Could an NFL Lockout Help Save “Chuck” for Another Season?
Wendy Farrington who spurred the 2009 Subway fan campaign for Chuck writes (via e-mail):
It now looks official that the NFL lock out is coming for 2011.
Is there any chance this could get resolved before the Fall season starts? Would things just be delayed or is it an all or nothing scenario?
What does this mean in terms of network strategies for 2011…especially NBC who’s only bright spot is Sunday Night Football? (Poor Kabletown…they had no idea what they were getting into!) Does this mean bubble shows may find more leeway, more unscripted fodder (I’m sure), or some combination of the two?
There’s definitely a chance that it will get resolved before the fall season starts. It won’t surprise me much if negotiations go down to the wire, but at this point I’ll be surprised if any games are missed.
But it won’t be a surprise if things are still unresolved by the time the May upfront meetings roll around and the fall schedule announcements are made. While a lack of games would impact Fox and CBS (who trade off the late afternoon national games that lead into, and boost the primetime lineups), indeed it is NBC that has the most at stake with Sunday Night Football.
In the event that things don’t get resolved by the time the season starts, NBC will need to do something with Sunday nights in the fall. Could that help out NBC’s bubble shows? From a ratings perspective only Chuck and Harry’s Law are really on the bubble (cue the: “Harry’s Law has a gazillion total viewers, there’s no way NBC would cancel it!” chatter).
My initial reaction, like Wendy’s is that NBC would almost certainly handle any missing games with unscripted programming. Heck, if ESPN’s Friday afternoon coverage was any indication, if the lockout is still in place come September, NBC could fill up Sunday nights in the fall with four hours of “Lockout 2011” coverage.
At this point, even without a lockout, renewals of Chuck and Harry’s Law wouldn’t be very surprising, particularly Harry’s Law. Sure, the ratings aren’t great, but neither is NBC. NBC is probably looking to do better than sub 2.0 in adults 18-49, but there’s sub 2.0 and then there’s Undercovers, Chase and The Cape and I suppose now we can add The Event to that list. So keeping the shows just to have some schedule filler might make some sense even if there wasn’t a lockout.
If NBC has to move some unscripted shows to Sunday, even if it is unscripted it was keeping around as schedule spackle, that might make a stronger case for having a little extra schedule spackle.