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NBC renews 'Chuck,' embraces Subway money

'Chuck' will return to Monday nights at 8 p.m. in the spring after the Olympics

<p>Zachary Levi of 'Chuck'</p>

Zachary Levi of 'Chuck'

Credit: NBC

 

Will the new official "Chuck" theme be the "$5 Footlong" song?

NBC formally announced on Tuesday (May 19) that "Chuck" will return for a third season, with a rather large assist from the good people at Subway.

The critically beloved action-dramedy averaged a 2.8 rating in the 18-49 demographic and 7.3 million viewers, putting it on the bubble for NBC, soon to be glutted with a primetime onslaught of Jay Leno. Fans responded to the show's uncertain status with online campaigning, mailed Nerds and repeated trips to Subway, a major sponsor throughout the second season.

Expect to see even more sandwiches on "Chuck" when it returns for the 2009-10 season, as the multi-platform partnership with Subway will include "significant integration into the show, as well as traditional advertising tie-ins."

"This innovative partnership is a perfect example of the effectiveness of the NBC Infront," says Ben Silverman, Co-Chairman, NBC Entertainment and Universal Media Studios, in NBC's official statement. "By involving Subway early in the process, we were able to bring a quality show like 'Chuck' back to NBC for next season. Everybody wins -- NBC, Subway, and the loyal fans who so enthusiastically lobbied for 'Chuck's' renewal." 

"Chuck" has done yeoman's work in a brutal Monday 8 p.m. timeslot opposite hits including "Dancing with the Stars," "House" and CBS' "Big Bang Theory" and "How I Met Your Mother." The show will return to NBC on Monday nights at 8 after the Winter Olympics next spring.

"The synergy of the deal with Subway validates the Infront process," says Mike Pilot, president of sales and marketing for NBC Universal. "Our goal with the Infront is to initiate early and ongoing dialogue with our advertising clients regarding the network's programming. We were thrilled when Subway, who had been integrated into the show lately, expressed a desire to expand their relationship with the series in a creative way." 

In NBC's release, the network says the return of "Chuck" is a triumph for critics and fans of the show, referencing the online fight to save it, as well as the Twitter campaign. This is almost the first time that Twitter has been given credit for much of anything by a television network. 

Also feeling like a winner today is Subway.

"Our customers love 'Chuck' so we are happy to help bring the show back through our partnership with NBC," says Tony Pace, chief marketing officer for the Subway Franchisee Advertising Fund Trust. "We have been working with NBC Universal extensively, well beyond the traditional upfront marketplace discussions, to craft ground-breaking, multi-platform deals, which we believe provide a more engaging way of getting our messages to our consumer audiences. And, since program development is essentially year round, we have found NBC's Infront process to be helpful in that we can be part of the conversation as programming decisions are made." 

NBC will formally announce its 2009-2010 schedule later on Tuesday.

 

Dan-feinberg-sm
Daniel Fienberg
Executive Editor
A long-time member of the TCA Board and a longer-time blogger of "American Idol," Dan Fienberg writes about TV, except for when he writes about movies or sometimes writes about the Red Sox. But never music. He would sound stupid talking about music.
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