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Heroes: Will the NBC TV Show Survive to See Season Four?

HeroesHow the mighty have fallen. NBC’s Heroes was one of the big hits of the 2006-07 season, seemingly ensuring a very long and successful run. But, the series seems to have lost its way and many viewers have complained about confusing or ridiculous storylines. Even worse, many others have just stopped watching altogether. With ratings at an all time low, does the series have a chance at returning for season four?

Heroes tells the story of a group of ordinary people who, after a solar eclipse, miraculously develop super powers. They soon learn that that their abilities can be both a blessing and a curse, and that there are many forces trying to either control or destroy them. The large ensemble cast includes Sendhil Ramamurthy, Jack Coleman, Masi Oka, Hayden Panettiere, James Kyson Lee, Milo Ventimiglia, Ali Larter, Adrian Pasdar, Greg Grunberg, Zachary Quinto, Cristine Rose, Ashley Crow, and Noah Gray-Cabey.

The sci-fi series debuted on September 25, 2006 to 14.3 million viewers and a 5.9/14 rating/share of 18-49 demographic. It was the highest-rated premiere for an NBC drama in five years. Though viewership fell to just 12.57 million in episode two, word of mouth started to kick in. On November 20th, episode nine reached just over 16 million viewers and a 6.9/16. Unfortunately, it went on hiatus a few weeks later. The numbers began to dwindle when it returned in early 2007 and, by May, Heroes hit a series low of 11.14 million and a 5.1/13.

Season two started off strong on September 24, 2007 with 14.1 million viewers and a 6.5/15. That didn’t last and viewership began to fall once again. The writers strike caused the season to be shortened so only 11 episodes were made, averaging just 13 million. The honeymoon was certainly beginning to end and the network scrapped its plans to create a spin-off series, Heroes: Origins.

Should Heroes be cancelled?

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Season three has been the show’s most troubled season yet. Heroes returned on September 22, 2008 to 10.09 viewers and the ratings have been falling ever since. The show has been getting hammered by the combination of CBS’ comedy block, ABC’s The Bachelor, and FOX’s 24. Monday’s installment was no exception. It landed in a distant fourth place and attracted 7.04 million and 3.2/7 in the demo.

Will the show return for season four? It seems fairly likely. The show is co-produced by Universal Media Studios, part of NBC’s parent company. At the end of season three, they’ll have 60 episodes of the show completed. Ideally, a series needs more than that to be attractive to affiliates in the syndication market, where a production company can make the most money from a show. NBC also has very few hit shows so they aren’t likely to throw Heroes away just yet, especially with its demo numbers. Rest assured though, if Heroes was airing on either CBS or ABC, it surely would have been cancelled awhile ago.

Going against Heroes’ future is the fact that times are tough and the show’s not cheap. Because Jay Leno will be filling the five hours of primetime each week, there will be far fewer slots available on the NBC schedule.

At this point, it looks like the peacock network will renew Heroes for a shortened season. If ratings keep falling though, they may decide to cut their losses. One way or the other though, it looks like the days of Heroes are certainly numbered.

 

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{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

Bart May 25, 2009 at 3:13 pm

The quality of the writing of the show has definitely gotten worse and worse over time. That recent episode with Angela visiting the house where she lost her sister and her sister causing a hurricane was so ridiculous and it had nothing to do with the rest of the show. Desperate Housewives was always ridiculous, but they had a similar episode where a hurricane went through the town and sucked some people away (and made one of the characters blind!) and that’s when I stopped watching. I would have stopped watching Heroes after that episode if my boyfriend didn’t want to keep watching, although we actually lost track of the show anyways and still have yet to see the final two episodes.

My other problem with the show is that they need to show it every week. There have been way too many times when the show went on a break or one week they didn’t show it. I don’t know if Mondays are just a bad time to keep a show running without interruption, or what.

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Anonymous April 30, 2009 at 11:31 am

“I love watching heroes and i would seriously be sad if it were canceled. I really want to see what happens in the end. I suppose my only problem is that it

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Jach Shepird April 27, 2009 at 10:58 pm

Heroes is dead. They lack decent writers which is what caused this mess. The writers have no talent so they took the easy way out and edited key aspects of the show to account for their weaknesses. Taking away Peter’s native power- Taking away Hiro’s power- Getting rid of Sylar/Zachary Quinto by combining him with a less paid actor….and finally…MY favorite…. Reviving Ali Larter AGAIN. The most hated character of the show whose soul purpose is eye candy. If she never spoke, was nude, and just banged Peter all the time it would be acceptable…but….

RIP HEROES….for your pride I hope your show ends where it is.

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Joey Tribianni April 16, 2009 at 6:55 pm

I am sadden if these are the final episodes of Heroes……Just like when they cut “Joey” and the Black Donn…whatever the name was…been so long I forgot…I was outraged….I am a huge fan of Heroes but it seems that NBC never gives a good show enough time to catch on….

When you are always switching shows, people are hesitant to get interested in a certain show…The problem was that all these reality shows came along and ruined the state of television….WHen you air (don’t get me wrong…I liked some of these shows)Deal or no deal 7 days a week…no wonder shows get run down…..Even though ER was on for 15 years I think it could have kept on going, it was always changing bringing new life into it…WHich is the problem with Heroes…IT started out great but like someone said…it was slow getting to the point and brought in new characters in for a few shows and kill them off…IT needs a new storyline…..

Fox and ABC, HBO and Showtime are about the only networks that stick or try to stick with a show and give the audiences some time to find the show…..

Come on NBC stop canceling all the great shows……….

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tim kring April 12, 2009 at 5:27 pm

TRUST ME. WE ARE DONE! NO SEASON FOUR!!

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jack_002 March 24, 2009 at 9:41 pm

if the show’s ratings keeps dropin the way it is, then yeh man they’re probably gona cancel it. it’s not doing that good at the moment.

they should just cancel the show and bring back jericho hahaha

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Me March 23, 2009 at 12:35 pm

Hi i’m from belgium,
maybe this is a littl bit far and my english isnt really good, but i really love heroes, And for me it isnt hard to follow it at all. I really hope it doens’t quit

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Charly March 9, 2009 at 12:55 pm

I love watching heroes and i would seriously be sad if it were canceled. I really want to see what happens in the end. I suppose my only problem is that it’s taking awhile to get to the point. And sometimes i get a little confused. But i love the action and stuff in it! i love the little chinese guy in it too! i hope they still put it on the air! i’m a big heroes supporter!

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Jake March 5, 2009 at 10:33 am

I loved this show when it first premired, but drifted away during season two. After the creator appologized for that and said season three was going to be a fresh start, I caught up online and checked out the season premire with high hopes. Sadly, things did not improve, and at this point the show is too far gone. Even with Bryan Fuller back in the writers’ room after the depressing fate of Pushing Daisies, this show cannot be saved from itself. It needs a mercy killing.

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SG March 5, 2009 at 1:18 am

If Heroes gets cancelled, NBC has a huge management problem on its hands. It is the single most-pirated show on the Internet, and one of the most legally downloaded as well. That proves that they are missing out on a HUGE market that they need to focus on capitalizing.

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sarah March 4, 2009 at 3:32 pm

ummmm…ever hear of the expression “shooting the messenger”? all of the stuff in this article is true. the show is in trouble. look at the viewers numbers! that’s what nbc cares about — not some fan club or awards. they need to make money, not friends.

i personally stopped watching last season but still catch it from time to time because i like some of the actors but the stories and dialogue have gotten pretty bad.

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Jackson March 4, 2009 at 3:24 pm

I love Heroes and have watched every episode. I have to admit tho that it was pretty bad for ahile. A couple of my friends evenstopped watching it. It’s really good now and I hope more people tune back in!!!

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Willow Polson March 4, 2009 at 3:02 pm

This article is based on little more than speculation and opinion. NBC has made no announcements, and show staff are working toward Season 4, including launching a new fan club within the next couple of weeks. They just won an Emmy for the show’s online interactive experience. Yes, the show has been troubled recently, but you can’t call a race until the horses cross the line. Speculating the demise of the show does nothing but cause damage. Please withhold your personal opinions when the facts are not there to back them up. Thank you.

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admin March 4, 2009 at 3:01 pm

@Isa: Thank you for your comment.

While the show hasn’t been canceled and isn’t likely to be this year, it is certainly in trouble. Its ratings are essentially getting lower and lower each week and its not a cheap show to produce. It’s still around in part because of the demographics and the rest of NBC’s schedule is in such trouble.

Unless the ratings start turning around, its days are certainly numbered. With these ratings, do you honestly expect it to run longer than season four? It may get a fourth season but, without a big turnaround, a fifth season is a longshot at best. As much as the loyal viewers enjoy it (myself included), the vast majority of people have decided to watch something else.

The purpose of this post is to make casual fans aware that the show is not on sure footing and to not take anything for granted.

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Isa March 4, 2009 at 2:43 pm

I am a Heroes fan who was directed to the “Save Heroes Petition” and through that, to this article, which states that “Heroes’ days are certainly numbered.”

Do you have a source for that? A website, link? Anything? I’ve been talking with a contact at NBC at that person has no idea what is going to happen with Heroes. NBC has not made an official announcement, and putting lines like “its days are numbered” into your article is not only untrue, but unfair to the show, the network, and the fans, who are already anxious about the status of our show.

If you have a source and/or other proof of what you say, please post it along with your comments. If not, please don’t make comments like that on a public forum.

~Isa.

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