For NBC, a New Brand of ‘Heroes’ Is Coming to the Rescue

Brace yourselves, superhero TV fans, because Comcast's  (NASDAQ: CMCSA  ) NBC is finally reviving Heroes.

NBC aired the following 15-second clip during its Olympics coverage last Saturday, finally ending nearly a year of speculation surrounding the potential reboot:

What do we know so far? Heroes Reborn will arrive in 2015, and according to Comcast's follow-up press release it'll be in the form of a 13-episode, stand-alone arc whose storylines and characters are being kept under wraps.

But fans won't be completely in the dark before then; before the premiere, NBC will also take a page out of Disney's (NYSE: DIS  )  Guardians of the Galaxy playbook by launching a digital series to "introduce the characters and new storylines." Note the wording of that sentence, which leaves room both for new names to enter the picture and for the show's existing characters to reprise their roles.

And "stand-alone" is key, since it seems the last time many people truly enjoyed Heroes was in its stellar first season, during which it dominated as television's No. 1 new drama with an average audience of 14.5 million viewers per episode.

Return of the Kring
Things started to fall apart in season two, however, when a strike from the Writer's Guild of America effectively forced Heroes creator Tim Kring to make do with just 11 episodes, down from the 24 NBC originally ordered. As a result, viewers were left with an obviously fragmented series of storylines thrown together in an effort to start fresh the following season.

But the damage had been done, and for the remainder of its run Heroes' viewership looked decidedly less heroic with every passing episode. Keeping in mind season three was comprised of the third and fourth creative volumes, here's how Heroes fared until its cancellation in May 2010:

Comcast, Time Warner, and Disney will battle it out for superhero ratings supremacy.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Now Kring is back on board with a chance for the ultimate do-over, and I know I'm not alone in hoping he succeeds with Heroes Reborn.

But we also need to keep in mind Heroes Reborn will enter a drastically more crowded space than the one in which its predecessor had to deal. This time, Kring's show will battle for ratings supremacy with the likes of the recently renewed Arrow and its upcoming spin-off, The Flash -- both will appear on The CW, which is co-owned by CBS and DC Comics parent Time Warner (NYSE: TWX  )  -- and Disney's popular Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 

If that wasn't enough, earlier this month Time Warner sealed a licensing-rights deal enabling the folks at Fox to tell the story of Bruce Wayne through Gotham

Heck, even NBC appears to be hedging its bets, given last month's order for the pilot of Constantine, an adaptation of DC Comics' Hellblazer titles. 

Can Heroes Reborn really win?
That doesn't mean more than one superhero show can't succeed. To the contrary, and especially given the increasing household penetration of DVRs, there are more than enough fanboys (and fangirls) who will continue propping up several titles in the genre simultaneously.

Despite its declining influence, however, live viewership is still important for luring advertisers. As a result, Heroes Reborn will need to work that much harder to differentiate itself and prove to viewers it's worth defecting from another show to which they've growth accustomed.

Take Disney's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., for example, which consistently ranks as Tuesday's No. 1 show, ahead of both NBC's The Voice and CBS' NCIS -- but only after accounting for a massive boost from DVR viewership in its live-plus-seven-day ratings. But if you just look at headlines, which focus on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s live-plus-same-day numbers in isolation, you'd be forgiven for thinking NCIS is the more popular show by a wide margin.

The next step for you
In the end, Heroes Reborn's time slot will be of little consequence unless Tim Kring can learn from Heroes' missteps and put all the pieces together in one coherent, watchable show. If he does, Heroes Reborn should stop nowhere short of world domination.

In the meantime, did you know you could be profiting on business analysis like this? The key for your future is to turn business insights into portfolio gold through smart and steady investing ... starting right now. Those who wait on the sidelines are missing out on huge gains and putting their financial futures in jeopardy. The Motley Fool is offering a new special report, an essential guide to investing, which includes access to top stocks to buy now. Click here to get your copy today -- it's absolutely free.

Read/Post Comments (2) | Recommend This Article (2)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On March 01, 2014, at 10:57 PM, stockanal45 wrote:


  • Report this Comment On March 02, 2014, at 4:46 PM, sunder wrote:

    NBC has not had an original program idea in ages. They should close down their network starting with their news group.

Add your comment.

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 2858702, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 9/4/2015 5:10:04 PM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...

Steve Symington

Technology and consumer goods specialist for the Fool. Steve looks for responsible businesses which positively shape our lives. Then, he invests accordingly. Enjoy his work? Connect with him on Twitter & Facebook so you don't miss a thing.

Today's Market

updated Moments ago Sponsored by:
DOW 16,102.38 -272.38 -1.66%
S&P 500 1,921.22 -29.91 -1.53%
NASD 4,683.92 -49.58 -1.05%

Create My Watchlist

Go to My Watchlist

You don't seem to be following any stocks yet!

Better investing starts with a watchlist. Now you can create a personalized watchlist and get immediate access to the personalized information you need to make successful investing decisions.

Data delayed up to 5 minutes

Related Tickers

9/4/2015 4:00 PM
CBS $42.92 Down -0.89 -2.03%
CBS Corp CAPS Rating: ***
CMCSA $55.78 Down -0.43 -0.76%
Comcast Corp CAPS Rating: ***
DIS $100.97 Down -1.02 -1.00%
Walt Disney CAPS Rating: *****
TWX $70.01 Down -0.69 -0.98%
Time Warner CAPS Rating: ***