It’s no secret that Heroes has stumbled in the ratings during its third season, often pulling in series low numbers week after week. The most recent episode was seen by a measly 7.7 million viewers, which is down about 50 percent from the show’s season 1 debut. NBC recently fired executive producers Jeph Loeb and Jesse Alexander to help Heroes get back on track, but according to series creator Tim Kring, the ratings aren’t as dire as they look. IGN covered Kring’s recent appearance at Creative Screenwriting’s 2008 Screenwriting Expo, where he appeared to discuss the future of the series. Kring blamed the show’s dwindling ratings on time-shifted viewing, pointing out that many people watch Heroes through DVR or online streaming.
“You can watch it when you want, where you want, how you want to watch it, and almost all of those ways are superior to watching it on air,” Kring pointed out. “So [watching it] on air is related to the saps and the dips***s who can’t figure out how to watch it in a superior way.”
Loeb and Alexander were originally supposed to attend the expo with Kring, but were obviously left off the schedule after being fired. Instead, Kring was allowed to put his foot in his mouth all on his own, which he managed to do even though attendees were forbidden to ask any questions about the recent personnel changes.
After admitting that writing a serialized show is “an absolute bear to do” and “a completely different animal” from his previous work, Kring discussed why he thinks Heroes is losing viewers. “It’s a very flawed way of telling stories on network television right now, because of the advent of the DVR and online streaming,” he said. “The engine that drove [serialized TV] was you had to be in front of the TV [when it aired].”
Though calling viewers who watch Heroes every Monday at 9pm “saps and dips***s” is extremely insulting, Kring does have a point. Millions of viewers catch the series online or watch it later through DVR, but that doesn’t change the fact that fewer people are watching Heroes these days. A ratings expert at TVBytheNumbers commented on Kring’s claim, writing, “I absolutely dispute the notion that Heroes hasn’t lost viewers since season one and two (and three). It has, and those viewers will be difficult to ever recapture. These lost viewers aren’t watching on the DVR, aren’t streaming video or downloading the shows — they just no longer watch.”
Aside from promising that the show’s next volume, “Fugitives,” will “wipe the table [clean],” what is Kring doing to fix the series? He admitted that he’s “very interested in a more standalone version of Heroes. I think the show needs to move towards that in order to survive. I think the serialized format is very challenging on network television.”
What do you think of Kring’s comments? Do you want to see a more standalone version of Heroes? Sound off in the comments below.
– Don Williams, BuddyTV Staff Writer
Source: IGN, TVBytheNumbers
(Image courtesy of NBC)