Special Report: Ruby Tuesday

NEW YORK Outside of the competitive Thursday night waters, there is no time period as brutal as Tuesday 9 p.m., which features ABC’s Dancing With the Stars Results Show, Fox sensation House and CBS’ male-driven The Unit. That means that there may not be too much room left for NBC’s Chuck, which tells the story of a nerdy computer tech who becomes the government’s most powerful weapon, and supernatural CW drama Reaper. While Reaper’s 21-year-old slacker-turned-bounty hunter might sound awfully familiar (think failed 1998-99 Fox drama Brimstone), what sets it apart is the humor. The pilot adeptly mixed drama with good old-fashioned chuckles. What could make Chuck a potential standout, meanwhile, is one of its creators, Josh Schwartz. The force behind Fox’s The O.C., he knows how to tell tales that appeal to a young adult audience. Although the buying community was buzzing about Chuck, viewers may not find it en masse unless NBC finds a better time period. But is there a place on the network’s troubled lineup that could give it more exposure? Reaper won’t have the same sized support out of the relocated Beauty and the Geek as Chuck will out of returnee The Biggest Loser. However, the potential appetite for this Buffy, the Vampire Slayer-like type of storytelling makes Reaper a potential sleeper. Neither Chuck nor Reaper is likely to set the ratings on fire. But if fans missing Buffy and Angel discover Reaper, and NBC miraculously manages to find a more advantageous hour for Chuck, there could be hope. Patience could potentially pay off for both hours.