Thursday, November 19, 2009

Chuck returns Jan. 10, take two: Chris Fedak speaks

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.

Oh, right.

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.


Unknown said...

'nough said

Anonymous said...

Yes! Great news about "Chuck" *and* a random "Spies Like Us" clip.

LyddieGal said...

Yes! Chuck! I can't wait. It's the one 8pm show I always remember is on.

Speaking of which, if I don't turn on the tv now to watch Community, it will be 8:25 before I remember it's on, again.

But, oh so excited for new Chuck!

J said...

"It's kind of strange to be making a television show and not having anybody watching it."

[uncomfortable silence]

GabbyD said...


Anonymous said...

It was great to see a "Chuck is back in January" promo during the office. New footage and all!

Karen said...

I feel like I must be watching it enough for everybody.

Gosh, I can't wait. January seemed near before this news.

RSR said...

It seems here that Fedak says "Chuck" will be breaking for the Olympics, but I've seen in a few other places that they will be running through the you know what will be going on with that?

Great interview! Can't wait for January!

Build A Better Fan said...

Yeah, Mo Ryan had a source who said that Chuck would be playing during the Olympics, which sounded amazing (but too good to be true). I brought it up at TVBTN and in the comments of her article, and Robert at TVBTN emailed her about it to verify, so she double-checked. After a very short time, she updated and said her source had been wrong: Chuck will be on hiatus during the Olympics.

But hey, at least it comes back immediately after the Olympics end.

OldDarth said...

Only one word to describe the news.


Robert said...

They need to bump up the DVD release of S2 a couple weeks so I can catch up.

Lisa said...

WOO! Plus, the clip was great. This makes me very happy.

belinda said...

Thanks for the interview.

And, big squee! I've missed Chuck!

Matter-Eater Lad said...

Help me out: By many accounts, Chuck sounds like the kind of show I'd like, except that every time I see a picture of Zachary Levi I hope someone will punch him in the head. Is that an insurmountable barrier to enjoying the show?

Anonymous said...

Chuck Season 3 Promo for those who haven't seen it.

(Actual new scenes! Not really anything spoiler-ish except for brand new viewers).

ellen said...

Isn't January 10 a Sunday? I only know this because it's my birthday - what a great birthday present :o)

DavidL said...

Yes it is. That's a two-hour premiere on Sunday night, and then a regular episode the next day. Happy birthday indeed.