no unforseen events take it off the air a week or two later, it could do okay in the spring.

Bringing it back by late October, as Ausiello suggested, or even early November, and there won't be enough time to make and mount a successful promotional campaign. You'll be throwing the show back on the air with little viewer awareness, and, according to Joe Adalian, in the same Monday at 8 timeslot where the show struggled so much last season opposite "House" and the CBS comedies. (Though "Big Bang Theory" being at 9:30 could help, as both hows both loom large in the geek community.) I know the current plan is for it to air Mondays at 8 in the spring, but so many things could change for both NBC and the competition by March that I'm less worried about that than the certainty that "House" and "Dancing with the Stars" would kick Bartowski butt. NBC's just not equipped to make anything into a hit right this moment, least of all a show that, with its current audience size, needs to be handled very delicately.

As it is, I'm looking on this third season as a gift from and for the passion of the fans. A miracle could happen, and the ratings could suddenly become big enough that a fourth season becomes a no-brainer, but right now all I want is for the show to do well enough for all of the third season episodes (13 or 22) to air. And while neither option seems particularly appealing, my gut right now tells me that March is the safer play, even if it means waiting, and waiting, and then waiting some more to see Chuck show off some kung fu moves, to hear Casey grunt, etc.

If I hear anything that suggests a return is imminent, I'll let you know. But at the moment I'm standing on the sidelines like the rest of you.


Daniel said...

"Mercy," while obviously not a hit, is solidly outperforming what "Chuck" did last season in total viewers and while its demo numbers are lower, they aren't *that* much lower. Just a few tenths of a point. "Mercy" is in an absolutely sinkhole of a time slot, but it won that sinkhole of a timeslot in total viewers last week. In your face, "Hank"!


dez said...

I see your point, but the fan in me is chomping at the bit for more Bartowski kung fu-ness. Plus, if it kicks Heroes off the air for awhile, I won't mind, especially if NBC takes the opportunity to boot Tim Kring and give the show to Bryan Fuller full-time (assuming he would come back again). Gawd, talk about NBC squandering all potential...ugh....

Alan Sepinwall said...

Plus, if it kicks Heroes off the air for awhile, I won't mind,

It wouldn't kick off Heroes. It would kick off Trauma and move Heroes back to 9.

DR said...

I think it makes no difference what any of us want. NBC will bring CHUCK back earlier than March because it is paying very little to air it and that means it can collect far more ad revenue from it than it can TRAUMA.

dez said...

It wouldn't kick off Heroes. It would kick off Trauma and move Heroes back to 9.

Why you gotta stomp on my hope like that? :-D

Pamela Jaye said...

How about we wait till November, and then kick off Mercy. I can take my Chuck with Glee on top.

Meanwhile TNT is promoting Scott Bakula's series Men of a Certain Age Age with M&Ms.

captcha: cultces

belinda said...

Who produces Chuck? A big if, but let's say other networks are interested - is there any way it could move to a different network? (Or another miracle case like FNL?) Because I can't see how it could survive on the failing NBC unless it gets a huge ratings bump.

And, gosh, is Heroes still on? Please tell me this is their last season.

Dave said...

What's to stop them from getting the best of both worlds, so to speak? Air the 13 episodes they have starting in the end of October, and time it so those 13 (and the intended 13-episode season/half season) lead into the Olympics. That gives the hardcore fans their fix and hopefully brings in a little more viewers for NBC. Promote the daylights out of the show during the Olympics, and afterward have a new 9-episode half season that can serve as less intense plot movement and more character reintroduction/development for the new viewers to catch on to all the great characters in the show.

The question is: how does NBC promote a show like this?

barefootjim said...

Another reason to wait for March is that it's possible they could make it a bit more of an event, and it won't get lost in the World Series and the holidays.

Not to mention, if there is a chance of 22 eps, that would lead to the producers to possibly hold something back from the first 13, instead of leaving it all on the table.

I'd prefer 13 well-crafted eps that explore Chuck 2.0 and come up with a reasonable ending (but leaving enough open so that a renewal would work, as well) than 22 that kind of meander.

Jesse said...

Who produces Chuck? A big if, but let's say other networks are interested - is there any way it could move to a different network? (Or another miracle case like FNL?) Because I can't see how it could survive on the failing NBC unless it gets a huge ratings bump.

It's a Warner production, but not a good fit demographically for the CW (IMO). The closest I can think of for a tie-in would be "24" or one of the proceduracronyms (my term for CSI/NCIS and their spinoffs).

Mrglass said...

The problem was that President Obama's speech pre-empted the next episode, and all that momentum was lost

At least we know who to blame if 'Chuck' is canceled!

Medrawt said...

Sometimes I drop variations of this comment on various TV-ish blogs, hoping for an explanation -

Doesn't NBC more or less own USA? And hasn't USA proven that it's perfectly capable of turning out programming that, by cable standards, does quite well and which I assume turns a profit?

So what prevents NBC from, more or less, producing USA shows for NBC? If the purpose is to turn a profit, period, then even accepting that a show like Burn Notice will never have the audience that ER had, it doesn't have to because it costs a lot less? Is it a pride thing vs. the other networks? Or is it that there's some baseline where if a show isn't generating as much ad revenue as you'd get from a rerun of Law and Order it's not worth running it in the first place?

Basically, I'm wondering why there doesn't seem to be a TV analog of the logic that's driven Kevin Smith's career: he doesn't need his films to gross a lot of money because when you make a movie for $20 million (or $15 million, or $250K) and then it goes out and does $35 million worth of business, you've justified your next movie. He's a very very small investment, but almost always a profitable one, which is more than can be said for lots of bigger budget productions.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Medrawt, the very short answer is that NBC and USA are forced by necessity to operate on different business models. Cable channels like USA have dual revenue streams, getting money from both advertisers and from cable companies that pay to carry the channel, where NBC only gets money from advertisers. So they need to get higher ratings than USA does.

Lisa said...

Alan, you cover the industry. We don't. So your knowledge of the promotional landscape adds quite a bit of weight to the "leave it in March" argument. However, let me throw this in. If NBC is sold, I'm not sure how long it would take to close or what that would mean for programming, but I wonder if it makes sense to give Chuck a fall start just so it's on the schedule when the network changes hands. If it's making decent numbers, would a new buyer/management be more or less likely to bounce it?

Nikki said...

Thank you Mr.Sepinwall for finally posting something on this bit of news. As much as I want Chuck back asap, I really want nbc to ask someone more wise than themselves the best thing to do with Chuck. I just hope when it does air we get to see all 13 eps, because if not I'm going to have to come up with a legal way to physically show nbc what i think of all their recent shenanigans (canceling Life and airing Leno in prime time)

Dave Sandell said...

I'm very torn, and really just want whatever scenario gives us the best chance for more Chuck episodes longterm. Whether that's bringing it back now where 22 are more likely, or bringing it back post-Olympics where season 4 is more likely. It's annoying waiting for my three favorite shows to return (Chuck, Lost & FNL), so I'm anxious to get started, but agree that NBC has nothing to leverage.

Of course, fans do. But my big problem is that while I've talked at least a dozen people into giving Chuck a chance, I want to show them season 2, not season 1. And for whatever reason, it's not scheduled to come out on DVD until 2010 last I heard.

I think it will be hard for people to jump right into season 3 without at least a little background. So I guess I wish they'd get the set on the shelves already, or drop the price of the Amazon VOD & iTunes VOD prices (for HD, please) and/or stick them all up on Hulu, or at least a wise selection (instead of simply the back 9 or whatever).

Chuck S3 can probably be great from day one for a new viewer, but I don't understand the logic behind waiting until right before the season premieres, when there's 22 hours to get through, and, quite frankly, for better or worse, multiple friends to pass the set around to.

Also, Alan, remember to plug the heck out of Chuck when you go on the BS Report to recap the season finale of Mad Men.

Alyson said...

Stepping away from the specific problem of Chuck for a moment, the complete implosion of NBC's ability to develop and appropriately market quality programming (at least at the hourlong level) fascinates me. Someone should write a book about it. :)

David J. Loehr said...

As much as I hate reality shows, I'd say the only real chance NBC has right now with Chuck would be if they split The Biggest Loser into two separate hours per week, then put Chuck on Tuesdays at 9pm. Then, they'd spread the BL love to a second timeslot, they'd be able to use their only worthwhile lead-in, it might just work.

That said, they'll never do it. Chuck probably wouldn't do any better against NCIS:LL, and they're probably happy with their two-hour block of BL as it is.

Having done their best impression of Sherman's march through Georgia in a network broadcasting context, it's time for NBC to clean house, find people with ideas and start fresh.

renton said...

David, count me in that group. After all of the Sepin-love, I finally decided to watch season 1 and was counting on watching season 2 on DVD before the third one started.

Unless they move up the date of season 2 (or use one of those other options), an early return for Chuck will do nothing for me.

PragmaticOptimist said...

Doesn't matter when Chuck comes back, it's a dead show walking.

Schwartz & Fedak did a surprisingly solid job of fracturing the fanbase with promises of more WT/WT and love-geometric shapes.

Put it on right now and its ratings will not justify a back 9 or season 4.

Put it on in the Spring when the audience as a whole is lessened and watch the demo numbers hover around the CW level.

Promote the show? The Winger Olympics is the ONLY venue. Attempting to promote Chuck during the broadcast of its other shows is like standing in the desert and shouting that you have clay pottery for sale.

Forget the benefit of promotion options by bringing Chuck back in the Spring. Both NBC and Schwartz have already given up on any Chuck promotions.

NBC was going to produce cheap & short webisodes to tide fans over the winter hiatus. Never happened.

The ChuckMeOut website was supposed to create a better link between the show's cast & crew and its fans. Their big website idea is a dead dud. Their weekly polls stagnate there for months and the fans never know the final results.

The official website's Twitter is being run by mediocre fans who post about all kinds of non-Chuck promotional things, including the sideways promotions of other shows airing on other networks.

NBC and Schwartz clearly aren't concerned about stirring up interest during its hiatus.

Heck, you've got Alison Adler actually Tweeting how fans should ignore the show's official forums, due to the fans' concerns about how the Charah relationship seems headed to a repeat fumble.

Bottom line, Alan. Doesn't matter when Chuck is brought back. 13 episodes is the maximum left of this series. And if the demo numbers drop below 2.0 for more than 3 episodes, count on NBC pulling the plug early and airing the remaining eps out of order as filler during the summer months of 2010.

Chuck is literally Ben Silverman's last scripted disaster for NBC. Angela Bromstad continues to suffer the backlash from picking Mercy, Trauma and such from Ben's bucket list of bad ideas. Come this spring, do you REALLY think she or Gaspin will have any tolerance for Chuck's numbers?

Here's a hint of how Chuck is secretly viewed at NBC. After Comic-Con and a few interviews afterwards, the entire Chuck team has been super quiet on any more anti-Charah plots. Guess who nearer the top called Schwartz and informed him to either cease intentionally agitating the show's remaining fans or cease production?

Optimism is great, Alan. I love it. But the rose-colored glasses for this show have to come off once in a while.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Guess who nearer the top called Schwartz and informed him to either cease intentionally agitating the show's remaining fans or cease production?

If you honestly think anyone at NBC either knows or cares what some small but loud subset of Chuck fandom thinks about the Chuck/Sarah 'ship - and cares enough to tell Schwartz to stop talking about it - then you're paying attention to a very different industry than the one I am.

Schwartz and Fedak aren't doing any promotion now because there's nothing to promote. No money for webisodes, and at the moment the show isn't coming back for another five months.

Like I said in the post, I'm not expecting the show to have a fourth season. I'm just looking forward to its third season airing under the best circumstances possible.

Pamela Jaye said...

preceduracronyms. love it.
I see tonight there will be NCIS and 90210
(and NCIS:LA but of course they have to spell out Los Angeles, which nobody does in real life, so as to avoid sounding as acronymy as they are)

captcha: propane

PragmaticOptimist said...

So you believe that the sudden reversal of 'teasing' fans about other romantic interests into a virtual stone wall of silence by everyone involved was entirely internal?

Are you suggesting that Schwartz or Fedak themselves made the decision?

Yes, you and I are clearly in two different industries.

Alan Sepinwall said...

So you believe that the sudden reversal of 'teasing' fans about other romantic interests into a virtual stone wall of silence by everyone involved was entirely internal?

I believe that no one at NBC gives two figs about whether the main characters on one of its lowest-rated series do or do not hook up, nor whether public statements by the show's creator is angering the subset of that low-rated show's fandom whose entire enjoyment seems to derive from whether or not said hook-up takes place.

Schwartz hasn't said anything post-ComicCon because there's nothing to say. Show ain't coming on the air for months, no public events, nothing to promote. A slow but steady trickle of news has come out about guest stars, but beyond that, what would there be for anyone working on the show to say?

It's Occam's Razor, not a conspiracy to placate and/or piss off the Charah fans.

DB said...

While i agree that Chuck should return in March, i don't think the promo push during the olympics will help. olympics summer games was huge for NBC, and even with all the promos, and the superbowl, they are still a mess. Chuck got a third season basically because NBC didn't pick up that David E Kelly show from Warner Bros. So unless miracle happens, I really doubt we'll get a forth season, especially considering the state that NBC is in right now. it's depressing.

dez said...

And, gosh, is Heroes still on? Please tell me this is their last season.

Quite possibly if Kring doesn't get over his man-crush on Zachary Quinto. Sylar is eating the show alive. Bah.

As long as Chuck comes back for any eps, I'll be a happy camper. Some Chuck is better than none!

Dave Sandell said...

All that being said, if all we get is 13 more episodes, I do hope at least a couple of those are spent with Chuck & Sarah together at last. Seems to me that there's plenty of comedy and drama to be had by them having to keep their real relationship a secret while they get to have their fake relationship out in the open, in the case that they get a (apparently) miraculous season 4.

PragmaticOptimist said...

I believe that no one at NBC gives two figs about whether the main characters on one of its lowest-rated series do or do not hook up, nor whether public statements by the show's creator is angering the subset of that low-rated show's fandom whose entire enjoyment seems to derive from whether or not said hook-up takes place.

Point taken, sir.

Jordan said...

I agree with Dave. But here's my idea...why not bring Chuck back soon but get NBC to sign an agreement with Warner Brothers or whoever they need to saying that they won't cancel Chuck based on the ratings until they have properly promoted it at the Olympics as planned as well as doing some promotion now? That would give NBC a more established show instead of the horrible ratings they're getting with practically all their new shows and would give the fans something to watch as well as time to spread by word of mouth that the show is on and what it is about as well as by official advertising. It seems like the best of both worlds to me for both NBC and the fans.

Pamela Jaye said...

Darn it! NBC finally started airing Season 2 on their website, albeit in 5 episode chunks. Ans I really can't tell you whether they are currently in chunk #1 or chunk #2.

If I had a batch of friends to indoctrinate, I'd make DVDs from my DVR (but I don't)

Pamela Jaye said...

I dropped by NBC recently, to watch Mercy (a show I'd gladly donate the timeslot of to Chuck) and found that their latest ad campaign seems to be NBC: It's in color.

Welcome to 1966!

Maybe they can re-use ABC's TV is Good campaign.
(when was that?)

Also, how odd is it that the best comedy Emmys are going to NBC (are they?) for 30 Rock.(and maybe the Office)

I recorded that SNL Thursday thing (was that once or twice?) but haven't watched it yet.

At this point I'm almost sure I spend more time on the internet talking about TV than actually watching it.

Unknown said...

I say bring it back. Current hour-long shows are junky right now, especially new ones (Flash Forward is still worth investing in).

I think a one month marketing blitz leading up to dropping in Chuck would work almost as well as an olympics campaign. Let's let Bartowski host a Thursday night NBC lineup in full force (Office,30Rock, P&R, Community), maybe even two Thursdays in a row. Let him charm their pants off. I'd say they'd be hitting the right market, and with a good amount of force.

Problem is putting new people on board serial shows. They need to create a "2 season recap and season 3 preview" that can fit into a commercial break. Show it a few times over 3 weeks. Preview it during the first few breaks of Thursday night, then have Chuck introduce it in the middle of The Office. Then, 3 minutes later, millions of people are caught up and excited to watch the new season, and they even never knew what Chuck was really about and that they'd probably love it.

All serial shows coming into a new season should make an effort to get potential new viewers feeling like they won't be out of the loop if they jump in at this point. This seems to be the biggest hurdle for struggling serials, but I don't see much effort directed at the problem.

I hear good things about Sons of Anarchy, but I'm not gonna jump in at Season 2 without watching Season 1. I don't want to enjoy it less than the Season 1 viewers who know more about the characters and backstories than I do. I'd be a less than informed fan. My opinions/predictions/criticisms would be worthless. Most people feel like this, although maybe not to the degree I do (I'm sure Sepin does).

Remember when Sopranos had whole season recaps available online and on demand? It was like a few minutes and simple and it worked. Mostly b/c the show could sell itself - b/c it was awesome (most of it).

A compressed recap of action-packed, funny, dorky Chuck seasons would work really well to show how great the show is. A creative marketing campaign seems unnecessary.

In summary, bring it back, promote it heavily for a month first, use your best asset (Thursday night) to promote it to the right people, and somehow allow new viewers or people who abandoned the show to get on board without much effort.

Pamela Jaye said...

and how long does it take to get DVDs released? We know they are done, but that have to be transported to stores and added into weekly store flyers that are done how far in advance? (I don't know and I want to)

btw, fans are doing Mad Men Sock Puppet Theater on Twitter. No Chuck...

TV Obsessed said...

I had a blog post about the same topic. There are very limited options to place Chuck. Realistically the only shows it could replace are Trauma and Mercy, and Mercy is doing okay. If it takes Trauma's slot, Chuck will still be against stiff competition as it was last year.

The only way I could envision Chuck succeeding in October or November is if it took the Wednesday 8 PM slot from Mercy which has much less competition than Trauma. Even so, a miracle would have to happen for Chuck to get a back 9. It's ratings would have to be a large improvement from last year's, and after all the promotion last year that resulted in no improvement, NBC could not in a month push Chuck close to 3.0.

Now that also makes the Winter Olympics unlikely to help Chuck even with heavy promotion, but it would be better than anything NBC could do in a month. As much as I wish Chuck will get a fourth season, I don't think it will. A fourth season is the ultimate goal, and if waiting until March will give us the best chance, than so be it.

More thoughts on my blog

David said...

From Ausiello "NBC insiders who’ve seen the first four episodes are calling this season the best yet."

Put me in the sooner the better camp. If it remains great and/or gets better, and people still don't watch, then that is probably that.

PragmaticOptimist said...

Well, Alan. It seems that at least one executive producer on Chuck is hoping for an early start. Ali Adler on Twitter...


Either way, look for NBC's fall lineup for 2010 to look very different from the current one (except Leno will still be there).

Instead of letting the show die in obscurity next spring/summer, I'd rather bid farewell to Chuck this fall and look forward to J.J. Abrams' new spy comedy/action/drama starting next fall. J.J.'s project could be what Chuck should have been, fun show without teen angst and without 10+ minutes of Buy More filler because they can't write well enough to fill all 42 without it.

matt S. said...

I've got faith that Chuck will live to see a 4th season. It helps that Warner Bros also produces such hit shows as 2 and A Half men and the Big Bang Theory and The Mentalist too! oh crap warner bros doesn't produce ANYTHING ELSE for NBC! In fact I don't think ANY company that's not NBC/Universal produces any shows for NBC anymore----that may be the real reason why Southland was dumped by the way...ditto My Name is Earl which was made for them by Fox.

So basically I now have no faith that Chuck will live to see a 4th year---and yet I utterly refuse to give up hope. They've tied it to Heroes for such a long time now that I honestly get the feeling that if Heroes comes back for a 5th year (likely cause despite ratings drops this year---NBC Universal will still want to get them near or past 100 eps which would mean one more season at least.) then Chuck will stand to benefit. (Hey at least its a good solid practical use of heroes!)

Unknown said...

With the way NBC is ran right now, they will completely botch this show. I love Chuck but the network is inept.

lilyxt said...

I say now, mainly because I am impatient. Any, and I mean, any, show NBC places in its Monday's slots is going to get a low rating. I wouldn't expect Chuck to do better than Trauma, so I don't see it as ideal. But Monday is the plan in March anyway, so I don't see that as huge help. Sure the Olympics are a great promotional tool, and yes, the Super Bowl helped Chuck for one episode, but that was squandered by putting a mediocre 3D episode on which failed to connect with new viewers or even excite die-hards.

My main hope, although, a thin hope, is for more episodes. I only see that possibility happening if Chuck airs soon in the fall. I don't think you can extend the order for a low rated show based on quality of episodes un-aired. That is what they did last year, but I can't see that happening again. That would happen only with some decent ratings or some miracle like FNL gets with DirecTV.

I guess I am hoping for something along the lines of "The Office". Starts slow, builds up a core decent sized audience (but in no way large audience) because it improves so much and the media pushes it out there. Harder for Chuck though, because I think the premise of the series is sooooo hard to sell to newbies. I just love my Chuck though and will take it any way I can get it. Keeping fingers crossed.

lilyxt said...

Oh, and when it does get canceled, many, many, many season from now :)...I just hope I get to see these actors in some more wonderful projects. The sad thing is you won't get to see them acting together - its really all that chemistry that makes the show for me. Hopefully, their talent will keep them working, along with some good luck and hard work.

tintin said...

Alan, I'm not getting something. Do you think Chuck's audience will shrink for S3? Because i've read articles that point to Chuck just holding on to their numbers from S2 and making it with no problem. I mean, NBC don't have much in the bag do they?

So what am I missing because you keep saying that you don't expect them to have a S4?

Alan Sepinwall said...

Do you think Chuck's audience will shrink for S3?

Given the way that most of network television is trending downward with its audience size, that is entirely possible, yes.

OldDarth said...

"I'd rather bid farewell to Chuck this fall and look forward to J.J. Abrams' new spy comedy/action/drama starting next fall. J.J.'s project could be what Chuck should have been, fun show without teen angst and without 10+ minutes of Buy More filler because they can't write well enough to fill all 42 without it."

No surprise to see the shippers oiling their guns already with such an adsurb comparison. That's is like comparing two love songs.

Or 2 shows within the same genre.

PragmaticOptimist said...

Atta boy, OldDarth!

Keep driving a wedge between the show's shippers and "real" fans such as yourself.

Oh, but you have invested a tremendous amount of time and energy creating images, audio, video, articles, posts, etc. for this show. Not that your desire in seeing this show succeed is in anyway tied to your clearly vested interest in it.

But as a "true" fan of the show, do you honestly feel that antagonizing a percentage of the already tiny and shrinking fanbase is a good idea, or a bad idea?

I don't know. Seems to me that if you were serious about keeping Chuck alive beyond season 3 that you'd take a more active role in smoothing the fractured relations instead of dismissing them.

Personally, I haven't been a shipper of this show since the ridiculous Jill arc, and the teen angst overrides other aspects by too large of a degree for myself, and (according to fan sites everywhere) I'm not the only one.

How does teen angst work? Well, Josh's other project Gossip Girl is also in the toilet. And that show is geared for angst-loving teens. Chuck's core demo is quite different.

I used to love this show. Own the S1 DVDs. Jill arc + Cole arc + The Ring episode showing Sarah turn Chuck down go play with Bryce at Ellie's wedding has guaranteed I will not buy the S2 DVDs. Combined with the S3 leaks from the showrunners, I will not be watching S3 until after all of these pathetically weak and trite 'other love interests' is over and done with. If that never happens, then like many others, "The Colonel" will be the last episode of the entire series. Just as Josh & Chris have stated could happen to many of the show's fans, even before Colonel aired.

If I want to experience the 'entertainment' of some poor, dim-witted, love-staved nerd getting continuously turned down and kneed in the family jewels every time the apple-of-his-eye has an emotional glitch, I'd just slam my head in a car door a few times. That way I get all of the same joy, but it's over much, much more quickly.

After Chuck has gone the way of papyrus paper, will you, OldDarth, be creating videos & podcasts for Abram's new spy show on NBC next fall? Or is it "Chuck or bust" for you & the gang over at ChuckTV?

Alan Sepinwall said...

Okey-doke... To quote the great John Munch... girls, girls, you're both pretty!

Everybody take a step back, exhale, and try to talk about Chuck without talking about each other, okay? If not, you know how this particular song and dance goes, based on the commenting rules, right?

PragmaticOptimist said...

@ tintin

If Chuck can retain the same numbers it had near the end of S2, it could get a back 9 and a S4. However, if the numbers remain at or below the overall S2 average, it's very unlikely Chuck will live past the next 13 eps. Ben Silverman is gone and those now in charge have said repeatedly that ratings will take a higher priority. Angela Bromstad picked out Chuck specifically when she'd made such statements.


There's your view into the future of this show, straight from NBC's President of Primetime Entertainment.

OldDarth said...

Hear, hear Alan.

I rest my case.

Pamela Jaye said...

Darn it, Alan! $%#%$^@#@ rules.
Grumble Grumble. (needs a kleenex for the effects of biting my tongue) I did go and reread #1.

I think it is more helpful to engender unity among the fans, myself. If you want to lead an effort, lead people, then lead.

I've separated most of my everpresent parentheticals into paragraphs, so that can be more easily skipped over. (if that's still too hard to follow, I may resort to footnotes)

As for teen angst, I don't know.
I've been enjoying the show all the way through and I'm not a 'shipper.
If Chuck was being embarrassed romantically, repeatedly, I'd know, as Baylink would be cringing in his chair or running from the room. (as he has during Good Morning Miami and other shows he also actually liked but just couldn't endure. maybe it's a guy thing?)

I love the show, with or without shippers. And I love how the fans got together and gave everything they could give to save it.
Alas, last Monday night, I couldn't give 3 hours. I had other things to watch.

(and now I'm gonna have to play catchup, to get back into the ChuckMeMondays swing. Funny thing, though - Monday wasn't quite as much *fun* without an ep of Chuck. still, I'd prefer NBC to air the show Wednesdays)

Also, as a non-spy genre watching person who also apparently missed a batch of great 80s movies, I know that I wouldn't love the show as much as I do, without reviews and comments by Alan and the gang: I would totally miss parody/homage to many things, and honestly, I wouldn't notice great acting by Zach and Yvonne cause I never notice great acting

(I figure, if it's great, I shouldn't notice it's acting, but when someone points it out to me, as with the commentary on the Grey's Anatomy pilot re: Ellis' Alzheimers and Mer's realization of the patient's problem, it's awesome.)

Pamela Jaye said...

cont'd cause Blogger griped.

A friend commented recently that Mad Men was slow. I suggested she read the reviews here. (I was out on that week with Connie. was that Emmy week?)

Anyway, as I meant to say yesterday, I was hoping for a comment here, when I heard the potential return "news," as several fans - most importantly Wendy Farrington - seemed not thrilled, and I don't have enough knowledge of the general audience's approach to viewing

(i'm a *fan*, I watch TV quite deliberately, and I've forgotten what it was like when I did not - except for the many shows that I never remember seeing more than a couple of episodes of (for some reason), the people who wrote me in February to ask "what happened to Mr & Mrs Smith" (it was surreptitiously canceled in November, and you just noticed))

and the amount of publicity needed to relaunch a show in the middle of the fall on a network that nobody watches anymore

(I once tried to save a show on UPN. Unlike some, I started before the word cancellation was used and I stopped when the show was actually canceled. Oddly, when the airs in reruns, my roomie watches it and I don't.)

I just don't know enough to know whether it would be a good thing, whether November would be possibly better, or whether we should wait till March when everyone has forgotten the show.
What about January, when viewers are *expecting* new midseason replacement shows (or *is* that March?)? Or at the very least, viewers are hungry for new things to watch as their favorite shows are only airing two eps between the second week of December and February sweeps? Wen are the Olympics anyway, and how much *do* they change the landscape to TV viewing?

And are there any "watched" shows on NBC besides 30 Rock and The Office? Yesterday, I watched Jon Hamm talking about how much of an impact appearing on SNL had for an actor in a show "on a network that everyone thought ran old movies" - that's an approximate quote, from TV Guide channel's Infanity on Mad Men. So it seems a lot of people watch SNL (although it rarely seems funny to me) still.

Does Syfy also belong to NBC? I've lost track. I only ask on the thought that no one watches NBC to see its on air promo, perhaps it can also promo on networks it owns (Fridays, for example, Syfy has better ratings than Fox, though I don't know it that matters.)

So those are the kinds of questions I had (and some I still have) re: the timing of the re-entry of Chuck.

Pamela Jaye said...

Also, re: the Smoot's idea - would NBC be willing to give up prime advertising space on Thursday, or is there space reserved for network promo-ing that *could* be used, without losing advertiser revenue.

cause it seems a good idea otherwise

OldDarth said...

Pamela - yours was an interesting and fresh perspective. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

7s Tim said...

I like the show bunches and kinda want to see it in as close to a straight shot as possible, without pesky things like thanksgiving and winter breaks getting in the way of momentum (let alone obama), so my vote (which I know doesn't count) is for waiting.

Maybe I'm not that much of a fan though... I really don't care if Chuck and Sarah get together or not. I think there will be funny and actiony parts to the show regardless. And I think the crew at the Buy More and their antics aren't filler-- they are a part of the show. They aren't like little red headed Sam or Oliver-- they weren't added to distract the audience with something shiny and new.
That's what Scott Bakula was.

I think giving them time to prep and promote a complete, albeit short, season 3 will be the best thing for the show, both creatively and for the possible longevity of the series. I'd be fine with a 13 episode season for Chuck every spring. happier with a 15-17 episode spring, but whatevs.

Although it would be smart to get the DVDs out in time for the winter holidays. I know I'd ask for it for Pearl Harbor day.

PragmaticOptimist said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Alan Sepinwall said...

Okay, PragmaticOptimist, thanks for playing, but since you can't follow Rule #1 and be respectful of the other posters, I'm going to ask you to leave, and not come back.

Pamela Jaye said...

somewhat in reply to 7s Tim.

I'm not only not a 'shipper (the last ship I was in favor of would probably have been Ally McBeal/John Cage) but cannot see Chuck and Sarah being together, as she is a "spy" and he doesn't even know her real name. I'm also not clear on whether, given things that she must know, she can actually "retire" from being a spy. If she could, she would have to, before she could be with Chuck (if he was to also become a spy, wouldn't they be frequently being reassigned?)

As for the Buy More crew, I preferred season 1 when there were Buy More scenes but they featured Chuck, as the head of the Nerd Herd. By season 2 I'd *forgotten* he was head Nerd and thought he was just one of the Herd. I miss seeing him in that element where he was extremely capable and in charge.

As for "look! shiny things" - Scott can be one any day (and I hope the show is around long enough for him to recur) but it was very weird for me - this is the first time he's been in a show I really loved (I didn't Really Love Boston Legal) and it was odd for me - between seeing him, I'd forget he was there and get caught up in the danger my characters were in and then he'd show up again and I was like "oh right, Scott's in this!" Translation: the eps themselves were, to me,a Chuck fan, exciting enough to make me (a Scott fan) forget that Scott was in them.
That's new for me. Must be a good show :-)

Nikki said...

Thanks for getting rid of pragmatic optimist.

Pamela Jaye I also like the points you make. I'll take Chuck and the gang anyway I can get them.

7s Tim said...

Pamela Jaye-- most of "in defense of the Buy More" comments were instigated by Pragmatic Optimist referring to them as filler to pad the show to 42 minutes. I just didn't get how he or she was so invested in the show (hence the obvious zeal on this comments section) and yet viewed hem as such a distraction.

and I wasn't busting chops about Bakula, since I thoroughly enjoyed his presence in this series, he just fit for the joke there. Could have used Chevy Chase too, same thing.

OldDarth said...

Pamela did you ever see Scott in Quantum Leap? A show that is very much a spiritual ancestor to Chuck which made his casting so delicious.

Pamela Jaye said...

Pamela did you ever see Scott in Quantum Leap?

this is the news page to my website (loosely so called)

and here is a picture of me from 2005

Did you ever see Scott in Eisenhower & Lutz? (my feeling: It was better than Gung Ho and somewhat less fun than Mr. & Mrs. Smith)

btw, Darth, on twitter, I'm @snuggleduck
(for people who find this odd, it's "my duck's twitter account" cause my duck actually twitters. I thought it was appropriate at the time, but I got bored with making duck status updates and ending up using it as my main account. You will still see "is preening" now and then.)

(for those who think I'm truly weird - Snuggles is pretty much my first pet.)

Pamela Jaye said...

was that overkill?

Ernst2k said...

Ben Silverman is gone and those now in charge have said repeatedly that ratings will take a higher priority. Angela Bromstad picked out Chuck specifically when she'd made such statements.


There's your view into the future of this show, straight from NBC's President of Primetime Entertainment.

That link is from an article dated Jan 15, 2009. A little outdated to be relevant here. I know Optimist is already gone, but come on... That link refers to Chuck's ratings during LAST SEASON!

Pamela Jaye said...

I read it too. and PO said that

Ben Silverman is gone and those now in charge have said repeatedly that ratings will take a higher priority. Angela Bromstad picked out Chuck specifically when she'd made such statements.

but I didn't see that in the article - I saw her mention ratings AND quality.

One thing I did read recently though was that Chuck was one of the few shows left that was, in some way, Silverman's - and that NBC wanted to get rid of Silverman's "trash" (though I think that was just someone's opinion). That concerned me. I would hope they wouldn't ditch a quality show just to wipe a foul taste from their mouths.

My friend and her whole family (husband and teen boys) sat down together to watch Chuck. This is something that her family *never* did. The kids were home, but everyone usually did their own thing. In a small house, it was controlled chaos. But for Chuck, they all stopped and watched and shared.

Kent said...

For me, Chuck and The Office are the only appointment shows on TV these days that I sit down and sit through commercials for. Well, I should probably add Community because I've been sure to catch it every week since it's the same night as TO and I have thoroughly enjoyed it. I'm not looking to miss an episode any time soon. Anyway, Chuck is my favorite show on TV right now because it's well made and, most importantly, 100% fun without succumbing to being a guilty pleasure. Burn Notice is the same way (which is why it bugs me that there is a certain percentage of the viewing audience I've seen online that has erupted in a Chuck vs. Weston war that boggles the mind in its idiocy.) I've tried to get a lot of people into Chuck, but it seems like every way I turn, I'm kept from doing so. First, it was the writers' strike that hobbled the promising first season. The latest issue is the lack of DVDs from the fantastic second season that I could be using right now to convert people into rabid fans. I was able to get a half-dozen people hooked on Buffy because of my DVD library (who in turn have converted at least a couple of dozen folks... there's a reason they call it a cult hit...) and I know Chuck could be the same way if I could sit my friends down and have them watch Chuck vs. Tom Sawyer. It just feels like Chuck has had everything go against it and I wish one thing could go right for it.

OldDarth said...

D'oh! Colour me red!

Re - Scott Bakula.

"Did you ever see Scott in Eisenhower & Lutz? (my feeling: It was better than Gung Ho and somewhat less fun than Mr. & Mrs. Smith)" No I did not sadly.

I have followed you on twitter.



OldDarth said...

D'oh again - was responding to PamelaJayne.

Pamela Jaye said...

Old Darth - if I was Pamela Jayne, i wouldn't be almost unique. ;-)
With Eisenhower & Lutz, you didn't miss much. I'm more sad about Mr. & Mrs. Smith - and every time I watch Chuck, I get sadder. It should have been far closer to what Chuck is (spy-wise, 'ship-wise, but it wasn't)
my fellow fans would shoot me for saying so, but watching that Chuck ep in the Suburbs - major flashbacks. (I guess that all spy shows/movies have Suburban plotline sooner or later?)

So, you aren't the same Darth as on one of the Chuck sites or the ChuckMeMondays blog? (I love Chuck, but I love other shows too - there's not enough time)

Robert Brill said...

I think the Super Bowl bump was less about the 3d gag, and more about the fans being interested in the aftermath of Santa Klaus, together with the famous promo of Yvonne crawling all over Chuck, together with the Bus being in it etc.

The Olympics have been declining in ratings every Olympiad anyway.

The issue is for it to go on in a slot where the competition is less fierce, unless NBC has accepted lesser relative numbers anyway, which would make sense since nothing else on the network is necessarily destined to do any better in that slot. But, I think it could go on in November on a different night, so long as it got its 22 eps.

Alan, why so pessimistic though that, regardless this would be the last season but for ratings. There is nothing on NBC now anyway. So if Chuck pulls the same numbers as last year it would be one of NBC's best performing shows.

W Gladstone said...

On the DVD front I know Chuck Season 2 DVD is out in the UK despite the fact that the season 2 is still being shown on TV (Chuck V The Dream Job was last episode). So I find it strange that it is not available in the US. Surely they can release the DVD pretty quickly in that case.

On another note Virgin which is showing Chuck in the UK has signed up for both Season 3, & if it is made Season 4.

OldDarth said...

Ooops sorry again Pamela Jaye! No I am not the Darth of CMM. I am of the Darth associated with ChuckTV though.

Pamela Jaye said...

Wow. Too many Darths! Good to know though. :-)

OldDarth said...

Never a dearth of Darths. ;)