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Chuck is an action-comedy television program from the United States created by Josh Schwartz and Chris Fedak. The series is about an "average computer-whiz-next-door" who receives an encoded e-mail from an old college friend now working in the CIA; the message embeds the only remaining copy of the world's greatest spy secrets into Chuck's brain.

Produced by College Hill Pictures, Wonderland Sound and Vision and Warner Bros. Television, the series premiered on September 24, 2007, on NBC, airing on Monday nights at 8/7c leading into Heroes. Despite receiving a full season pickup, the first season contained only thirteen episodes; production was stalled due to the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike. The second season started on September 29, 2008, with a full 22-episode season order. NBC released the first episode of season two a week before its air date via multiple online distribution methods, and cable on demand.

After a two-month "Save Chuck" campaign mounted by fans, Chuck was renewed for a third season with a thirteen-episode order that was subsequently extended to nineteen episodes. A major sponsorship deal between NBC and the Subway restaurant chain was also announced to help cover costs of the third season. NBC announced on November 19, 2009 that season 3 of Chuck would premiere on Sunday, January 10, 2010 with a two hour premiere at 9/8c before moving to its permanent timeslot of Mondays 8/7c.


Chuck Bartowski (Zachary Levi) is a twenty-something in Burbank, CAmarker who works as a computer expert at the Nerd Herd at his local Buy More (a parody of Best Buy's Geek Squad), a large retail consumer-electronics chain, with his best friend, Morgan Grimes (Joshua Gomez). Chuck's sister Ellie (Sarah Lancaster) is a doctor who is constantly encouraging him to make progress in his professional and romantic life. Also joining the cast is Ellie's now-husband, Devon "Captain Awesome" Woodcomb (Ryan McPartlin), also a doctor looking out for Chuck's social life. On the night of his birthday party, Chuck receives an e-mail from Bryce Larkin (Matthew Bomer), his former Stanford University roommate, who is now a "rogue" Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) agent. When he opens it, the entire database of all the US government's secret information—a neural supercomputer called The Intersect—is subliminally embedded into his brain. Both the National Security Agencymarker (NSA) and the CIA want the intelligence returned to them and dispatch agents of their own—Major John Casey (Adam Baldwin) and Sarah Walker (Yvonne Strahovski)—to retrieve the data.

Since the information was stolen by Bryce and the government's copy destroyed in his attempted escape, and since Chuck experiences "flashes" of information from the database activated by certain triggers around him (such as faces, voices, in-context keywords, and various objects), he must use the knowledge he now possesses to help the government thwart assassins and international terrorists—upending his previously uneventful life. In order to preserve their safety, Chuck must keep his newfound occupation a secret from his family and friends, forcing Casey and Walker to establish an uneasy alliance and secret identities; Walker poses as Chuck's girlfriend and takes a cover job at the local restaurant next to the Buy More (formerly Wienerlicious, currently Orange Orange) while Casey gets a job at the Buy More, with the shared goal of protecting Chuck at all costs.

In the meantime, the government attempts to rebuild the Intersect computer. As it nears completion, Casey is ordered to kill Chuck as soon as the new Intersect is ready. However, in the premiere of season 2, it is sabotaged, keeping Chuck alive.

As the series progresses, it is revealed that Bryce is still alive and that a rogue spy agency called "Fulcrum" is searching for the Intersect, which they believe to still be in the possession of Bryce, not Chuck. Several Fulcrum agents have independently discovered that Chuck actually is the Intersect, but all have been apprehended or killed before they could pass the information on.

It is also revealed that Fulcrum is attempting to build its own Intersect, and that Fulcrum believes the CIA has stopped trying to rebuild its own. In the episode "Chuck Versus the Suburbs" (February 16, 2009), the collection of all secrets from Fulcrum's own Intersect testbed project was implanted into Chuck's head. Eventually, (presumably) all of the Intersect information is removed by Chuck's father and the Intersect's chief inventor, Steven Bartowski (a.k.a. "Orion", played by Scott Bakula); however, in the second season finale "Chuck Versus the Ring" (April 27, 2009), Chuck voluntarily uploads the newest version of the Intersect into himself which allows him to flash on other skills à la The Matrix, rather than just the raw information and computation of the earlier Intersect.

Cast and characters



Josh Schwartz and Chris Fedak wrote the script for the first episode which was initially given a put pilot commitment by NBC before a pilot order was green lit by the network in January 2007. Schwartz and Fedak both attended the University of Southern Californiamarker and the latter pitched the idea to Schwartz who agreed to develop the project with him. Joseph McGinty Nichol, Schwartz's fellow executive producer on The O.C., directed the first hour of the series and consequently became an executive producer via his production company, Wonderland Sound and Vision. Fedak, Peter Johnson, Scott Rosenbaum, Matthew Miller and Allison Adler also serve as co-executive producers. NBC gave the series an early pick-up and a thirteen-episode order on May 10, 2007. On November 26, 2007, TV Guide reported that NBC had picked up the series for a full, 22 episode season.


Zachary Levi and Adam Baldwin were the first two to be cast in February 2007 in the roles of Chuck Bartowski and veteran NSA agent Major John Casey, respectively. Fedak always had Baldwin in mind for the role of John Casey and the producers found that the actor was a "perfect fit" for the character during the first casting session. Relative newcomer Yvonne Strahovski was chosen for the female lead role of CIA officer Sarah Walker in the same month. Casting continued throughout March with Sarah Lancaster, Joshua Gomez, and Natalie Martinez landing the parts of Dr. Ellie Bartowski (Chuck's older sister), Morgan Grimes (Chuck's best friend), and Kayla Hart (Chuck's neighbor and love interest), respectively. The Kayla Hart character was dropped before filming because creators Chris Fedak and Josh Schwartz found it unlikely and too complicated to the storyline that two women would be pining over Chuck. Morgan's surname was later changed to "Grimes" and Sarah's surname was changed to "Walker" as it was previously "Kent".



Despite heavy promotion from NBC and soaring critical reviews, Chuck has suffered in domestic ratings due to stiff competition of established hits from ABC (Dancing with the Stars), FOX (House), and CBS (How I Met Your Mother, The Big Bang Theory) in the Monday 8:00–9:00 pm ET timeslot. Its ratings have also been affected by the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike in the first season and President Barack Obama's prime time news conference that led to the show being preempted for a week in the second season, shortly after NBC had done heavy promotion for the show around the Super Bowl.
Season Timeslot (EDT) Season premiere Season finale TV season Rank U.S. viewers

in millions
1 Monday 8:00 pm (September 24, 2007 – December 3, 2007)

Thursday 8:00 pm (January 24, 2008)

Thursday 10:00 pm (January 24, 2008)
September 24, 2007 January 24, 2008 2007–2008 #65 8.68
2 Monday 8:00 pm (September 29, 2008 – April 27, 2009) September 29, 2008 April 27, 2009 2008–2009 #71 7.36

  1. Sheffield, Rob (September 20, 2007), "We Like to Watch". Rolling Stone (1035):44
  2. Bianco, Robert (September 7, 2007) "10 picks for 2007". USA Today.
  3. Bianco, Robert (September 24, 2007), "'Chuck' comes to fall season's rescue". USA Today.
  4. Flynn, Gillian (September 28, 2007). "Geek Squad". Entertainment Weekly. (956):93-94
  5. Pastorek, Whitney (December 7, 2007), "BATTLE OF THE BOX STORES". Entertainment Weekly. (968):69

Critical reception

Early reviews for Chuck were strong. Rolling Stone magazine included the show on its Fall 2007 "We Like to Watch" list, saying the show "wipes the floor with the other fall debuts." Chuck landed on USA Today's list of the "10 Picks for 2007", and they called Levi's performance "incredibly winning", giving the comedy three-out-of-four stars. Chuck drew numerous comparisons to another critically-acclaimed comedy that debuted in Fall 2007—Reaper—which also starred a twenty-something underachiever who works in a large retail, "big-box" store (Work Bench) and is drawn into heroism against his will.

As the year 2008 drew to a close, the show received further critical acclaim. In December of that year Time magazine named the show one of the top 10 TV series of the year. It also made the year-end top 10 list of the Chicago Tribune, Television Without Pity's list of TV Shows We Wish More People Watched, The Star-Ledger's Top TV shows of 2008 (#4), The Miami Herald's TV's Top 5 list, The New York Observer's Top 10 TV Shows of the Year (#6), and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette mentions Chuck as one of the few bright spots in television in 2008.

The Chicago Tribune's Maureen Ryan wrote that "the show pays attention to the mechanics of storytelling and doesn't just try to coast on the comedy." She continued, "[Given] the level of attention paid to all those other things—emotion, suspense, plotting, character—Chuck ends up being one of the TV scene's greatest pleasures at the moment." Television Without Pity's Angel Cohn finds Chuck to be a well-written show, saying "it features some of the smartest and most quick-witted dialogue on TV". He praises the ensemble cast and notes "while the first season was good, this show has really hit its stride in its second season." James Poniewozik of Time magazine says the show is a "delight" and that with the second season the "new episodes quickly jump back in, with higher stakes and sharper jokes." The Star-Ledger Alan Sepinwall calls Chuck "the most purely entertaining show currently on television, whether you're talking network or cable." He states that "what makes Chuck so special ... is that there's a fundamental warmth and humanity underneath the jokes", with "a cast of appealing characters played by very good actors."


Season 1 of Chuck enjoyed much formal recognition. The program was mentioned multiple times in IGN's 2007 year-in-review awards. Along with winning the honor of Best New TV Series, Sarah Walker won the award for best TV character, and Chuck and Sarah as a couple won the "Couple That We Rooted for the Most" award. Chuck was also nominated for "Best New TV Comedy Series" at the 2008 People's Choice Awards, which aired on January 8, 2008, but lost to Samantha Who? The series stunt coordinator Merritt Yohnka won the 2007-2008 Primetime Emmy for "Outstanding Stunt Coordination". Chuck was also nominated for "Outstanding Main Title Design" in 2007, but didn't win. Merritt Yohnka also won the 2008-2009 Primetime Emmy for "Outstanding Stunt Coordination", back-to-back wins for the same award. In 2009, the series won the Ewwy Award for Best Comedy Series.

Campaign for series renewal

Despite being one of the first series to be renewed by NBC for the 2008-2009 television season, Chuck was classified as a show "on the bubble" between renewal and cancellation in April 2009 after NBC decided to delay its decision on its renewal for a third season until early May. The show's second season did not improve on or maintain the audience numbers received in the first season and has consistently obtained low ratings, making it one of the least-watched shows in its Monday 8:00 pm ET timeslot. Concerned that the show would not be renewed for a third season, fans launched a "Save Chuck" campaign that gained momentum with the use of social-networking websites like Twitter and Facebook.

Fansite launched the first organized fan effort, the Watch/Buy/Share campaign, on March 18, 2009; a letter writing campaign was later added to the effort. The week of April 6, 2009, television blogger Kath Skerry changed the name of her website to and used Twitter to notify her readers to support the show, prompting television columnists Alan Sepinwall of The Star-Ledger, Maureen Ryan of Chicago Tribune and Josef Adalian of TelevisionWeek to write Chuck-related news on their websites and Twitter feeds. Sepinwall also wrote an open letter to NBC on reasons for renewal, while Ryan encouraged fan support by listing the various ways in which they could contribute to the campaign to save Chuck. One fan, Wendy Farrington, was inspired by a product placement in second season episodes to organize a campaign to purchase "Footlong" submarine sandwiches from Subway on the air date of the second season finale. This movement gained support from various cast and crew members, with actor Zachary Levi seen leading hundreds of fans to a Subway restaurant in Birminghammarker, Englandmarker. Members of the show's cast and crew participated in a special "rally cry" episode of Chuck vs the Podcast on April 24, 2009, just before the season finale, to encourage fans to keep the campaign going and thank them for their support. On the campaign, co-creator Josh Schwartz remarked that it "has been one of the most amazing experiences of [his] life to witness — and certainly the most creatively gratifying". Other fan efforts include the "Have a Heart, Renew Chuck" campaign, involving Chuck fans donating money to the American Heart Association on behalf of NBC. By the NBC upfront on May 19, 2009 over $17,000 was raised.

The campaign also prompted press and media coverage, with The Hollywood Reporter calling Chuck one of the "most discussed bubble show[s] online". Linda Holmes, writing for NPR, noted the support the campaign has received from both fans and critics, and comments: "It's very common for chasms to open between critics and viewers... But here, critics find themselves passionately advocating for something that's extraordinarily enjoyable to watch." James Poniewozik of Time magazine wrote about the efficacy of save-this-show columns and fan protests, saying, "The sad fact of advertising-supported television is that, unlike cable, it still rewards breadth, not depth, of viewership. Four million people who watch a show really hard are still just four million people to an ad buyer. Unless they spend money." He stated that the "Finale & Footlong" campaign was a far more effective way to demonstrate support since Subway is one of the show's major sponsors. However, Josh Bernoff of Advertising Age remarks, "Thousands of visible, loyal viewers does not equal millions of actual viewers. Objects in the groundswell may be smaller than they appear. People who congregate online are not a representative sample."

In support of the show, Nestlé sent more than 1,000 packs of its Wonka Nerds candy to NBC after Josh Schwartz made such a suggestion to fans in an April 20, 2009 interview with The New York Times. Additionally, Chuck won the annual "Save Our Shows" poll by USA Today in which 43,000 people voted, topping the poll with 54% of respondents favoring renewal, beating other bubble shows such as Cold Case (45%) and Without a Trace (41%). The petition campaigns were also mentioned on the May 12, 2009 episode of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

NBC's decision to renew the show for a thirteen-episode third season was announced on May 17, 2009. Both NBC's Ben Silverman and co-creator Chris Fedak have confirmed that the option remains for a pickup of nine more episodes. Although Silverman has claimed that NBC is not looking to lower costs, Schwartz has stated that series production studio Warner Bros. Television had asked the producers to make budget cuts to meet a decrease in the license fee by NBC. Silverman, Fedak and Schwartz have all stated that the show's quality will not be impacted.

On October 28, 2009, numerous media sources began to run reports that NBC had picked up an additional six episodes.

Broadcast and distribution

Broadcast history

The first showing of the pilot occurred on July 27, 2007 at Comic-Con International in San Diegomarker. The series was originally slated to air on Tuesday nights at 9PM/8c as announced at the 2007 Upfronts but this was later changed to Monday nights at 8PM/7c as announced during the 2007 Television Critics Association summer press tour. The season premiere aired on September 24, 2007 on NBC. The pilot was leaked onto torrent websites on July 22, 2007. All thirteen episodes produced before the 2007 Writers Guild of America strike have aired. The last two episodes of the original thirteen aired on January 24, 2008, with episode 12 airing at 8PM/7c and episode 13 at 10 pm/9c, three days after they aired in Canada.

Season Two premiered on September 29, 2008. While the series originally had a 13 episode order, NBC ordered another nine, ensuring the series will get the full 22-episode treatment. The theme song is "Short Skirt/Long Jacket" by Cake.

On February 2, 2009, Chuck became the first scripted television series in the U.S. to broadcast a full-length 3D television episode. The episode was broadcast using the ColorCode 3D stereoscopy system, and could be viewed by wearing a pair of glasses distributed as part of a national promotion for the movie "Monsters Vs. Aliens," which was sponsored by Intel.

International distribution

Country TV network(s) Weekly schedule (local time)
Argentinamarker Warner Channel 7:00 pm Sundays
Arubamarker Warner Channel 8:00 pm Sundays
Australia FOX8 8:30 pm Wednesdays EST (Season 1) – Premiered April 1, 20098:30 pm Thursdays EST (Season 2)
Barbadosmarker Warner Channel 8:00 pm Sundays
Belgiummarker VT4

la deux
6:35 pm Sundays

6:40 pm Saturdays
Boliviamarker Warner Channel 8:00 pm Sundays
Brazilmarker Warner Channel (subtitles portuguese)

SBT (dubbed version)

Six-month window past NBC broadcast

6:00 pm Sundays
Canadamarker Citytv

/> Spacemarker

/> Ztélé (French version) || Simulcast with NBC broadcast

/> 10:00 pm Thursdays

/> Ztélé: 09:00 pm Wednesdays (with repeats)
Chilemarker Warner Channel 10:00 pm Sundays
Colombiamarker Warner Channel 7:00 pm Sundays
Costa Ricamarker Warner Channel 6:00 pm Sundays
Croatiamarker RTL Televizija 10:30 pm Tuesdays (Season 1)
Curaçaomarker Warner Channel 8:00 pm Sundays
Czech Republicmarker Prima Cool 8:15 pm Wednesday (Season 1) – Premiered April 1, 2009
Denmarkmarker 6'eren 9:00 pm Thursday
Dominican Republicmarker Warner Channel 8:00 pm Sundays
Ecuadormarker Warner Channel 7:00 pm Sundays
El Salvadormarker Warner Channel 6:00 pm Sundays
Fijimarker Maitv 8:00 pm Mondays
Francemarker TF1marker 2:15 pm Sundays (Season 1 premiered November 9, 2008. Season 2 in progress.)
Germanymarker ProSieben 5:00 pm Saturdays (Premiered August 22, 2009.)
Greecemarker Star Channel 5:45 pm Saturdays-Sundays(Season 1)
Guatemalamarker Warner Channel 6:00 pm Sundays
Hondurasmarker Warner Channel 6:00 pm Sundays
Hong Kongmarker AXN (Pay-tv)

TVB J2 (Free-to-air)
11:00 pm Thursday

1:00 pm, 10:30 pm Sunday – Premiered May 2008
Hungarymarker RTL Klub 9:20 pm Tuesdays - Premiere July 14, 2009
Icelandmarker Stöð 2 9:10 pm Tuesdays
Indiamarker AXN 10:00 pm Wednesdays, 7:00 pm Saturdays
Indonesiamarker AXN 8:00 pm Mondays
Irelandmarker TV3 / 3e Premiered June 7, 2008, Now shown @ 8pm Saturday nights on sister Channel 3e
Israelmarker HOT Zone 5 pm Wednesdays – Premiered January 7, 2009
Italymarker Steel (Pay-tv)

Italia 1 (Free-to-air)
9:00 pm Sundays — Premiered June 22, 2008

10.45 pm Tuesdays — Premiered June 9, 2009
Lithuaniamarker TV1 6:00 pm Saturdays and Sundays — Premiered August 2, 2009. Only first season aired.
Malaysiamarker AXN 9:00 pm Tuesdays
Mexicomarker Warner Channel 7:00 pm Sundays
New Zealandmarker TV2 9:30 pm Wednesdays — Premiered June 18, 2008
Nicaraguamarker Warner Channel 6:00 pm Sundays
Norwaymarker Viasat4 9:35 pm Mondays — Premiered August 18, 2008
Pakistanmarker AXN 9:30 pm Wednesdays, 6:30 pm Saturdays
Panamamarker Warner Channel 7:00 pm Sundays
Paraguaymarker Warner Channel 6:00 pm Sundays
Perumarker Warner Channel 7:00 pm Sundays
Philippinesmarker AXN


Jack TV
9:00 pm Mondays

9:00 pm Thursdays

10:00 pm
Polandmarker TVN Siedem 1:00 pm Sundays (Season 2)
Portugalmarker RTP2 (Free-to-air)

AXN (Pay-tv)

RTP1 (FTA reruns)
10:40 pm Wednesdays

22:30 pm Fridays

3:00 pm Sundays
Romaniamarker Pro TV 11:45 pm Mondays to Thursdays — Premiered August 20, 2009
Saint Luciamarker Warner Channel 8:00 pm Sundays
Singaporemarker AXN 9:00 pm Mondays
Sloveniamarker Kanal A 10:45 pm Fridays–Sundays — Season 1 premiered September 4, 2009
Spainmarker TV3

Canal 9

Calle 13

10:50 pm Thursdays

08:00 pm Saturdays and Sundays

9:30 pm Thursdays

Tuesdays 23:15
South Africa M-Net 7:30 pm Tuesdays — Premiered June 4, 2008
Sri Lankamarker AXN on DialogTV 06:30 pm Mondays — Premiered May 5
Surinamemarker Warner Channel 8:00 pm Sundays
Swedenmarker TV6 8:00 pm Mondays
Switzerlandmarker SF2 6:45 pm Monday to Friday (Season 1)
Taiwanmarker AXN 9:00 pm Tuesdays
Thailandmarker AXN 9:00 pm Mondays
Trinidad and Tobagomarker NBC-e 8:00 pm Mondays (Season 2)
Turkeymarker CNBC-e 8:00 pm Tuesdays (Season 1)8:00 pm Mondays (Season 2)8:00 pm Mondays (Season 3 will start in March 2010)
United Kingdommarker Virgin1 10:00 pm Mondays (Season 1) — Premiered April 7, 2008

9:00 pm Tuesdays (Season 2) — Premiered June 9, 2009
Uruguaymarker Warner Channel 7:00 pm Sundays
United Statesmarker NBC 8:00 pm Mondays, 7:00 pm Central time
Venezuelamarker Venevisión

Warner Channel
7:00 pm Thursdays — Premiered 10 February

7:00 pm Sundays

Online distribution

In the U.S., the entire first season is available for purchase on the iTunes Store, as well as the Playstation Network and Xbox Live Marketplace. In an aggressive marketing campaign by NBC, the pilot episode was released across a broad range of media from satellite broadcasting to popular social networking websites such as Facebook, shown on United Airlines flights, freely distributed on video on demand on about 30 cable and satellite systems including Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications and Dish Network, on Yahoo, and from Amazon Unbox.Also, prior to the airing of Chuck in the United Kingdom the pilot episode was released as a free temporary download on iTunes. A full week before the second season premier in the US, iTunes offered a free download of the first episode as a 'pre-aire premiere', this promotion was also available on the Xbox live marketplace. The second season is also available for purchase in the iTunes Store.

Home media

Name Release dates Ep #
Region 1 Region 2 Region 4
The Complete First Season September 16, 2008 (DVD)

November 11, 2008 (Blu-ray Disc)
August 18, 2008 November 12 2008 13
The Complete Second Season January 5, 2010 October 5, 2009 TBA 22

Both the DVD and Blu-ray Disc box sets are distributed by Warner Home Video.

The DVD and Blu-ray Disc box sets of The Complete First Season contain the same special features: deleted scenes ("Declassified Scenes"); "Chuck's World—an inside look at character development and casting sessions"; "Chuck on Chuck"—commentaries by Zachary Levi, Joshua Gomez, Josh Schwartz and Chris Fedak; bloopers ("Chuck vs. the Chuckles"); and "Chuck's Online World—a gallery of web originated mini-featurettes".

On October 28, 2009, Warner Home Video announced that the second season of Chuck will be released on January 5, 2010. Like its predecessor, Chuck: The Complete Second Season will be available in both DVD and Blu-ray Disc formats.

Other media


In May 2007, NBC announced that their official website would launch "MyNBC" allowing users to be more interactive with selected shows. MyNBC will allow fans to delve inside Chuck's "brain" which will host hot spots of top-secret government information that the title character possesses. It will also have bonus video features. In addition, NBC further announced in July 2007 that tie-in micro websites where fans who log onto would be directed to giving them access to exclusive content of the show and a blog written by the title character's best friend and sidekick, Morgan, would be launched in September 2007. NBC is reportedly expected to spend about $8 million in total promoting the show.


Wildstorm, a DC Comics imprint, produced a six-issue mini-series written by Peter Johnson and Zev Borow (series co-executive producer and writer, respectively), with art by Jeremy Haun and Phil Noto. It started in June 2008. A trade paperback collection was published in July, 2009. It also includes a public service announcement on brushing one's teeth from Captain Awesome and two gag adventures with Morgan based on film noir and The Odyssey. (WildStorm also releases Brian K. Vaughan's Ex Machina, a series which sees its main character fused with a technological structure, issue #39 of which is used within Chuck to conceal the Intersect Operating manual from General Beckman, Casey, and Sarah for Chuck's studies from Season 2, episode #17 onwards.)


  1. Sheffield, Rob (September 20, 2007), "We Like to Watch". Rolling Stone (1035):44
  2. Bianco, Robert (September 7, 2007) "10 picks for 2007". USA Today.
  3. Bianco, Robert (September 24, 2007), "'Chuck' comes to fall season's rescue". USA Today.
  4. Flynn, Gillian (September 28, 2007). "Geek Squad". Entertainment Weekly. (956):93-94
  5. Pastorek, Whitney (December 7, 2007), "BATTLE OF THE BOX STORES". Entertainment Weekly. (968):69

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