NBC’s early Chuck airing vindicated

Spy-fi show posts strong numbers.

NUP_111042_1145Chuck has posted another impressive ratings score for its third episode of the season, making the network decision to air the series early seem like a wise one.

The show, which stars Zachary Levi, Adam Baldwin and Yvonne Strahovski, posted 2.6/7 for its last episode, which translates to roughly 7.3 million viewers, an increase from the second episode of last week’s double bill, which posted 7.2 million.

Chuck has been a quiet little success for NBC, which initially prevaricated on whether or not to renew it. The show’s appeal has proved to be an enduringly populist one, with its relatively light-hearted approach seeming to strike a chord among a TV audience that is saturated with realistic, gritty post-9/11 drama. It’s also a breath of fresh air for the network, which has suffered with science-fiction of late.

Hopefully, Chuck’s success will begin to teach lessons for television executives, particularly regarding season breaks. Chuck is building on its audience because the gap hasn’t been too long between seasons – a March premiere date would have undoubtedly seen its share reduced by quite a margin, given the length of time that casual viewers would have had to wait. Bringing it back in January was a strong decision from NBC, but it also smacked slightly of desperation – its other supposedly flagship sci-fi release, Day One, has been consistently cut down to the point where it’s just a feature-length event now. Chuck is now the golden boy of the network when before it was a curious project for the trigger-happy network, or at least, that’s how the perception of it was. Heroes was number one, nothing could touch it, but as that ship sank (and sank, and sank, and sank), this rose to the occasion.

It’s just nice to see a success story for once, isn’t it?