NBC Shows HEROES Chiefs The Door

Long-time Heroes executive producers Jesse Alexander & Jeph Loeb were fired by the network on Nov. 2.
Alexander and Loeb served as the day-to-day showrunners under the supervision of series creator Tim Kring, with whom they'd first collaborated on the 1987 film Teen Wolf Too.

Variety reported that the network has grown frustrated with the creative direction of Heroes, which has posted series-low ratings in its third season, averaging 2.6 million fewer viewers than the strike-shortened, critically-panned Season Two, despite a renewed effort to keep the story better-paced and engaging this year.

There's been a lot of criticism over the direction the series has taken, including a recent cover story in Entertainment Weekly bemoaning the current storylines.

"The third season of Heroes hasn’t quite been the return to form that many of us at Den Of Geek were hoping for, with the show at times collapsing under the sheer weight of characters, subplots and powers," admitted blogger SIMON BREW.

If, as Variety suggests, the series is dealing with budget overruns well above the alloted $4 million per episode, the tanking viewer numbers make Heroes a very expensive failure.

Reps for NBC and show producer Universal Media Studios would not comment to the trades.

Acclaimed comic book writer Loeb (Batman: The Long Halloween, above right), who had played a significant role in the show's public promotion, confirmed the departure to CBR News's JONAH WEILAND, adding, "I'm incredibly proud to have been a big part of the success of a show with eight Emmy nods and a win this year for NBC.com. I will miss the superb cast and writing staff and wish everyone the best."

Loeb has completed writing/producing the fall Volume Three finale, "War."

"Being fired must’ve hurt especially bad for Jeph Loeb; that man has not only been successful working on other popular pulpy dramas (Lost, Smallville), but also has deep roots in the comic book industry," commented Screen Rant's KOFI OUTLAW. "If there was anybody I would’ve thought able to take a show like Heroes and turn it into a ratings magnet, it would’ve been Jeph Loeb."

Alexander (former co-executive producer on Lost and Alias, left) posted on his personal blog: "I could not be prouder of all the work I did on the show and wish all my Heroic Scribbler pals the very best."

Heroes continues to be executive produced by Kring with Dennis Hammer, Allan Arkush and Greg Beeman.

"In firing Jeph Loeb and Jesse Alexander, NBC have clinically removed the heart of Heroes," lamented KIRSTY WALKER of EndofShow.com (UK). "That their demise came from the pursuit of the almighty dollar is even more depressing." Walker insisted that Heroes still is a favorite with the 18-34 demographic, and that the delayed-tallied DVR ratings actually revealed that the show was gaining viewers.

Moviehole's CLINT MORRIS, however, was forced to agree with NBC’s decision. "The show really has gone off on some unexplainable mind-numbing tangents the last couple of seasons--and from what I can tell, the rest of this season, the third, seems to be pretty much of the same ilk. It’s not exactly a boring show, but it’s not exactly gripping either--and considering how good the original pilot was, that’s a damn shame. Can someone put this ship back on course?"

[Thanks to The Hollywood Reporter's NELLIE ANDREEVA, to IGN's ERIC GOLDMAN, and to Sci Fi Wire.]
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