It has staying powers

Bromstad says NBC's 'Heroes' is coming back

NBC has every intention of bringing back "Heroes" for another year, according to network entertainment president Angela Bromstad.

The serialized action drama's recent ratings drop has caused plenty of speculation about whether the show will return in the fall. As part of The Hollywood Reporter's annual TV pilots package that appears Friday, Bromstad was asked whether "Heroes" could be considered "on the bubble" for a renewal.

"No," she said, adding that the network plans to order 18-20 episodes of the show for next season.

One reason Bromstad is bullish on "Heroes" is because of the pilot "Day One," about a group of survivors in the wake of a catastrophic global event. NBC is contemplating a 13-episode order for the project. If "Day One" goes to series, having an established sci-fi drama like "Heroes" is helpful to promote the new show — and possibly even serve as its lead-in.

"Day One" might even launch in the "Heroes" 9 p.m. Monday period, Bromstad added. That way, the new show would get the advantage of a strong slot for a number of weeks, then "Heroes" will have fewer repeats by virtue of starting later in the season (the "Heroes" slot performed a similar function for "My Own Worst Enemy" at the start of this season). Another possible "Day One" spot is Sunday nights, where "Kings" will debut March 15.

An additional reason for keeping "Heroes" is that the show performs well internationally. Its overseas popularity is something Bromstad experienced firsthand in her previous NBC post heading the network's international efforts in London.

Also, for all its headline-making audience erosion, "Heroes" is tied with "The Office" season as the network's top-rated series among adults 18-49 this season.

The network also has discussed setting a series end date for the show — following the model of "Lost," "Battlestar Galactica" and "The Shield." But even if NBC made such a move, Bromstad said it wouldn't make next season the conclusion.

Still, a deal isn't a deal until it's a deal. NBC's confidence is based on the show's ratings performance to date. And if there's one thing this season has shown, it's that broadcast ratings continue to find new ways to surprise. (partialdiff)