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.
Sick and tired of Chuck: NBC Entertainment Chairman Robert Greenblatt.
© Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images
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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