Don't Expect 'Awake' To Get the 'Chuck' Treatment

Categories: 1-Featured,Broadcast TV

Written By

April 13th, 2012

Revisionist history happens. With everything. So it's no surprise that it happens with TV show renewals, too. Some have suggested that NBC might give Awake the Chuck treatment because that's just how NBC rolls. But that isn't how NBC rolls.

For most of it's run, Chuck's ratings were neither awful nor great relative to the rest of NBC's scripted shows. By its fourth season things were worse, but things were worse for NBC too, and Chuck still managed to perform at about 83% of NBC's scripted average. More importantly, at the end of its fourth season Chuck was a mere 10 episodes away from 88 episodes which is what is considered the minimum "magic number" these days for stripped syndication (where show's can be aired every day, Monday-Friday).

At the end of its first season Awake will be 75 episodes away from syndication which is to say, a long, long, long way from syndication.

Some will say "but Awake is performing at 85% of NBC's scripted average!"  That was true through last week, but it'll be closer to 80% than 85% after last night's episode (which drew another preliminary 0.9 adults 18--49) and is misleading  since Awake hasn't aired many episodes. The first week performed above average and the next two weeks were about average. Since then it's been well below average so that 85% of NBC's scripted original average will go lower very rapidly and without a  remarkable ratings turnaround, there's not much chance it will end the season at even 80% of NBC's scripted average. For a first season show, far, far from syndication, that equals canceled.

  • Ultima

    @Brian J
    If it shows relatively stable ratings,

    2.0, 1.6, 1.6, 1.2, 1.0, 0.9, 0.9 – Definitely not showing stable ratings.

    Is the network really going to lose a lot by giving it 13 more episodes?

    They’re going to lose the chance to promote and launch a new show which might actually be successful.

  • Tom

    Makes me rather sad. I am quite enjoying Awake.
    Didn’t know what to expect when going in and have found it very interesting (and hasn’t turned to crap like Terra Nova/Alcatraz/The Event did)

    I’ll be disappointed to see it go.

  • joethehobo

    @Tom Mc

    Awake is not a serialized show. It’s just CSI with a gimmick.

  • Fleur

    Much as I love Jason Isaacs the show is too gimmicky for me. Loved him on that PBS Masterpiece Classics where he played an ex-cop private eye. Now that woulda been good on any network.

  • Fred

    “I don’t know how much this program costs to produce, but it’s well reviewed.”

    Relatively speaking, the show is pretty cheap compared to most one hour drama. Still, even with NBC’s low standards, you have to think that when a show falls below 1.0 it has to be a goner.

  • Fabian

    My Friday is not the same without CHUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!I miss Chuck!!!!!!!!

  • Fake Me Out


    I don’t think networks look at the average over the whole run, especially for a new series, as the determining factor for a renewal. Too often the premiere ratings can skew the average too much. It would be too much work for TVbtN to do for all series but a graph of 3 data types would give you a better idea of how a show is doing … type #1 the actual ratings episode by episode, type #2 the season average of all shows and type #3 a rolling average of the last three episodes (ie the 1st data point would be the avg of eps #1,2,3 the 2nd would be avg of eps #2,3,4 etc).

    Doing this for Awake I’m sure would, at this point anyways, point to [Soup Nazi voice on] “No renewal for you!” [Soup Nazi voice off] even on NBC … heck it’s current ratings wouldn’t even make it #1 on the CW.


    Help save Endgame and watch season 1 on Hulu

  • Naemeth

    Then I won’t expect Chuck to completely disappear from TVBTN :P

  • PW

    I do enjoy this show, 2nd best new show of the year for me. To bad but NBC has done this with 4 shows I have like over the last 2 years. So now I will have to wait until a show has a 2nd season before I start wacthing it on NBC so I no longer get envoled and then it gets canceled.

  • Barb

    Awake should have been on a cable network rather than network tv giving it a better chance to survive a second season.

  • Mike

    We want chuck back!!

  • johnb

    Awake is really a well written show, and shows with dual timelines are quite a challenge, for the writers and actors. It also has over story arc involving his corrupt captain as seen in this weeks episode. So i dont think the car accident was really an accident. we want to know more!

  • Ceej

    Well this comes after I officially bailed on Awake last night. Nice attempt at a creative drana, good acting, tolerable cop drama elements, but limited potential that can only go so far before it hits the breaking point(if he gets killed in one life, what happens to the other life without revealing secrets?).

    After watching Touch, an amazing program that always keeps my attention, this is not what I want to be watching afterwards. Seriously, I had more fun watching my VHS of the second Ninja Turtles movie instead(Ninja Rap, oh how I’ve missed ya lol). The bear can have Awake as far as I’m concerned.


    I wonder if one of these networks needs to rethink the long term syndication strategy. I look at really good shows like Awake and Ringer that kind of have one big hook. Those days of getting people to invest years and years into them probably isn’t going to happen.

    I wonder if limited run series with a beginning, middle, and an end over 13-22 episodes aren’t the way to go. Almost kind of like Survivor or Big Brother or American Idol are in a reality world.

    I might believe viewers are more willing to watch a show like Awake (or how they did the brilliant American Horror Story) if they knew the end of the season brought an end.

    It won’t bring the giant syndication money (and I still think there’s room for those long term shows). But, maybe if networks considered a different model where 50% of their schedule was devoted to limited run higher concept series, they might get more sampling – leaving people satisfied at the end.

    The American public seems like things that somehow have closure to them (like movies). It may be time to rethink the model – at least maybe for a struggling network like NBC.

    I like Awake but I don’t know that I want to sit through four seasons to find out which reality is real. Having a 13-episode limited run series may have made this very compelling to watch.

  • Ceej

    @PW Then other potentially good shows could fail because some viewers are afraid to commit, and then what would the viewers of those future shows do? It would create a negative domino effect. Granted, some shows I like do get canceled, and I might feel disappointed for a while, but I understand it’s a business-related decision, and like Clint Eastwood said during this year’s Super Bowl, I don’t get knocked down to heck in one punch: I get back up.

  • Samantha

    I’m not surprised at the likelihood that Awake will be cancelled, but I am sad. It took me a couple weeks to get my mind around the premise, which may account for the decline in its ratings, but once I did, I’ve loved it. As someone else noted, I’ve been increasingly disinclined to start watching shows with a continuing story until I know the show will last long enough to answer the questions its poses. I wonder if that actually may be affecting the ratings of shows like Awake.


    well its on NBC so its not really newa is it.

  • ToXiX

    I gave Awake a shot the first 2 weeks, not a bad show, just not my style.
    I know there’s fans of the series but it is very clear it will be cancelled.
    There aren’t any plausible excuses anyone can pull out for why it would be renewed.

  • Ignatius

    Consider it is likely to fall to .7 or so in the near future. It has fallen far fast. It’s done.

  • carigis

    yea, its sad the show is just starting to get good too.. and they are just really starting to move into the whole conspiracy aspect..and his psycosis is starting to bleed into his dual realities. the problem is thier just isn’t much audience left.

    There has only really been one episode (the one were his kid was kidnapped) that was really horrible. The rest have been pretty good.

    but I agree, the show is done. lets just hope they don’t end it on a cliff hanger.

© 2015 Tribune Digital Ventures