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.

  • LaBonBon

    What a shame! This is a unique and classy show–although the actress that plays the wife is too young for the lead character, Det. Britton. I totally agree with the previous poster about show getting cancelled and the series finishing unresolved. I am going to be very upset if “Awake” is cancelled and it’s not wrapped up properly.

    Jason Isaacs is a great new star–especially for us adult viewers. I am sick to death of shows about 20 somethings. “Alcatraz” was another unique show with a great story line but the lead actress looks 15. The role of an important detective should have been played by a mature actress.

  • hardline_pro

    It’s a shame that this show will be cancelled. I like it, a lot.

  • Alan

    “Awake” is a brilliant TV series..just proves that shows like this are ‘too smart’ for network TV. Shame…NBC could use some quality drama on it’s network.

  • Oceanblaze17

    Awake was perhaps the only show that I watched on NBC in prime time, now that Heroes, the original Law and Order, and Friday Night Lights are gone. Awake is a very good show and it’s a shame that it probably won’t get another season. The rest of NBC’s line up, save for Sunday Night Football, is a waste of stupid sitcoms and dumb reality shows (that theme has long since been played out. “Survivor” and its ilk were cool for the first few seasons. Now it’s just like “been there, done that” for me) that I can see on the other networks. I really have no interest in “America’s Voice”, “The Biggest Loser”, or whatever other stupid reality show NBC is airing.

    To be honest what is dooming Awake is that it is probably on the wrong network. While this is NBC’s response to Persons of Interest on CBS, when I think of the rest of NBC’s lineup, it’s a poor fit. Awake doesn’t fit in the stupid reality shows and sitcoms that apparently NBC wants to air. NBC is apparently positioning itself to be the network for people who want to watch sitcoms and reality shows. ABC is positioning itself as the network for dramas that appeal to yuppy women like Gray’s Anatomy, Desperate Housewives, and GCB. CBS is the network for crime/law-enforcement/suspense dramas.

    While Awake was probably NBC’s answer to Persons of Interest, if it doesn’t get a second season, it will be because it was on the wrong network to begin with. I think Awake would have found a stronger following and been a complete ratings success had it been aired on CBS. The audience that follows CSI, the Mentalist, NCIS, and Criminal Minds would have loved Awake. And, in fact, should NBC cancel it, Awake’s producers may want to consider if CBS would air the show. I’m surprised that Awake’s producers didn’t reach out to CBS originally because the audience for the show would have been there.

    Awake is a great show. If NBC cancels I do hope they answer some of the questions behind it. They canceled Heroes without wrapping up the series and I didn’t like that. If they are going to cancel a show they should at least give some closure to it.

  • Sam

    You are an idiot. You don’t know anything. Awake will be renewed so shut your fat mouth.

  • Fake Me Out

    @Robert Seidman

    It’s hard to argue against the measured, logical, fact based counter point of “You are an idiot. You don’t know anything. Awake will be renewed so shut your fat mouth.” so I think it’s best you concede defeat and agree Awake will be renewed.


  • bsp

    With an 0.9 demo in prime time on a broadcast network? You really think so? I like “Awake” and haven’t missed a second of it, but I think the odds of it getting renewed are very, VERY slim. Time will tell.

  • Ben

    According to the creator Kyle Kilen, the season will wrap up with answers provided as to which scenario is real and which is a dream (no coma/it’s all a dream/crazy sci-fi crap according to him) as well as the truth behind the accident, so not to worry.

    I am very grateful about that. I would be quite pissed if he left it hanging. I guess he knew that it might get cancelled so he decided to wrap things up. Not surprising given the his experience at FOX with “Lone Star” being cancelled after two episodes. Of course, he could throw a new twist at us, but let’s hope it ends nice and clean, or at least the twist isn’t that interesting (not likely).

  • John A

    How does this show not at least get mid 1.s? 0.9 is abysmal

  • Oliver

    The reason the show has struggled is because it’s on NBC in a death slot, its Up All Night lead-in is terrible with near-zero audience overlap and tonal whiplash problems, it’s an incredibly difficult show to promote, plus the show fundamentally isn’t quite sure who it’s meant to appeal to (the premise is too alienating to procedural/family fans but too mundane for sci-fi fans).

  • Naemeth

    Too many Fan Excuse Bingo squares on one article!

  • John A

    Blah blah the show started with a 2.0 just like Scandal did. The show must be awful for it too lose so much audience.

  • Temis

    I don’t expect NBC to give Awake the Chuck treatment, because NBC already has its new Chuck and it’s called Grimm.

  • Brian

    I always tell myself to not get hooked into new shows becuase the network will cancel them but this show had such a good premise that I love it.

    Awake is a show that has no sex, profanity or violence. It is a great show that my whole family and I watch. We talk about this show and clues from each reality.

    There is so much crap on TV right now (Whitney, Chelsea, Rules of negagement, 2 Broke girls) that TV viewers do not know a good show if it bit them in their backside.

    NBC bring back Awake!!!

  • LJ

    the shows with the best hooks never last and we’re always left unresolved.

  • Patrick G.

    “Awake” has been a HUGE disappointment to me. I thought this show would deal with the 2 seemingly conflicting realties that Jason Isaac’s character was stuck between within his dreams and NOT be just another cop show procedural, which is largely what it has turned out to be. The 2 dream states have been back-burnered and used as a plot device to solve the crimes each week. YAWN!!! If I wanted another crime show procedural, I’d be watching CBS along with the Depends crowd of that network’s core audience. I can barely get through each of “Awake’s” episodes now and fast-forward through much of the dreck on my DVR, and by that, I mean actual chunks of the episodes themselves, and not just the commercials. NBC needs to put this show out of its misery – pronto!! It is clear that the true reality is the one where the wife survived and the son is dead, since the “color” of the son’s reality is washed out in comparison to the “real world” where the wife survived. Just get it over with already. The bear needs some feeding!

  • Bob Jones

    “I recognize, Mr. Reese, that there’s a disparity between how much I know about you and how much you know about me. I know you’ll be trying to close that gap as quickly as possible. But I should tell you… I’m a really private person.”
    -Mr. Finch, from Person of Interest episode 1.01 “Pilot”

    What can NBC do to return to prominence?
    Mon – The Voice/The Bachelor & Smash – Have not Watched
    Tue – TBL & Parenthood (tough 10 PM because of Cable)
    Wed – Whitney (Like), ART Chelsea (OK), Rock Center (News), L&O SVU (OK)
    Thu – Community/30 Rock, The Office/Up All Night, Awake
    Fri/Sat – The Firm, Grimm, Dateline NBC, etc
    Sun – Harry’s Law, Celebrity Apprentice.

    I regularly watch Whitney; record SVU, Smash, Grimm, and Awake but low priority. People complain that shows are not being supported (with ads or time slot) but for NBC, every hour is a ‘bad time slot’.

    Tue – New Girl, Wed – Modern Family, Thu – TBBT – NBC does not have a go to show (30 Rock is too obtuse and the Office is too bleak).

  • Lucard

    “…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).”

    Which doesn’t make sense – Monday to Friday is 5 days, so 88/5 = 17.6 – 17*5 is 85 – so the next week you can only stripe Monday-Wednesday?

  • Brian

    This is my all time favorite show, bar none. So it disappoints me that this show is not doing well. It is beautifully crafted and well written. Unfortunately, I’m sure this show isn’t doing well because your average American is just too dumb to understand. What a sad world we live in. Oh well. I suppose us not finding out which reality is real or fake is a befitting way to end the series. Besides, I think it would be incorrect to assume that the writers ever would reveal which reality is the fake if they were given more episodes to properly end the series since the writers seem enthralled with blurring the lines of reality and fantasy.

  • Norm Hill

    Just remember, MASH was near extinction in it’s first season. Not saying Awake is MASH, but so many good shows have a tall hill to climb to achieve ratings respectability.

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