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 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 garnered low ratings in its Monday 8:00 pm ET time slot. Concerned that the show would not be renewed for a third season, devout fans launched a "Save Chuck" campaign that gained momentum with the use of social-networking websites like Twitter and Facebook.
Fansite ChuckTV.net 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 "GiveMeMyRemote.com" to "GiveMeMyChuck.com" 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 to renew, 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 a second season episodes to organize a campaign to purchase footlong sub 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 Birmingham, England. 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 [my] life to witness — and certainly the most creatively gratifying." Other fan efforts included 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 commented: "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.
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 confirmed that the option remains for a pickup of nine more episodes. Although Silverman claimed that NBC was 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 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
There was a third season of Chuck, starting with the episode "Chuck Versus the Pink Slip".