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One half of Jeffster checks in on Chuck: Vik Sahay chats with TV Guide


Jonesing for Chuck spoilers? Well, this video doesn’t have any. But if you’re just jonesing for a Chuck fix, TVGuide.com’s Q&A with Vik Sahay should do the trick. At least it’s better than the only tangentially Chuck-ish news that Sarah Lancaster has scored a summer gig on TNT’s Hawthorne.

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Posted by Brian Howard on Friday, June 12th, 2009 at 4:00 pm |
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UPFRONTS CHUCKDATE… Moving from #SaveChuck to #WatchChuck, and ideas about who’ll be back


UPDATES: Creator Josh Schwartz tells TV Week’s TV MoJoe Chuck will be back on Mondays at 8, but not until after the Olympics. Aaarggghhhh!!!!

“We are happy to be back,” he e-mailed after the Times broke the ‘Chuck’ scheduling. “Ready to serve – whenever. Wherever. We have the best audience in the world and we will do everything we can to make this worth the wait.”

Here’s NBC’s official press release about Chuck that, unless I’m blind, doesn’t mention the return date but does read like a payday for Subway.

Here’s the Fall Schedule press release that buries the news about Chuck‘s post-Olympic return in the fifth paragraph.

Nikki Finke reports that the Peacock suits credit the online fanbase for the show’s return.

But the network said it didn’t cancel Chuck “because of the demand for Chuck that came out of the online community, the critical community, and the advertising base. The other shows had none of that attention or energy.” Said one of the top execs: “I was sent more Nerds than anyone could consume in a lifetime.”

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Posted by Brian Howard on Tuesday, May 19th, 2009 at 11:00 am |
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Thanks for being awesome, NBC — Breaking down the Chuck renewal


Well it came two days early and with a few caveats, but Chuck will be back for a third season.

And that is cause for celebration. This is among the funniest, smartest and surprisingly deep shows on television, and it clearly has a flock of devoted, not to mention intelligent and good-hearted fans who rallied to its cause.

Whether the network heard them or only heard its own dollar signs can be debated. I doubt there’s a definitive answer to be had to that question. But me, I’d like to believe the cleverness of the Finale and a Footlong campaign, followed by the compassionate ingenuity of the We Heart Chuck effort, which has raised upwards of $15,000 for the American Heart Association in the shows name, couldn’t have gone unnoticed.

And if the network noticed, it had to be impressed as well as confident renewal would be as bottom-line friendly as it would be fan-friendly.

To be sure, all the leading observers had the show on a very positive bubble, expecting a fall pickup to be only a matter for the beancounters to work out. No one erroneously believed this was a runaway hit on the chopping block. Rather, its supporters knew it was more than some niche show and that it might actually have thrived if not for killer competition in its time slot.

So I’m happy. But about those caveats…

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Posted by Brian Howard on Sunday, May 17th, 2009 at 9:58 pm |


UPDATED: The moment Chuck fans have been waiting for!


UPDATE: Variety says the deal is done!!! Season 3, here we come!

Nothing’s official yet, but certain sources are abuzz with speculation and so-called insider info that Chuck is about to be renewed for the coveted third season.

First off, The Hollywood reporter says “Chuck limbo could be coming to an end.”

Sources indicate that the bubble NBC dramedy with strong Web following is close to a third-season pickup.

The network had asked for significant budget reductions on top of the cuts producing studio Warner Bros. TV had already made going into the second season.

After weeks of back-and-forth, the two sides are said to be very close to a compromise that would bring the karate-enhanced intercept back next season.

Meanwhile, TV Week’s TV Mojoe asks “Is today the day for Chuck fans?

No guarantees, but sources are thinking NBC and Warner Bros. could reach a deal for “Chuck” to return sometime today. However, given likely budget cuts to the show, the cast will now be dining exclusively on Five Dollar Footlongs from Subway (Eat Fresh). Not because of product placement but because that’s all they’ll be able to afford.

Welcome to the (new) Hollywood.

And Variety’s Cynthia LIttleton comes right out and says it — “Chuck: Renewal deal expected today.

It ain’t over ’til it’s over, but people who are in a position to know say that confirmation of  “Chuck” third-season renewal deal between NBC and Warner Bros. TV is expected later today.

As I’ve said all along, I’ll believe it when they announce it, but this all looks pretty promising. And for what it’s worth, the We Heart Chuck campaign has raised nearly $15,000 for the American Heart Association.

Posted by Brian Howard on Sunday, May 17th, 2009 at 3:27 pm |

Putting their money where their hearts are, Chuck fans tell the inspiration behind the Have a Heart campaign


No matter what NBC announces next Tuesday with regard to bubble show of the year Chuck, some good will come from the campaign to convince the network to renew it.

As of Wednesday morning, $13,255.92 had been donated to the American Heart Association in the name of Chuck Bartowski, the show’s title character. The favored charity of Chuck sponsor Subway mailed a donation acknowledgment card to NBC execs Ben Silverman or Angela Bromstad for each of the 400-plus donations made

No, fans didn’t inundate the network with nuts or other snack food. They didn’t lash out at the network in a dizzying series of online tirades across message boards, chatrooms and Twitter feeds. They didn’t even hang their heads in resignation.

Instead, they put their money where their hearts are and came up with Have a Heart — Renew Chuck. I caught up with just a few of the effort’s founding members.

Laurie Taylor Gregg of New Mexico, a 52-year-old mother of six who goes by the name LTG or chuckling online, said the idea grew out of a discussion on NBC.com’s Chuck forums following the network’s May 4 non-announcement about the show’s fate.

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Posted by Brian Howard on Thursday, May 14th, 2009 at 12:00 pm |

Your daily Chuck-date: A shout-out, a prediction and fans with heart


If all I’ve got to hang my hat on in making a Chuck update post is a passing afterthought of a mention by Jon Stewart, I should probably hold off on blogging.

No, there’s no news to report yet, but there’s an air of giddy anticipation about the interwebs as Tuesday’s big announcement from NBC approaches.



I’d call this good news and less than good news, if it has any bearing on reality. As a commenter points out below, Nikki Finke is reporting that one possible fall lineup NBC is mulling would put Chuck and Southland together on Friday nights.

I’d be happy just to know it’s returning, but isn’t a Friday timeslot the kiss of death?


So yeah, Stewart’s a Chuck fan, and in ripping Nancy Pelosi’s torture-friendly stance last night, he gave a shout out to the Save Chuck crowd. (In other news, a blind squirrel found a nut.)

More significantly, though still in the realm of speculation, TVbytheNumbers’ latest Renew/Cancel Index puts Chuck in the ‘Renewal Likely’ category.

If that doesn’t explain all the giddiness, maybe it’s the good karma emanating from the Have a Heart — Save Chuck campaign. The effort, begun May 6, to target donations to Chuck sponsor Subway’s favorite charity, the American Heart Association, has yielded $13,255 in donations as of this morning from more than 500 fans.

Like I’ve said, even if it doesn’t sway the Peacock, it is an amazingly good thing unto itself. Sure beats mailing nuts to Burbank, with all due respect.

Posted by Brian Howard on Wednesday, May 13th, 2009 at 1:48 pm |


Chuck updates: Glimmers of hope but nothing concrete just yet


This is either really good news for Chuck‘s renewal hopes or it makes no difference at all.

And that’s about as decisive as it gets for those awaiting NBC’s decision about its fall lineup and Chuck‘s possible place in it.

Variety reported last night that the network passed on the David E. Kelly drama Legally Mad, meaning it’ll have to pay a $2 million penalty to Warner Bros. Studios. Those following this closely know the speculation was that NBC was negotiating a waiver on that penalty in exchange for picking up Chuck, also a WB production.

Whether there is or ever was anything to that, I don’t know, but the mag says insiders call the two unrelated. I did like this line from the piece, though.

Chuck remains on the bubble, although most expect it to return to the Peacock next year.

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Posted by Brian Howard on Tuesday, May 12th, 2009 at 11:51 am |
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Fifteen Days of Chuck: The waiting is the hardest part


The guys over at TVbytheNumbers.com sure know how to pass the time, especially when the time to be passed is the 15-day stretch of waiting for the final word on Chuck.

Hence, Fifteen Days of Chuck, a daily series of updates that have more speculation and analysis than hard news, mainly because hard news on the fate of NBC’s Monday night spy series isn’t to be had. According to a comment posted there by one of the writers, the idea was NBC’s really, when the network announced on May 4 there’d be no announcement until May 19.

I came up with it upon the realization that “Oh @%$#!, we’re going to have to wait 15 more days to find out? Fifteen more days of speculation?!” I decided to just embrace it.

The site objectively analyzes show’s survival hopes and fosters subsequent discussion based on daily ratings figures.

As this very site was a week ago with its own tongue-in-cheek reader’s poll, TVBTN quickly found itself at the center of a firestorm as the animated online fan base of the similarly endangered Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles deluged it with criticism of its pro-Chuck commentary.

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Posted by Brian Howard on Monday, May 11th, 2009 at 4:24 pm |

The Parks and Recreation recap: The Banquet


Anybody else hungry for some bacon-wrapped shrimp?

Parks and Recreation isn’t great — yet. But it’s solid, and I think it has a real chance to be great. I wasn’t bowled over by last night’s episode, “The Banquet,” but I saw glimpses that support my optimism.

The first was Aziz Ansari’s Tom in front of a microphone. It wasn’t that what he was saying was hilarious, but he showed his chops with his delivery at that schmooze-fest of a government function.

Even when he’s taking creative dictation from Leslie or giving her tips on how to handle the disciplinary committee a few weeks ago, the guy just needs solid material and the space to let it rip.

Then there’s Mark, played by Paul Schneider. I read a good analysis on a fan forum comparing this show to The Office, because it is problematically similar. But The Office doesn’t have a Mark character. He’s a bit of a cad, but he’s a good guy. He’s something of a straight man for Amy Poehler to bouncer her wackiness off, but in his talking heads he shows he’s funny on his own too.

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Posted by Brian Howard on Friday, May 8th, 2009 at 3:19 pm |
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‘Have a heart — Save Chuck’ effort raking in donations for a Awesome cause (and not just renewal)


A note on that Have a Heart — Save Chuck campaign I told you about yesterday.

As of a little before noon today (not sure if that’s Eastern Time), Chuck fans had donated $3,432 to the American Heart Association in the name of Chuck Bartowski.

Mind you, this campaign is slightly more than two days old.

The idea, as detailed here, is that Subway sponsors Chuck and the AHA is Subway’s main charity (think Jared). The hope is that supporting the show’s main sponsor in this way will endear fans to the sponsor, who would in turn pressure NBC to continue providing this fruitful sponsorship opportunity.

Will it work? I have no idea.

Do I think it’s a great idea? Well, heart disease claimed more than 652,000 American lives in 2005, more than all forms of cancer combined, according to the CDC.

I say this as someone who desperately wants Chuck renewed: Who cares if it works? It’s so worth a shot.

Click on that Awesome logo to donate.

Posted by Brian Howard on Thursday, May 7th, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
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