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Channel Surfing – May 22

All the tube news that’s fit to surf …

– Memorial Day weekend means TV marathons, and has a round-up of ’em.

Nurse Jackie, the quirky new nurse dramedy starring Edie “Carmela Soprano” Falco, debuts June 8 on Showtime, but you can watch the first episode now, free, at The password: “shifthappens.”

– Now that the networks have announced their schedules for next season, they have to deal with the dismal stats of the just-concluded 2008/09 season: ratings were down 16 percent.

Don’t read this story unless you want to know the major twist that will kick off The CW’s remake of Melrose Place in the fall.

– Tonight’s season finales: Starz’ terrific comedies Party Down (10:30PM ET) and Head Case (10PT), which features a funny cameo by Jerry Seinfeld.

– What was missing from the American Idol finale (besides an Adam Lambert win, of course)? A goofy Will Ferrell song that was cut.

Fringe‘s Kirk Acevedo took to his Facebook page earlier this week to say he’d been fired from the show. Not so, says a show producer.

– First Guiding Light is cancelled, and now All My Children killed Stuart Chandler. What is going on in daytime TV?!

– Just when you think you can’t possibly love Neil Patrick Harris more, you find out he has pop-up books in his guest room, Kiehl’s products in the shower and a selection of magazines in his bathroom. NPH!

– And in more things that make perfect sense to me, Project Runway star (and he is the real star of the show) Tim Gunn will become a Marvel Comics superhero.

Chuck vs. the Slow-Motion Kill Shot?

Chuck. You love it, or you’ve never seen it; that’s pretty much the TV viewerverse at this point, with the unfortunate reality that those of us in group one are far outnumbered by those in group two. Having just put forth maximum effort on Chuck’s massive, multipronged, castsupported Save the Show campaign, loyal Nerd Herders remain anxious for any hint of news before NBC makes its official schedule announcement next week. Here’s the latest scoop on the show’s future, courtesy of’s Michael Ausiello:

Question: What’s the latest on Chuck’s renewal? –Dave
Ausiello: Warner Bros. and NBC are haggling over money. Shocking, I know. If a deal can be worked out – and I have every reason to believe it can (and will) be – it’ll be back for a 13-episode third season.

This, for fans, is horrible news. A 13-episode order is one thing for a new midseason replacement. Sometimes you have too much quality merchandise for the schedule. (And sometimes, not). Regardless, there’s no shame in a new show being given a concentrated opportunity to establish itself, with the fall failures cleared away. Some huge hit shows have started that way – Moonlighting, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and The Office , as a few examples.

But that’s not the case for Chuck. Its 2007 starter season was cut short, courtesy of the industry-wide writers strike. The recently-concluded second season gave the showrunners and writers the chance to really hit their stride, showcasing the entertaining action-dramedy blend that inspired such intense fan loyalty. A 13-episode order, bluntly, kills, or at least seriously weakens, the fan commitment.

The way I see it, Chuck returns at the start of the next season, ends after 13 episodes, and leaves a nine-month forget-me gap until it’s renewed (or not). Or, a 13-episode third season doesn’t return until midseason, to the considerably less excitement of fans who’ve had nine months to forget about the show/find other new favorites/decide to move to Hawaii and pursue their dream job of becoming a Benihana chef, thus leaving them less time to watch TV at all. Either way, a nine-month time out – time enough to bring a new life into the world, after all – is also just about enough time to slow walk Chuck to a premature grave.

Anyone disagree?

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