This was Television on January 27

2012: Chuck concludes

A two-hour finale wrapped up one of TV’s more improbably enduring runs after five seasons and 91 episodes. The action-comedy starring Zachary Levi as a computer expert who accidentally becomes a super-spy lagged in the Nielsen ratings for almost the entirety of its run, even by the diminishing ratings standards of the late 2000s and early 2010s. A small but passionate fan base, a sponsorship deal with restaurant chain Subway that defrayed much of the show’s budget, and NBC’s difficulty programming nearly any popular scripted fare during this era combined to rescue Chuck from the brink of cancellation multiple times, allowing it to end on its own terms. -A.D.

Today’s Birthdays: James Cromwell, professor (73); Alan Cumming, campaign strategist (48); Howard McNear, barber (d. 1969); Keith Olbermann, talking head (54); Patton Oswalt, comic (44); Donna Reed, homemaker (d. 1986); Philip Rosenthal, sitcom scribe (53); Susanna Thompson, ex-wife (55); John Witherspoon, pops (71).

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