This could be bad news for "Heroes" fans. Real bad news.
Sources at NBC have told Airlock Alpha that the inevitable is finally happening: Networks executives will ask "Heroes" producers to wind the series down, according to rumors, possibly with an overall finale by May.
"There isn't much happening with this show in terms of audience, and giving it a 'final chapter' feel is something the network is considering to help allow the show to go out with a bang," said the source, who asked not to be identified.
NBC, however, has denied such conversations are taking place. "There have not been any discussions about this being the last season," according to a network spokesman.
"Heroes" began in 2006 as NBC's most buzzed show, and wowed both audiences and critics through the first season. However, Season 2 took a slow start creatively, likely not helped with the departure of producers like Bryan Fuller (who had left to run "Pushing Daisies" on ABC).
While the audience stuck it out in the beginning, that started to change by mid-season when the audience erosion began. It finished its second season with a 6.6 rating/10 share, however, second only to "Lost" among averages of overnight ratings from The Nielsen Co. for network genre shows.
However, by the 2008-09 season, "Heroes" fell to fifth among network genre shows, with a 4.7/7 average, down nearly 29 percent from the year before.
This year after seven episodes, "Heroes" is averaging a 3.6/5, more than 23 percent off from last year, and 45 percent off its pace from the second season. It's currently averaging as NBC's lowest-rated outing on Monday behind the 3.7/6 average of the now-canceled "Trauma" and the 4.4/7 of "The Jay Leno Show."
Of course, in the "Jay Leno" instance, his numbers were artificially boosted by an 11.0/18 premiere the week before the fourth season of "Heroes" started, and fell to a 3.8/6 the following week, and has hovered just above the 3.0 household rating mark ever since.
"Heroes" might not be the only one saying good-bye this season. With NBC looking for a firm finish in fourth place among all the networks once again, the new guard coming in is looking to really change things up, including possibly a completely revamped lineup that could include the reduction of hours devoted to "Jay Leno."
According to this source, "Heroes" is just not part of that mode.
"To keep a show like this going despite its numbers requires some nostalgic connection to it, and while there are a lot of people here who were part of bringing 'Heroes' to the air, they are not in the decision-making capacities," the source said.
One thing to stress, however, is that no final decision has been made yet, and likely won't be made until closer to mid-season. The source was not even clear if a wrap-up directive had been issued to "Heroes" quite yet. If it hasn't, it will.
"I don't think this should surprise anybody," the source said. "The writing has been on the wall for some time."
None of this has been confirmed by NBC quite yet, and should be treated as any rumor would. (Read our story rumor policy)
"Heroes" airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.
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