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There's good news on the 'Chuck' ratings front

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Well, "Chuck" fans, it's been a long road with this series so far, and it's nowhere near the end, but after the ratings news of this week, it sure seems as though we'll be seeing this show coming back for a fourth season. Now, it's not a done deal, and if you've got any spare $5 bills lying around, you might want to run down to Subway, but it sure seems as though "Chuck" is going to be the least of NBC's worries. And given that NBC has many, many worries, what with the whole "Jay Leno Show" implosion, it sure seems as though "Chuck" being a consistent performer with a dedicated audience is going to be enough to keep it around for a little while. And because Season 4 usually equals Season 5 (the better to get to 100 episodes and big syndication dollars), I'd say we "Chuck" fans are in good shape.

The first piece of good news came Tuesday morning, when "Chuck" posted a ratings number that was up 8% from where the show was when it last left the air. It was also good enough for the series to be NBC's No. 1 show Monday night (something that's been true ever since "Chuck" came back, Dan Fienberg points out). Do you really think NBC would cancel a show that was No. 1 on one of the key nights of the TV week? The numbers for "Chuck" could be better, but they're at least consistently average, and that's likely to count for something.

All of this is probably helped by the fact that NBC prime-time president Angela Bromstad didn't quite come out and say the show would be back but said encouraging things in that regard in this interview with the Hollywood Reporter. First, she called the show's numbers this season a "pleasant surprise," and then she said, "Well, it's got to maintain, and it depends on development." Now, if there's one thing "Chuck" has done this season, it's maintain. The show has been remarkably consistent in its numbers. In addition, one of NBC's surefire pickups for next season is a J.J. Abrams-produced spy show. Now, granted, some might see this as a sign that NBC will pick one spy drama over the other, but I wouldn't be surprised if the network tried to piggyback the two off each other, provided the tones of the two series are different enough.

Now, again, none of this is a surefire thing, but if you're a "Chuck" fan worried about Season 4, I'd say things are looking up.

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

Photo: Zachary Levi's Chuck has a good shot at seeing the show with his name in the title get a fourth season. Credit: NBC

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Comments () | Archives (14)

Oh man... I must say, that as a longtime fan of this show, this news takes a huge weight off my chest. I've been scared to watch each week, not wanting to enjoy the show too much and commit myself to it in case it gets shut down next season.

Here's to (hopefully) another 2 seasons of Chuck!

One thing worth pointing out: Because Chuck S1 was truncated by the writers' strike and Chuck S3 only got a 19-episode order, it wouldn't be until season 6 that Chuck would reach 100, that magical syndication number. Assuming seasons 4 and 5 got a traditional 22 episode order each, season 5 would end on the 98th episode.

Go CHUCK season 4!!! from lisbon

Unlesssss. Season 5 was one huge 24 parody and had 24 episodes in order to pull off the 1 season = one day thing.... This is of course a terrible idea but I think Chuck could pull it off. That's how much I believe in the writers lol.

That's a good point about 98 episodes, but I could see NBC ordering one extra episode in seasons four and five. It's also worth pointing out that NBC wouldn't benefit from syndication dollars; Warner Brothers would. But if season four goes ahead and the show's a bubble show, Warner Brothers might assume more of the production costs for a fifth season, just to get to 100 episodes, to get those sweet, sweet dollar bills.

I'm delighted and excited! Love this show ... It seems almost too good for the trashy reality crap on most nights of the week - it's fantastic the ratings are holding and the fan base is slowly and surely climbing. Hate to say this, but it reminds me a little of Star Trek - and how the networks didn't think it was worth investing in. With fans this loyal, you have a winner on your hands. Don't blow it, Angela!!

Ratings for next episodes might fall pretty quickly simply because episodes 3.07 and 3.08 actually destroyed characters and plot completely. The whole Chuck having sex with Hannah, Sarah with Shaw and revealing her real name to him... it's so much out of character and doesn't make sense with everything that viewers loved during the first two seasons and up to 3.06 that many will just stop watching.
Josh Schwartz injected Chuck with cheap bad writing soap/telenovelas stuff for no real reason, the majority of viewers of Chuck are far from soap addicted people and it's not cheap soap garbage that they wanted put into Chuck for sure.

Nah, I mean you may be right but those people would be wrong to stop watching. The characters are not ruining themselves. Sarah is confused and at a loss with her emotions, Chuck wants to be a spy and have a relationship and he needed some love for crying out loud how long has it been since he has gotten laid? He's distraught as well but he is a guy and he rather than like Sarah gets super teary eyed and staring into the camera like that all the time he got another girlfriend and got busy with her. Of course he realizes his mistake which is also natural. It's insulting to compare this to a soap opera. But believe it or not soap operas are better than half of the crap that is on t.v. these days.

@Chuck Fans: you are wrong, it's a fact, it's Josh Schwartz that is insulting Chuck fan base and viewers. The first two seasons of Chuck were absolutely excellent with no flaws, every character made sense, the plot made sense and Season3 up to episode 3.06 still made sense and characters were acting as expected. But then 3.07 and 3.08 happened due to Josh Schwartz will and everything has been destroyed, all the effort put by writers to build characters and plot for all previous episodes has been destroyed with a couple of soap/telenovelas awful episodes. What a great achievement, yep.
And no, soap opera stuff is bad just like reality shows, anyone could write that garbage, fake characters, fake plots, an orgy after another, fake feelings, things that don't make any sense and soft-porn writing.. that is not quality, that is garbage.
Josh Schwartz managed to destroy Chuck just like he did to The O.C. before. The first season of The O.C. was very well written as well then it turned into a pathetic silly soap with characters that didn't make any sense and everyone was having sex with anyone else. That is garbage writing at work, it's when either the producer or writers don't have a clue of what they are doing and they think to be cool by injecting their products with cheap sloppy garbage writing.
Sarah having sex with her ex Bryce as well as Chuck having sex with his ex Jill made sense and served a purpose to both plot and characters development but now Hannah having sex with Chuck and Sarah having sex with Shaw it's just very bad writing that means nothing and it's put there for what Josh Schwartz thinks it's the shocking factor, but it's not, he just killed characters and the main core and heart of the show is lost.
Why should viewers care anymore about either Chuck or Sarah ? After 3.07 and 3.08 both characters don't look like themselves anymore, they did what they would have never done, it's over. The show is dead. It jumped the shark in the worst possible way.

My wife and I randomly started watching this show this season. We caught the first episode and haven't stopped watching since. We love the Olympics but even found ourselves bemoaning the fact that the Olympics couldn't take one night a week off (Monday preferably) so Chuck could air. I've told as many friends as I can that they should be watching this show, though I don't know if it's had any impact.

I'm glad to hear that the show is safe. It really gets old having fresh shows with original ideas being trotted out and cancelled after six episodes. TV executives need to be more patient. How do they ever expect a show to gain traction when they kill it before it's even had a chance to breathe? It's like akin to deeming a child as an invalid if it doesn't come out of the womb reading, writing and running.

The execs should probably reassess what they consider good ratings as well. Gone are the days when there were only networks on television. Gone too are the days when there were the networks plus 40 cable channels. There are 320+ million Americans, out of that audience 100M are probably watching television at any one time. With 200 channels aimed at every niche group out there pulling in 3 or 4 million viewers is probably a huge success.

Oh well, I'm just glad we'll get one more season of Chuck anyway.

One other thing I think NBC should consider is using USA for its niche shows. If Chuck doesn't have "good enough" ratings to satisfy the execs and remain on NBC, maybe they could consider the fairly decent following that Chuck does have and move it to USA. Don't tell me that Chuck couldn't pull in better ratings than almost any other show USA airs.

nice! more chuck! i bet ratings were even higher if chuck didnt air at same times as how i met your mother

Like many others I hope that you are correct about the S4. I think that some of what we are seeing this season is a response to being a "bubble show". It is hard to tell the story you want to never knowing if you will be on the air next season. As a result they advanced things a bit quickly and now are backtracking. This is a difficult situation to be in. I don't think that they are deliberately annoying viewers.
I do wonder if we may be in another Star Trek situation. As I recall, ratings for Trek were not great, the fans pulled them through to a third season only to have the plug pulled. If I remember correctly, shortly after this there was a change in how ratings were calculated and by the new ratings system Star Trek would have been a "hit". The new factor here is how to rate the internet Hulu, itunes, youtube viewership. Chuck is one of the top downloads on Hulu. Wouldn't want to see it cancelled and then have a new system that takes online viewership into consideration just to rub salt into our wounds.

To Joerg if you see this....you are the one jumping shark. Even if I felt 2 episodes were a little off the mark that is not nearly enough to quit watching and lose faith in the writers. Everything in my comment is correct. And have you not seen the recent episodes of Chuck?

Also, there was never any reference to Sarah sleeping with Shaw at all. And even if you think there was Chuck never found out and it was never a plot point that was made clear. Because Schwartz is not stooping to sleazy reality/soap opera writing.

Again, even if you are upset with those 2 episodes (which I still stand by completely, they had some of the best comedy and even poked fun at the sexual tension that is overused in almost all shows (which is another think Chuck does brilliantly I might add)) I hope you have been watching because the recent episodes have been some of the best. And it was the perfect timing for Chuck and Sarah to be finally together and be the awesome team up people have been waiting for. Yes, waiting for. We all knew they would be together soon. You had no reason to not have trust in the writers that they would do things right. This show has been true to it's premise and still bringing fresh new things to the table at a perfect pace.

Everyone involved with this show deserves to continue doing the great work they are doing. Go Chuck.


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