Sunday, March 21, 2010

Nielsen Families - How You Can Save CHUCK

Here are easy ways a member of the Nielsen Family can keep CHUCK on for many years.  Before I even detail how Nielsen families can help, let me say that THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IS:

WATCH CHUCK LIVE (IMPORTANT: do not change channels during commercials)

Don't DVR it* and wait to watch it tomorrow.  Don't DVR it* and watch it a week later.  Watch it LIVEYou can DVR every other show since none of the ones at that hour are in danger of being canceled.  ONLY CHUCK.  So, tune in 5 minutes before it comes on (to make sure you get to record your view as it starts) and stick around until the hour is up and the show is over.  Oh, and record your view (as detailed below).

Let me also say that the strategies we used last year to "save Chuck" are not going to help us this time.  You can watch the show online if you must but it won't bring the show back.  You can buy Subway sammiches but it won't save the show.  You can write letters but it won't save the show.  You can create polls, Facebook groups, and pray... but none of it will save the show.  We HAVE TO have people watching the show LIVE.  So, it is up to every fan who wants the show to survive to get people into the show and to spread the word about the show online as much as possible.

We have 2-months before NBC makes it decision.  NBC is going to renew CHUCK or cancel it based on TV ratings only.  So, we need as many people tuning in LIVE as possible.

Now for the Nielsen Families:

  • First, make sure you are a Nielsen Family member
  • Second, identify what type of meter (box) you have
  • Nielsen has different ways that their members record their viewings
    • Active/Passive Meters
    • Most members record their views via "Diaries" but these numbers are not counted in the overnights but do matter in the grand scheme of things.

Read these instructions for how you can maximize CHUCK's ratings via your specific Nielsen Family viewing habit recording scheme.


This is a box where you have to push a button to record your views.  You should have a button for each member in your house as well as buttons for guests.  Push EVERY BUTTON  when they flash.  Make sure to report ages of any guest watching between 18-49 years (18-34 is even better).  Have more TVs?  You can have Nielsen add boxes to those and push your buttons like crazy.  More ratings!  CHUCK returns for 12 more seasons!  Have a party every Monday if you must.  Get as many people into the room as you can... or get really good at pushing many buttons at the same time.


This is the most common Nielsen Family viewing habit recording tool.  You write down what you watched and send it in to Nielsen.  Make sure everyone in your household sends in that they watched CHUCK live and that you had lots of people there with you when you watched (full room... you hold parties every Monday).

If you know a Nielsen Family member, it is possible that they have NO CLUE how to save the show they love.  They may think they know but many are mislead by their power, or lack of power, to influence a show.  So, if you are part of Nielsen and are not watching CHUCK live, then please do so from now on.  Thank you.

*If you must DVR it, be sure to watch the episode prior to 3AM that day and DO NOT skip any commercials.  You must watch your DVR recording as if it were live.  You can actually watch the recording within 3-days and have it count but for it to be counted in overnight ratings, watch it prior to 3AM.


  1. I wish I was a Nielsen viewer and in the demographic. It sucks having the fate of something you love in the hands of people you don't even know. Nielsen families please do us proud!-reesespuff27

  2. The thing is, if we just tell EVERY CHUCK FAN to watch it live, it WILL filter down to the Nielsen viewers. But if we just say "Oh, only Nielsen viewers need to do this" then you dis-empower the entire fan base and people stop making an effort to get Nielsen viewers involved.

    Nothing else is going to save this show. Only ratings. I cannot emphasize that enough. No cute fan-scheme is going to do anything UNLESS it increases ratings.

  3. What episodes do you think are best for getting people into the show? Personally, I think First Date is good. It has a great mix of action, comedy, and drama (not just romantic drama either) and most importantly it does a great job introducing the premise of the show. It's a much stronger episode than the Pilot and more representative of the series.

    After that, if they want to watch another episode, I think Best Friend is a great choice because it's an excellent episode in almost every area (action, comedy, etc.), showcases a lot of the supporting characters that get bit parts in First Date, and is arguably the best episode that doesn't significantly tie into a larger arc.

  4. Oh yeah, and it also helps that First Date has a great and widely recognizable guest star.

  5. You only get 1 remote control per box, not multiple remotes per box, each member of the household has their own button they press so they are registered as a viewer, and you have a guest button for any number of guests, you press it enter guest 1's age and sex then move to guest 2 etc.
    Diaries only go to people in small towns, if you 're in a big city you get a box.
    Shame none of my roomates like Chuck anymore

    John H

  6. John, I thought you got multiple remotes. Thanks for the correction.

    Even if your roomates don't watch CHUCK (something wrong with them) there is nothing stopping you from stealing their buttons or pushing guest buttons. :)

    Gwindor, I don't think there is any one episode that is best to get someone into the show. I would just start with the pilot and go from there.

  7. I wish I could do something from Italy... Chuck is an amazing show and I love it... but from here I can't do anything... :(

  8. I don't know jack about tv, so if this is an incredibly stupid question please forgive me. Do I have to cancel the recording I set up in order for watching it live to make a difference? I don't understand how for non-Nielsen families chosing to actually be in front of the tv while the program is recording could make any difference.

  9. No, you do not need to cancel your recording. Just watch LIVE. You can watch your recording 12 million times after if you want.

  10. Does it matters for any Canadians live viewers? or NBC only interesting in USA Viewers? I wanna help, I really, really want a 4th season.

  11. I hear ya Magnus. I'm always trying to get people to watch the show, but sadly everyone I know either already watches the show or doesn't care. I'll try my best to get the word out for people to watch it live.

  12. Canadians viewers do not count but Canadians, and anyone around the planet, can get the word out. The Internet is read by everyone.

  13. I'm a fellow canadian watching religiously! It's now on CTV over here as well as NBC, so it's fantastic! I'll spread the word as usual! Thanks for the post it's wonderful! (twitter @genemarie1)

  14. Magnus and Everyone:

    I work with Nielsen ratings at work. The rating that really matters in the end is called a "C3" rating. It's short for "Commercial ratings plus 3 days". Basically, it's not a rating for the show, but for the commercials that run in the show.

    A few years ago all the advertising agencies begin making their ad buys based on the C3 ratings. They are published only rarely because it takes a few weeks for Nielsen to calculate them.

    What it really means is that even if you watch LIVE you CANNOT SWITCH CHANNELS during the commercials! If you do, you won't count in the C3 rating.

    You can watch on a DVR within 3 days as long as you don't fast forward through the commercials.

    Viewing of the commercials is what counts, not viewing of the show.

    (BTW--Diaries are used for local ratings only)

    Here's info on C3 ratings if you are interested:


  15. Diane, I appreciate you posting that. I didn't bother including that bit of info because it just complicates things. People just need to tune in live. No time shifting. Watch all commercials. No changing channels etc.

  16. >The thing is, if we just tell EVERY CHUCK FAN to watch it live, it WILL filter down to the Nielsen viewers.

    I'd say we need more than just the Chuck fans watching - we need new fans. Or non-fans who might become fans. Whatever.
    I saw someone of Twitter was was "catching up on Chuck" -I said please watch live. He said now that he's caught up, he can.

  17. Pamela, that is true. In fact, I just hung out with my cousin today who JUST caught up. So, he will be watching CHUCK live tomorrow.

  18. If someone wants to catch up first, should we tell them to watch it live anyway because the show needs all it can get?

  19. Gwindor, at this point, we need all we can get. If not now, then there may be no show to catch up on later.

  20. And if you're not a Neilsen family? And you don't know a Neilsen family? And your friends don't want to be told what to watch?
    Aren't ALL hulu views counted? Even those not with Nielsen?

  21. Dynomoose, if you have no other option than Hulu, then you are not trying hard enough. We need LIVE TV VIEWS. Nothing else matters at this point. So, spread the word and get people to watch. EVERYONE can do that.

  22. man, when i was 13 or so our family got a Nielson diary for a week. i wish we had it now so i could do this. nevertheless, i'll tell all my twitter friends who watch chuck to watch it live+to tell others to do it. dunno if it'll help, but its worth a shot

  23. I wiah I could become a neilsen viewer. Do they work with DirecTv?

  24. First of all how do you know if the subway thing will not work or make polls or doing any of the other things you said won't work again. You Don't know that. I again the big thing is to watch the whole thing and not just 5 minutes and then tape the rest. I also agree on spreading the word. but there is not alot of people that have Neilson so for us people that don't have it what are we suppose to do if you don't have it. I mean I speard the word alot and I even watch it on the way to school on the way home and watch it while waiting for class to start because I figure If someone see it and say that looks cool I should look it up then I think that will help out to

  25. Greg, I DO KNOW THAT or I wouldn't have said it. You think I would eliminate an entire line of options for us just because I THINK it MIGHT be true?

  26. Magnus is right, NBC brought us back because we showed there's a huge fandom for the show. They need to see ratings that match the fandom they saw in the spring. We need ratings!!!! Spread the word and tell everyone you know (even if they're not a niesen family,you never know who they know). This show had been firing on all cylinders and there are so many aspects to the show everyone will find something in the show they like. 3.11 looks like it will continue the streak of awesomeness!! Keep the awesomeness going for a season 4!!!! Everyone watch live!!!

  27. Hi there. I'm from Europe, but I'd really like to support Chuck. Is there any way, or I can just wait till the ratings are released? By any way I mean ANY, except for moving to the US which seems pretty undoable till the show begins...

  28. I'm from Portugal and i'm a huge fan of Chuck. We, the internacional fans - and we are a lot by the way-, have to spread the word, simple as that. And that's what I've been doing for a while now. It hurts me to see my favorite show in this position and not being able to do much.. :/ LET'S ALL FIGHT FOR CHUCK! AMERICAN VIEWERS, WE ARE COUNTING WITH YOU!

  29. Magnus,

    I believe you are correct that ratings are the only things that matter on the renewal front and that means targeting Nielsen viewers.

    There are 114,500,000 TV households, and 25,000 Nielsen daily metered household, meaning 1 Nielsen household represents 4,500 household in terms of ratings (then break that out into household viewers.) That means we need to influence a number of Nielsen viewers to watch.

    Trying to influence Nielsen households is important, but sticking with social media and this campaign is not the best way to catch a wide net. We need to do something that draws media attention to Chuck like last year's campaign, something that will reach these Nielsen households.

    I suggest we augment your Nielsen strategy with another fan campaign to save the show. The PR we could get from Mo Ryan, Sepinwall, EW and other avenues would only amplify this call to arms. Also, it is important to keep the fanbase empowered because doing so will keep them fighting for the success of the show.

    I've gt 2 ideas for you:
    1. Let's get college students to host chuck viewing parties on campuses in their residence hall common areas, or another large space, get the host to record a quick video of it to show the audience attendance, and post it on-line/send it to NBC. Prove that there are tons of people doing this in an area that Nielsen chronically undercounts: colleges and universities.

    2. Let's see if the NBC store in NYC is willing to host viewing parties. I'll attend and I am sure others will. We can show up with subs, watch on NBC's property, and tweet while we are at it. I am sure we can get someone to write an article (Sepinwall) to write about this.

    3. Let the fans get their subs, especially a sub featured in a previous episode, and show subway their money wasn't spent in vain. Maybe they'll pony up more, maybe not, but at least people will still maintain a feeling of empowerment.


  30. I am a little confused. I know somebody that got a Nielsen box recently, but there is no controller to punch for your views. There are equipment boxes on back of all their TVs and they are hooked into the whole entertainment system (TV, video game systems, VCR, receiver). In fact, they said that the Nielsen tech took the housing off the TVs to put something inside them when installing. The boxes are hooked into the telephone line and they were told that they call the Nielsen office to report the data. Anything I need to tell them to do with this setup? Anybody heard anything like this?

    I have my friend watching Chuck live on his TV this year but it has been a struggle to keep it that way. They are just causal fans of Chuck, and would rather watch House and DVR Chuck. They also have not liked the direction the story took this season so far with Chuck and Sarah (I can't blame them), but I will not go into that here. It just has made it much harder to keep them watching live when they are not happy with the story this season.

  31. From Diane:

    To: Anonymous

    It may be that your friend got a "Household meter". Household meters are still used in some local markets to collect rating on a household basis, but not a demographic basis.

    Nielsen actually has 2 ratings services. One provides ratings on a national basis and uses only Peoplemeters--the boxes that include punching a remote to register your demographics.

    The other service provides rating to the 210 individual local markets across the U.S. The local system is a hodgepodge of techniques. The top markets have Peoplemeters, just like the national service. The next tier of markets(based on size) has household meters which don't collect demographics. They get those from diaries during sweeps. The smallest markets only get diaries to collect local ratings.

    (That probably makes you even more confused)

  32. RC

    LOVE #2 :)

    Anywho I spread the video above on my LJ (which is friends-locked) and on Facebook.

    Plan to spread it more on email and Twitter.

  33. To Anonymous:

    If your fiends are a Nielsen family, tell them to tune all their TVs to Chuck. Tell them that they will enjoy the show again because the Chuck and Sarah plot is resolving itself, and they can catch the show on an upswing. Tell them if they like where the show is going after watching the next 4 episodes, and they haven't been watching, they won't have the show to watch anymore.

    If guilt works, tell them that their decision not to follow your advice will lead to a lot of hard working, middle class people who work on the show losing their jobs. They have the power to stop it, and they should.

    Also tell them Chuck and Sarah are more wholesome characters than that House, a recovering Vicodin addict with deep-seeded emotional issues. Would they rather their kids grow up and internalize his values ;)

    Look, just get them to watch, and help them understand the power they have to do good by doing so. Make them realize the power they have, and urge them to use it to help this community. House doesn't need their help, we do.

  34. I'm with RC. Good ratings are a must, but a fan campaign might give an additional push. I like the college party idea.

  35. Hey Magnus this from alan sepinwall about chuck schedule for rest of season
    Two more episodes from what was the original season 3 run, then two weeks off for reruns, then Season 3.1 kicks off in late April. Based on how the show's been bringing it lately, I'm very excited.

  36. 1.9 on the demo for the second week is NOT good, I don't what people say that Chuck will get by on the "familiarity" card.

    We need to step up if we want a 4th season of Chuck. And by step up I mean get people to watch live, not buying footlongs.


  37. Mat, thanks for pointing out exactly what I said in this blog.

  38. Diane says...

    I said before that I work with Nielsen ratings for a living. I have a tiny bit of good news on the "watch live" front. You all know the "Live + same day" Adult 18-49 rating was a 1.9 and that was the same last week.

    What you don't know is what the pure "Live" rating was. It was a 1.48 and that was UP from last week (1.44 last week). It looks like more people in the key demo DID watch live.

    Also the Male 18-49 rating was up from last week. It was Female 18-49 that wasn't. That's to be expected with Dancing With the Stars.

  39. "What you don't know is what the pure "Live" rating was. It was a 1.48 and that was UP from last week (1.44 last week). It looks like more people in the key demo DID watch live."
    At least it was up a little bit, hopefully it'll go up more next week. I've sent Bailey's video to "All Contacts" on YouTube. I don't know if that will do anything.
    "It was Female 18-49 that wasn't. That's to be expected with Dancing With the Stars."
    They didn't see the pictures of Zac? :[

  40. Hate to say it, but I think the ratings were harmed by the extreme angstyness from 3.7-3.9 (and that 3.11 promo won't help any either, even if it IS very misleading).

    I think there is now significant evidence that it wasn't only the crazy shippers that were turned off by this.

    Not saying this as a knock on the writers, but they DID take a very risky path here. At the same time I see the greatness in the making, but I'm not sure it's gonna be enough... let's hope...

    I have a few friends that watch Chuck but never watch live; I believe one of them even has a Nielsen Box. He is an avid House fan, but I'll try to make him understand that House is in no danger of cancellation, and that Chuck needs reinforcements!

  41. Kev, a lot of people are making the same, what I consider ridiculous, assumptions about why ratings dropped. But there isn't anything to really support any of them. The ratings dropped at DST and stayed down when DWTS had its biggest ratings ever (by a lot, mind you).

    The only proof of true abandonment due to storyline would be if 3.09 had tanked, but it didn't. Why would the ratings drop after an episode that had no real angst, more humor, more excitement, and more overall fun?

    As for the rest... budget cuts? The audience doesn't see it. I know people who just started watching this year and they didn't even know about ratings issues or budget cuts... never once mentioned it. You are noticing what you want to notice. 13 or 19... has no effect either. The most logical conclusion is that our Live+7 numbers will show little to no change. If not, then the habits of Nielsen viewers is the strangest it has ever been.

  42. SnowyOwl, your supposition is not supported by ANY evidence. Only conjecture.

  43. Well then saying "it's all over" is silly. If it has nothing to do with the storyline, and everything to do with circumstantial stuff such as DWtS and DST, why is it all over? This same period last year was when S2 hit it's lows (2.1s in the demo, under 6mil in total viewers) and it rebounded moderately, and was eventually renewed. I see no reason to just mail it in after 3.11's admittedly poor ratings performance.

    Well, in any case I will thoroughly enjoy however may episodes we have left, be it seven, or twenty nine, or fifty, or more.

  44. SnowyOwl, NBC didn't renew CHUCK in the hopes that it would get LESS ratings than last year. They were looking for INCREASED ratings. Losing ratings will not help it, no matter why the ratings have dropped. So, at the moment NBC has NO REASON to renew it.

    And I say it is more or less over because that is what I am told by people who know better than either of us. That will only change if a miracle increase in ratings happens.

  45. The "experts" seem to be putting at 50/50. These "experts" may not know better than your sources. I will hope for the best, and tell everyone I know to watch live. I'll buy Subway footlongs too; not that it'll help, but I like Subway footlongs :D

    Looking at NBC's lineup, other than Thursday night comedies, they have absolutely nothing. Maybe they'll want to take a chance on some new shows (that will likely stink) rather than keep an existing show that is borderline. We'll see.

  46. SnowyOwl, the TV writers are not experts on CHUCK's renewal chances. They are just seasoned TV journalists. Also, their predictions were based on ratings PRIOR to this week. Even TVBTN, after writing an article promoting Sepinwall's perspective on it, suddenly changed its tune. Why do you think that is? Maybe we have the same sources.

    Anyway, no one should quit trying to get people into the show. I plan on continuing as normal on that front. But I am not kidding myself into believing that we will affect those ratings much. Whatever happens from here on in, I truly believe was going to happen no matter what we did/do.

  47. We just got a call today that we would be getting sweeps diaries for Feb. So excited! I'll be sure to watch Chuck and so will my hubby. We'll write it down in the diaries. Other than Supernatural (which I will also be sure to write down) it is about the only thing on worth watching anymore. We both HATE reality tv, so we will avoid it like the plague on sweeps week. Yah! Glad in a small, small way I will be able to help.

  48. Excellent. Also write down that you rewatched the episode that night on your DVR.

  49. We don't have a DVR Magnus, sorry.

  50. But does Nielsen know that? ;)

  51. I read somewhere that Chuck viewership went up 26% after factoring in Live+7 day numbers. I can't help but think of this video.


No flaming, baiting, trolling, expletives, or racism allowed. And NO DISCUSSIONS of the actor's personal lives ever.