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On Endings: Hope for Fringe, Scorn for Chuck

By January 23, 2012

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Sick and tired of (I)Chuck(/i): NBC Entertainment Chairman Robert Greenblatt.

Sick and tired of Chuck: NBC Entertainment Chairman Robert Greenblatt.

© Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

For once NBC, not Fox, is this week's bad guy in the hatcheting of cult-favorite series, as NBC's chairman expressed disdain for the outgoing Chuck even as Fringe's producers expressed a modicum of hope for the future.

A remarkable story surfaced Sunday in which NBC chair Robert Greenblatt, now entering his sophomore year in the post, expressed exasperation that Chuck's supposedly avid internet fanbase apparently wasn't actually watching it on Friday nights -- a situation that drove him to dump the show as soon as possible.

When reporters buttonholed Greenblatt during the Television Critics Association tour to get confirmation that NBC had burned off the series over the low-viewership holidays, the exec barked, "Well, did you see the ratings of Chuck?"--"his tone," mused Bill Harris of the Toronto Sun, "clearly revealing that he is tired of talking or even thinking about Chuck."

"Unfortunately, that rabid fan base that was going crazy on the net didn't come to the show," Greenblatt groused. "And maybe they didn't come to the show because it was Friday, but you would think that audience would find the show. The show was getting a 'one' rating. So I think Chuck's time had come."

Vik Sahay, who plays Lester, later suggested that NBCUniversal isn't taking a modern view. "Thinking about our fans," he said, "it's very possible that the Nielsen ratings system is just too antiquated to actually measure how many people are watching. Whenever talk of cancellation came up, there was such a groundswell of protest and support, it always seemed like it was a massively successful show."

But Greenblatt is focused on the set-top-box numbers. Pressed for whether he had authorized a conscious holiday burn-off of episodes, Greenblatt said, "Yeah, yes." He went on sourly: "Chuck is over, let's alert the masses." Talk about cancellation with prejudice. Chuck's series finale--and, clearly, it's really really the series finale--airs Friday, Jan. 27.

Meanwhile, there were encouraging signs that Fringe--publicly put on notice by Fox earlier this month--isn't out of the game yet. The network's warning that Fringe was a money-loser was intended as an incentive to Warners, which produces the show and presumably wants a fifth season to bring the number of episodes up around the magic syndication count of 100, to draw up a new deal more favorable to Fox. And according to TVLine, those talks are now actually under way.

"We remain hopeful that Fringe will be able to continue," co-creator J.J. Abrams said. The outcome of those talks will determine whether the last episode of season 4 will function as a season finale or a series finale.
Tags: Chuck, Robert Greenblatt, Fringe, J.J. Abrams
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January 23, 2012 at 10:09 am
(1) Harry Lime says:

Join the Twitter campaign for this week’s Fringe episode! http://morethanoneofeverything.net/?p=1414

Let’s show Fox that the fanbase is alive!

January 23, 2012 at 1:48 pm
(2) starrpoint says:

if the wanted Chuck to keep viewers they should not have switched it to Fridays.

Most people who liked the show are going out on Fridays. That’s sport night all over America

January 23, 2012 at 1:56 pm
(3) Chas says:

Greenblatt’s comments were not awesome.
He’s got a lot of nerve for sticking it in the death time slot, never promoting it, not putting the show online, and then saying, “Well its your fault the show isn’t successful!”

January 23, 2012 at 6:58 pm
(4) Eric says:

First thing’s first, Chuck should never have been moved to Fridays. It’s an obvious dead space for television shows because real people have lives and things to take care of on Friday nights.
Secondly, not uploading the episodes onto the show’s site for the first time in years was an complete dick-move by NBC.

It’s not that Chuck‘s time had come, it that they forced it to.

January 24, 2012 at 2:16 pm
(5) Sooze says:

In the words of Dean Winchester “What a DB.”

January 25, 2012 at 12:53 pm
(6) Frank Spero says:

LEAVE FRINGE ALONE i for one like fringe just i liked no ordinary family who the hell are you people to pull these shows away from fans

January 25, 2012 at 12:56 pm
(7) Frank Spero says:

WERE the HELL is my comment whats the matter to strong for your imbicile minds

January 25, 2012 at 5:21 pm
(8) SanDiegoSharksFan says:

@Frank – Try refreshing your browser, (imbecile)…

January 30, 2012 at 3:26 pm
(9) ChuckF says:

I may be the only one to use a set top box in my entire neighborhood. But Nielsen can’t reach me despite the fact that I watch “Chuck” (rather I ogle Sarah) nearly every Friday night when I can find it. Folks who give out their phone numbers to the Nielsen people a swamped with spam calls. So I guess there is no hope for those of us who want our privacy AND who also want to see a great show. Let’s find another way to do ratings…

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