The superhero genre is far more popular on television today than it was when the original Heroes series debuted on NBC back in 2006. Today we have popular series like Arrow, The Flash, and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. as well as upcoming series like Supergirl. This recent resurgence may have led to the decision to bring the Heroes universe new life with Heroes Reborn.
It appears as though the fans weren’t quite as ready to welcome Heroes back into their homes as NBC had hoped, however. The ratings for the premiere pilot episode of Heroes Reborn this past Thursday are in and things are looking less than stellar.
The two-hour series premiere was plagued by a successive drop in viewership. TVMoJoe tweeted the ratings breakdown, and in fact every half hour the series lost more and more, until the solid 7 million viewers that it began with was slowly whittled down to a mere 5.5 million by the time the show ended. Those numbers don’t exactly feel like a vote of confidence from the viewers. The 2.1 rating in the 18-49 viewership range that the show started out with was really a bare minimum for a series in that popular Thursday primetime time slot, rather than an impressive premiere showing. The show would even fall lower, to a 1.9 and stay there until the end of the evening.
What does this mean for Heroes Reborn? The future is most definitely uncertain. Network television is rarely a place for experimentation and not a venue where mediocre results are tolerated. On the other hand, television viewership ratings aren’t quite what they used to be. If Heroes Reborn could maintain a steady 18-49 demographic rating of between 1.5 and 1.9, and a good 5 to 7 million viewers overall, then it has a good chance of survival. This is considering that the top NBC scripted series, The Blacklist, enjoyed a moderate average 2.35 rating in the 18-49 demographic and 9.51 million viewers overall in its 2014-15 season.
In all fairness to Heroes Reborn, it did have to begin its evening competing with the season premiere of a landmark ABC series in Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal, not to mention an NFL game on CBS. The show will have to continue to compete with The Flash over on The CW, which will be in its second season beginning next week.
Ratings aside, Heroes Reborn will probably fair just fine, as long as the numbers don’t continue to fall into oblivion. The fact that the show was touted as a truncated 13-episode “event miniseries” from the very beginning may be a sign that NBC didn’t have full confidence in bringing the show into the full-time schedule. The return of characters like Hiro Nakamura (Masi Oka), Mohinder Suresh (Sendhil Ramamurthy), Matt Parkman (Greg Grunberg), The Haitian (Jimmy Jean-Louis), Angela Petrelli (Christine Rose), and Micah Sanders (Noah Gray-Cabey) to the series is a nice start, but the new blood needs to engage the audience too. The truth is that this super-powered drama has a lot to prove to fans in today’s world, where far higher-caliber superhero movies and television series have since made their mark.
Heroes Reborn airs Thursdays at 8 PM (eastern) on NBC this fall.