Earlier this month we reported the news from EW’s Michael Ausiello that NBC’s “Chuck” may return in October. With only three days left in the month, that clearly isn’t going to happen. But now we migh have even better news! NBC is considering an order of six more episodes of “Chuck” on top of the thirteen they already ordered! While “Chuck” is slated to return in March, six more episodes could mean we’ll get to see Mr. Bartowski earlier or that we may see him more half the summer. But first the boy needs a time slot (and a good one too). Hit the jump to read about potential problems and their possible solutions. [Update: “Chuck” WILL get six more episodes. However, it now appears that “Chuck” will return in January paired with “Heroes” which is great because that combination worked soooo well before. My comments on this scenario are after the jump and they explain why this scheduling is a bad decision]
Assuming this report is accurate, then there’s 19 episodes of “Chuck” on the way. I can see a couple ways how this might work:
– NBC, if they start airing promos in November, could possibly bring the show back in January. However, this poses a problem because NBC will be broadcasting the 2010 Winter Olympics (still ruining things) and with cut into February by running from the 12th through the 28th. So if NBC decides to bring “Chuck” back at the start of 2010, they’ll hurt the show because they’ll cut into its momentum. New viewers aren’t likely to stick with the show they’ve been watching for only 5-6 weeks when it goes away during the Olympics. Furthermore, you don’t order six more episodes and then rush the promotion and show ads through December when no one is watching TV since everything is repeats.
– While it would be rough for fans, in the long-run it’s better if NBC brings back the show in March. First, they’ll be able to promote it during the Olympics, which they were planning to do anyway along with their other midseason replacements. Second, “Chuck” was probably going to run uninterrupted through May since there are 13 weeks between the beginning of March and the end of May. Now add six weeks to that order and while most other networks no longer have A-list prime time shows, “Chuck” gets to dominate summer programming from June through the middle of July
Now I need to slow down a bit because again there’s no confirmation that NBC is ordering six more episodes. Furthermore, “Chuck” whether it has 13 or 19 episodes, needs a solid timeslot because it’s likely this season is its last chance to show NBC that this program can find a wider audience. Obviously, Friday is out because its death to any show. Monday is also a problem because it definitely can’t beat “House” at 8pm and there’s a risk of losing the geek audience halfway through an episode to “Big Bang Theory” at 9:30pm. Geeks will watch both but since CBS lacks the robust online viewing options NBC.com and the part-NBC owned Hulu provide, “Chuck” will probably be the online victor which would be great if networks and advertisers ever learned to measure anything other than Nielsen ratings.
So what then? Well, that’s difficult to answer. Without knowing how the networks plan to shift their schedules to accommodate midseason replacements and how well those replacements will succeed with viewers, it’s hard to say there’s a best bet for “Chuck”. Nevertheless, if this news about an additional six episodes is true, then not only will it be cause for celebration but a show that NBC is seriously committing to “Chuck” and trying to find a way for it to finally find its audience.
More on this story as we get it.