I know that a lot of you out there are frustrated and discouraged by the degree to which Chuck has struggled in the ratings over the course of this season, especially after the extremely disappointing 1.7 rating that “Chuck vs. the Push Mix” got in the 18-49 Nielsen demographic. I also know that a lot of you are extremely worried about the chances that NBC will renew the show for a fifth season when its numbers continue to struggle to this degree. Believe me when I say that I know this situation is far from ideal, but before any of you become tempted to throw in the towel in terms of supporting and promoting Chuck, I want you to consider two things.
First off, we need to remember that when NBC ordered an additional 11 episodes–making Season 4 the longest season of Chuck yet–that was strong evidence that the network has at least some measure of confidence in the show’s overall stability (disappointing ratings notwithstanding), especially compared to more heavily promoted new shows that have already been canceled or soon will be. The length of this season also brings the series’ total number of episodes to 78, which would put the show in good reach of being sold into syndication if a full 22-episode order for Season Five became a reality. The potential amount of money that stands to be made from such an opportunity is not something that I think Warner Bros. or NBC would be eager to ignore or dismiss. Furthermore, I have to think that NBC understands that there are a lot of extenuating circumstances (sporting event preemption, weather conditions, etc) which can potentially contribute to a slight ratings dip that a particular episode of Chuck might suffer.
Second, and just as important, we all have to remember how much the Chuck fan community has been able to accomplish already. I only started watching the show during the Olympics hiatus in February of last year, making me a relative newcomer to the Chuck fandom. In this past year, along with thoroughly enjoying the show’s unique blend of comedy, action, romance and heart, I have marveled at how passionate and committed this fan community is. Chuck fans possess a level of enthusiasm that rivals some of the most fervent fans of TV and movie franchises like Firefly/Serenity, Star Wars, and Star Trek. If some of you feel that’s a bit of an overstatement, consider that in spite of all the dire predictions of some critics, TV ratings analysts, and fans of other shows, Chuck fans have accomplished the unprecedented feat of not only bringing our show back for a third season after it was in danger of cancellation, but bringing it back for yet another season after that. Not even the original Star Trek series can claim that.
In short, to borrow a few words from one of Adam Baldwin’s former co-stars in another series, the naysayers said Chuck would never last this long, and we’ve choked ’em with those words. We’ve done the impossible, and that makes us mighty!
We’ve done it before, and we can–and will–do it again. 🙂