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.