Good news!

It has been a long wait for a new episode of Chuck,   since April 27 when it had its season two finale.   When NBC made its announcements for this season last May we were going to get 13 new episodes of Chuck in a 3rd  season and they were going to show up in March.  But through the magic of the TV disaster that is NBC, Chuck is back sooner – and with more episodes, 19 total – than originally planned.

Bad News!

Sooner than planned with more episodes is good news for Chuck fans.  Most of the fans won’t likely care about that happening precisely because NBC is in shambles in primetime.  But discriminating TV by the Numbers readers will see it for the double-edged sword it is.  Yes, the good news is that Chuck is coming back sooner and with more episodes.  But the bad news is its airing on a network hardly anyone watches anymore.  And yes, even fewer people are watching NBC now than when Chuck aired its season two finale last April.

NBC Gave It The Best On-Air Promotion It Could

In fairness to NBC, it promoted the hell out of both the two hour Sunday premiere and the Monday premiere during the “Wild Card Saturday” NFL games that aired on NBC with lots of promotion spots, and blurbs from Al Michaels.  Though at least once Michaels said to catch the two hour premiere on MONDAY (even though it’s on Sunday) causing Chuck co-creator and showrunner Josh Schwartz to wonder if Al Michaels secretly works for FOX.

Otherwise, the only thing that would’ve been better is if NBC had an NFL playoff game late Sunday afternoon to lead-in to Chuck.  Unfortunately, there’s no more NFL on NBC until next fall.

The Competition

By airing at 9pm  barring some kind of freakish triple overtime game with the late afternoon game on FOX, the two-hour premiere is at least almost assured of not having to air against NFL playoff game.   So Chuck is most likely going to face a 20th Anniversary Simpson’s special/documentary and the Cleveland Show on FOX, Desperate Housewives on ABC and Cold Case on CBS at 9pm.  At 10pm the only broadcast competition will be Brothers & Sisters on ABC and a repeat of Criminal Minds on CBS.


When we last saw Chuck it was pulling a 2.4 rating with adults 18-49  and 6.12 million viewers in the 8pm hour on a Monday in the overnight Live+SD numbers.   I’d love to predict a 2.6 and 7 million viewers, but because it’s NBC, I can’t.

In fact, what I want to do is apply a straight 20 percent NBC suckage tax for being on NBC.  NBC isn’t down by that much versus last season, but increases to Sunday Night Football have helped the overall averages some.  The ratings carnage particularly for scripted  one hour dramas is worse, and this will be the first Sunday in a long while where NBC has had any scripted content.

The 20% suckage tax yields a 1.9 adults 18-49 rating.  Because it’s Chuck (and not, for instance Trauma, or Mercy) I’ll assess only  a 15% NBC suckage tax.

That yields a 2.0 rating with adults 18-49 and 5.2 million.

Please note that my prediction for the premiere of FlashForward was too low, and my prediction for the premiere of V was way, way, way too low.  Hopefully that prediction curse will continue and will be the case with Chuck’s season three premiere as well.

Half-Hourly Overnight Data Table for April 27, 2009:

A look back in time to the glory days of spring 2009…

Time Net Show 18-49 Rating/Shr Viewers (Millons)
8:00 FOX House 4.3/12 10.87
ABC Dancing with the Stars 3.8/11 17.26
CBS The Big Bang Theory 3.4/10 9.31
NBC Chuck 2.2/6 5.95
CW Gossip Girl 1.0/3 2.07
8:30 FOX House 4.7/12 11.85
ABC Dancing with the Stars 4.4/12 19.60
CBS How I Met Your Mother 3.7/10 8.87
NBC Chuck 2.5/7 6.28
CW Gossip Girl 1.0/3 1.98
9:00 CBS Two and a Half Men 4.9/12 14.09
ABC Dancing with the Stars 4.7/12 20.41
FOX 24 3.5/9 10.58
NBC Heroes 2.9/7 6.21
CW One Tree Hill 1.0/3 2.13
9:30 CBS Rules of Engagement 3.9/10 11.30
FOX 24 3.3/8 10.535
NBC Heroes 3.0/7 6.56
ABC Surviving Suburbia 2.4/6 9.91
CW One Tree Hill 1.0/3 2.127
10:00 CBS CSI: Miami 3.3/9 11.88
ABC Castle 2.2/6 8.74
NBC Medium 2.2/6 6.74
10:00 CBS CSI: Miami 3.3/9 12.085
NBC Medium 2.2/6 6.702
ABC Castle 2.0/5 8.026


There is no “guess the ratings” contest for Chuck, but you can enter your guesses below for the joy of being proved right!  There is a “How “Awesome” is Chuck?” contest involving Monday night’s episode, and I might have made the degree of difficulty to participate high enough where those who do participate will have very, very good odds of winning!

Bill’s guess: I’m more optimistic than Robert for Sunday’s premiere. I’ll guess a 2.5 rating.

Posted by:TV By The Numbers

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