16 May 2010

EXCLUSIVE: NBC Cancels HEROES -- And JAY LENO Is Seriously To Blame

We can't say we didn't see it coming - and you probably did, too.  So it was no surprise   Friday when NBC announced that their long-struggling Heroes won't be returning for  Season Five. Apparently, the network seriously mulled bringing the show back for a shortened final season, but ultimately Heroes' poor record of keeping its twisty narrative on track  - and the cost of the hour-long comic book-inspired drama - failed to provide a truly compelling reason for NBC to do so. 

NBC cited both reasons when they canceled Heroes last week, although they didn't make any secret of Heroes' constantly-declining ratings also being a factor in their decision. While we won't delve into numbers analysis of the beleaguered series, we're of the opinion that Heroes was strong enough and likely would have returned to its 9pm time slot if not for the biggest prime time disaster in recent memory - The Jay Leno Show

It wasn't NBC as much as its nationwide network of affiliates that Leno's abysmal performance hurt, as the show's ratings resulted in 'bleeding' viewers - and advertising dollars - from late local newscasts across the country. The affiliates 'revolted,' prompting the cancellation of the Leno Show and, subsequently, the debacle between NBC and Conan O'Brien

Trying to build the muscle necessary to carry viewers into their NBC-affiliated newscasts is the  unfortunate goal of the network's new fall slate, which was announced in its entirety earlier this morning. All together, the early 2010 line-up includes seven new series, with five of those (one each weekday) filling the 9pm lead-in slot.  Another five new series are being primed for mid-season.

In a Leno-free world, or one where he didn't bomb, Heroes likely would have survived -- at least long enough to bring closure and perhaps a bit of clarity to the series, which had regained a good measure of its storytelling legs in Season Four.  Unfortunately, our world is not the Leno-less one we'd like, and in it, neither Heroes nor the comic-booky-named Conan O'Brien had the power to pound the 'Joker' that is Jay Leno.
 Must be the chin...

Our conclusion is mostly us reading between the lines, but it's more than that, too. With their announcement today, NBC also reasserted that they've left the possibility open for Heroes to return next season, not as a series but as a television movie, to wrap up loose threads.  This makes complete sense - probably as a 'Sweeps Week' event - and stands as evidence that Heroes likely lingered on the network's precipice of decision rather than being summarily discounted. While we'd be the first to admit NBC's  horrendously poor judgement obliterating O'Brien from their late-night laugh-in, the final fate of Heroes wasn't similarly decided. 

We should mention that the Clown Prince of the Peacock also put the official toe-tag on Law & Order, ending the series after a full twenty seasons.  That may have caught a few fans of that series off-guard, although ABC's cancellation of Flash Forward most certainly didn't - despite the rather awesome ads they pulled too late from their Tarot deck. 

What's your dabbling determination on Heroes? Did the 'Joker of Late Night' condemn Peter and Claire to oblivion or did they do themselves in?? And are there really any Jay Leno fans out there at all??? We want to hear from you before the new season rolls around, so get us your Back Issues now!

No comments: