TVision: NBC delays decision on 'Chuck', 'Law & Order'

Tuesday, May 5, 2009 at 9:07pm
Fans are left hanging with NBC's decision to delay news of whether or not 'Chuck' will be renewed until May 19.

NBC left more questions unanswered than resolved regarding the fall schedule Monday as they announced a partial list of renewed programs and new shows. But they delayed until May 19 the final decision on such key productions as Chuck, Law & Order, and My Name Is Earl.

That move is widely seen as NBC waiting to see what its competitors do, even though they've been deluged with support for Chuck from both fans and publications like USA Today and Entertainment Weekly. Reportedly they've been in negotiations with the producers of My Name Is Earl, but there's been absolutely nothing said publicly about Law & Order, once one of NBC's greatest prestige shows.

Venerable producer Dick Wolf has long been on record saying he wanted to beat the Gunsmoke record for a drama (20 seasons), and most observers still think the show's a good bet to return. But next month's finale is being written in such a way that if it doesn't get renewed, it will make a worthy conclusion for the show that helped make the police procedural the dominant form of television drama the past two decades.

The programs NBC did give new seasons include their latest cop show Southland, the new comedy Parks and Recreation, fresh Thursday editions of Saturday Night Live Weekend Update and Heroes. But among the six pilots that were picked up, the most interesting (and controversial) news concerns the network's revival of Parenthood, a Ron Howard film vehicle that's already failed once as a weekly series (1990).

Parenthood, along with medical shows Mercy and Trauma are the big draws among the new productions. Despite the online release Sunday of a story that said Medium had also been renewed, the NBC press release issued Monday indicated no decision has yet been made about that program.

What Monday's announcement also revealed was exactly how unsure and tentative things are these days on the network front. Everyone is proceeding extremely slowly and carefully, with prime emphasis on cost containment and demographic emphasis. If the producers and writers can also make a good show, that's a bonus.

4 Comments on this post:

By: Kosh III on 5/6/09 at 6:06

Meanwhile, Fox has wisely decided to renew Fringe, the hot new sci-fi show.

By: JeffF on 5/6/09 at 9:49

Canceling "Life" was very disappointing to me. I cannot think of another program I consistently watched on that NBC. I guess 4th place was bad enough for GE.

By: Gusdog on 5/6/09 at 12:42

Jeff, for maybe the first time ever, I completely agree with you. "Life" is one of my favorite shows. Very disappointed that NBC didn't renew it.

By: FAMUAce on 5/6/09 at 5:38

The execs at NBC do not allow for their shows to build a following. They are extremely quick with the hook. Shows like My Own Worst Enemy, Life, and Chuck should have time to build an audience. They are cleverly written and have interesting plot lines. I guess everything has to be immediate or else.