Unless otherwise noted, the ratings results below are based on the preliminaries and could get adjusted when the finals are released.
The preliminaries are in and it looks like we have a verdict: there was not enough nostalgic good will for the Heroes franchise to draw a large audience to the debut of its revival. Heroes Reborn averaged a 2.0 rating based on the overnights for the 18-49 demographic with 6.1 million total viewers. That’s not a disastrous debut, especially taking into account the ratings slump that continues to hamper the broadcast networks. And it is a difficult timeslot with ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy still pulling strong numbers (in something like its 31st season?) and NFL Football drawing away a lot of viewers to CBS. It’s definitely better than the numbers NBC saw on Thursday nights a year ago, and the Daily Nielsen Twitter Ratings Top 5 had it at the Number 4 slot. But in my “Guess the Ratings” poll (you can see the results at this link), I considered the 2.0 level moderate at best meaning this show is not off to a strong start. I personally thought it would bow with good numbers, mostly because curious onlookers would at least want see how the debut played out. But apparently people expected more of the later season disappointments of the original series and less of the first year magic and chose to stay away from the premiere. This one will likely see notable lifts with delayed viewing (as do most sci fi entries), but–despite a lot of network lipservice–that did little to help shows like Forever or Constantine last season. Of course, the fact is that this one has been billed as a “limited run event” series, suggesting that the plan all along has been to only do these thirteen episodes and move along. But series creator Tim Kring has already suggested that more seasons could follow. With these numbers, though, I’m not so sure. But there is one important thing to factor in for this show: each additional season only pads out the show’s syndication package, which is where the real profits come in for a TV series. The fact is that the original run fell a bit short of the preferred 88 episode mark for the syndication market (in came in at 79 because of a shortened second season due to the writer’s strike). Heroes still made it into syndication, but the revival season–which will get tacked on at some point–pads that out to a better overall number and any more is just gravy from that point on. So if Heroes Reborn does not drop too much in the coming weeks, and if those delayed viewing numbers are indeed strong, then a second season becomes more doable. Forever and Constantine were in their first seasons and a long way from a syndication friendly count of episodes. Heroes / Heroes Reborn is already there, so the equation is different. Even moderate numbers may be okay for NBC if they feel this show is plugging up a difficult timeslot, though I still have to believe they were hoping that the revival would prove a hit. That’s not how it played out, but it doesn’t count as a flop either and still has the chance to continue on for another season or more.
It’s still early in the season and there are more debuts coming (you can see the full Fall 2015 schedule at this link), so keep an eye on the Cancelled Sci Fi Twitter Site for the latest numbers and on Cancellation Watch posts on this site for my analyses.