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So maybe those 'Chuck' ratings aren't so good after all ...

March 16, 2010 | 10:14 pm

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 Hey, you know a couple of weeks ago, when I was all, "Gosh, those 'Chuck' ratings look good! Let's all get a $5 footlong and hit the beach because it's DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME! We can worry about getting 'Chuck' renewed at the end of season four!"? Yeah, I was totally lying to you. Because now, in the whiplash-y life that is the life of a "Chuck" fan, is the time to panic.

When even series creator Josh Schwartz is implying that the ratings weren't very good, you know they weren't very good. And, dear readers, the "Chuck" ratings last night, while not as catastrophic as sold by some, were definitely on the bad side of the ledger. The series sank to fourth place in its time slot, and it posted a number that was the worst it's ever posted, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The show's always struggled with low ratings, but to be posting its lowest number ever right when the decisions about what to renew for next season are being made is not a good sign for its continued success at the NBC network. It also doesn't help that the series is produced by Warner Bros., instead of NBC/Universal. "Trauma," which follows "Chuck," posted a lower rating than "Chuck," but not so dramatically lower that it can be written off, especially as it's an NBC production.

Look, I know that's all TV business-type talk. And I know I said I don't think this number was as catastrophic as some do. For one thing, I suspect the DVR numbers will prove pretty solid, and everything in the 8 p.m. hour was down across the board. Why? The suspected culprit is the much-hated Daylight Savings Time, which usually takes a hunk out of shows right after it appears. It's lighter and nicer out later and later, so more and more people are out having fun instead of watching TV. And that means shows get shifted to the DVR.

I suspect this is a low point, that the series will build from here in the weeks to come. But you might want to head down to Subway, just in case. I hear they're running a "Chuck"-themed promotion at present. How's a turkey breast and ham sound? If you like "Chuck," it had better sound tasty.

--Todd VanDerWerff (follow me on Twitter at @tvoti)

Photo: Zachary Levi directs an episode of "Chuck" in happier times. Credit: NBC

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