Bubble Watch 2011: CHUCK

In accordance with our recent conversation with a highly-placed executive at one of the big four networks, theTVaddict.com kicks off our “Bubble Watch 2011” with a closer look at CHUCK’s chances for a fifth (and possibly final) season.

Ratings: With its unique blend of humorous and heartfelt moments, CHUCK is a lot of things. Unfortunately, much to the chagrin of the show’s 5-6 million very loyal viewers, a ratings juggernaut it is not it. Luckily, what it lacks in ratings, it more than make up for in cost-effectiveness. Which brings us to…

Cost: As a result of what has reportedly been a very favorable license fee on behalf of producing partner Warner Bros. Television (WBTV), the series costs NBC, relatively speaking of course, next to nothing. Which, in addition to the network’s inexplicable inability to develop any hour-longs worth watching over the course of the past few seasons (with the notable exception of PARENTHOOD), is one of the primary reasons CHUCK has survived as long as it has.


What’s in the Pipeline: Since getting approval from the FCC, NBC Universal parent company Comcast has wasted little time in cleaning house. That said, where things get really ugly for CHUCK fans is that in an effort to bring back the lustre to the once proud Peacock Network, newly-appointed Primetime President Richard Greenblatt’s number one priority is going to be lifting NBC out of the ratings cellar. And the easiest way to go about doing that is by green lighting a slew of incredibly high profile projects including reboots of WONDER WOMAN and PRIME SUSPECT, a Ron Moore Police Drama, and a period piece entitled PLAYBOY, among others.

Trends: Another major factor not in CHUCK’s favor is that NBC’s research department has four solid seasons of data clearly illustrating that no amount of Subway buying or groundswell of fan support can overcome the undeniable fact that CHUCK’s ratings have all but flatlined.

The X Factor:In an effort to end this dire post on a somewhat positive note, CHUCK fans should keep two things in mind. Firstly, if we had a dime for every high profile pilot that was put into production only to not make it to series, we’d probably be writing this post from a beautiful beachfront property somewhere on the Pacific! And two, never underestimate the power of Warner Bros. Television. Or to be more specific, WBTV’s ability to coerce NBC into renewing a series that is remarkably close to the magic syndication number of 100 episodes — by tying CHUCK’s fate to a far more valuable asset currently in production (like say, WONDER WOMAN.)

Prediction: If we were a betting blogger, we would recommend that Jeffster! best be putting the finishing touches on their swan song.

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  • bws

    It seems that NBC has a few too many high profile pilots in work that will likely push Chuck out. I enjoy Chuck but it’s one the shows that typically piles up on my DVR. And it has been given a 2nd and 3rd chance already with no improvement. I agree, TVA, it’s the end for Chuck.

  • Anonymous

    I’m hopeful that NBC will at least bring Chuck back for midseason. Honestly, do you really think they can launch a bunch of successful new series? Can they even get a couple? Shows like Undercovers and The Event had tons of name recognition and solid ratings at the start, but in the end they went on to get even lower ratings than Chuck.

  • Josh,
    While a part of me really wanted to take the easy way out and award CHUCK a 13 episode mid-season pick up, I really feel that NBC’s new President wants a clean slate and CHUCK is such a remnant of the old regime.

  • Ace

    They would be very smart to pick it up for 13 episodes again. They have had a horrible track record with new shows and at least they would have something in the can that they knew would get about average ratings for the network. And syndication has been a little looser with the 100 episode benchmark for the last few years. That being said, we’ve gotten the show a lot longer than I thought we would and I wouldn’t be as heartbroken for it to end as I would have been 2 years ago.

  • bws

    Even though NBC’s track record of launching new shows is not very good, at this point, you could replace Chuck with almost any other show, except The Cape, and it would do as well or better. Yes, there are x-factors (which may be trademarked as a phrase by now) but that won’t be enough to save Chuck this go around. But still, I think it’s great that it was able to hold on this long largely through grass roots support.

  • kevin

    this has been an issue with chuck like every year since it started. the last two years i think it only got like a 13 episode pick up, and then it was picked up for like 6 additional episodes for each season, or something like that. i think/hope it’ll be back. but if not, they’ve at least resolved all the major running plot points, so i wouldn’t be incredibly angry.

  • I’m sorry, but Chuck needs to get canceled. The series had a few great opportunities to end gracefully, but opted not to and degraded significantly. Season 4 has been a tragic, ugly mess. It has gone from the show I looked forward to most week over week to the one I watch only as a last resort.

  • I’m sorry, but Chuck needs to get canceled. The series had a few great opportunities to end gracefully, but opted not to and degraded significantly. Season 4 has been a tragic, ugly mess. It has gone from the show I looked forward to most week over week to the one I watch only as a last resort.