Chuck vs. The Truth

It’s Monday.   The penultimate episode of the Chuck’s season, and perhaps series is upon us.  And I don’t want to worry anyone,  but sometimes when you’re worried, or maybe even a little neurotic, you feel the need to share.

We always hear from fans about how competitive Monday nights are, and how Chuck would do better on Wednesdays at 8pm (at least as long as it wasn’t on opposite Idol).   There’s no doubt that Mondays at 8pm is a competitive slot, with House being the biggest competition for Chuck, and every other show, at least in terms of the age demos.

Well, tonight, House isn’t on.  Bones is airing instead, and while Bones has pretty good performance, it’s no House in the demos.  As a bonus, The Big Bang Theory and How I Met Your Mother are in repeats.  This is as close of a look we’re going to get to seeing how Chuck would do against lesser competition.

If I put on my wannabe network executive decision making hat (and I’m not sure where NBC’s Angela Bromstad stands on hats), but also keep on my “I Heart Chuck” hat, it’s very uncomfortable.

For starters, reruns of The Big Bang Theory and How I Met Your Mother have beaten Chuck half of an adults 18-49 ratings point before.   And that was when there was a new episode of House.

The only other close recent comparison was On March 23rd, when House was a repeat, a new How I Met Your Mother aired at 8:00pm, and a repeat of How I Met Your Mother aired at 8:30.  That wasn’t a great night for Chuck, it pulled a 2.1 adults 18-49 rating, but that night Chuck hadn’t aired in two weeks as it was a rerun the previous week.

Where it gets sticky for me is that based on past history, it’s not even reasonable to expect a new episode of Chuck to beat repeats of The Big Bang Theory and How I Met Your Mother.   There’s no way to write the previous sentence and put a happy face on it unless, you’re writing it from the perspective of a CBS PR person.  Using the closest available recent comparisons,  it’s hard to predict Chuck will jump to a 2.5, and even harder to predict that it will beat the reruns on CBS.

Obviously going down from last week’s 2.3 would be unpleasant for Chuck fans, and I’m not sure how much staying the same or even going up to a 2.4 will matter in any decision.   A 2.5 would be better and a 2.6 or better would be AWESOME,  and that would definitely make some fans say, “A ha! It’s the time slot! It could do better in another time slot!”

Unfortunately, there just aren’t that many slots.  There’s Sunday after football season is over.  There’s Monday, and there’s Wednesday.  I know a lot of fans have suggested NBC break up its current Tuesday and Thursday schedules. I don’t see that happening.  No chance that it will break up The Biggest Loser into two one hour chunks over two days, and I’d be very surprised if they didn’t have two 30 minute sitcoms between 8pm-9pm leading into The Office and 30 Rock on Thursdays next year.  That pretty much leaves Sunday at 8pm starting in January, its current slot, or Wednesdays.

As much as I love the show, I’m not hugely confident in ratings gains this week.  I’m guessing it does about what it did last week, or  maybe goes up to a 2.4. I’d love to be wrong and see it do better.

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Posted by:TV By The Numbers

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