6:20 PM UPDATE: Now I hear NBC will decide on 3 possible futures for Heroes, perhaps as soon as tomorrow. The most unlikely is a 13-episode order for midseason. (Creator Tim Kring is hoping for this scenario, of course.) A real possibility is that NBC cancels it altogether. But I’m told odds are best that NBC announces “some kind of climactic finale” for Heroes lasting 2- or even 4-episodes (back to back, over one- or two-nights) to air in midseason.
Even though Heroes‘ ratings are weak, it is a profitable show for NBC. It brings in the highest international sales of any of NBC’s primetime series. It’s the No. 1 most downloaded show overseas. Plus, it’s a huge DVD seller both domestic and internationally. “What it’s up against is that NBC’s new team is trying to rebrand the network and give it a fresh look with new shows from J.J. Abrams, Jerry Bruckheimer, and David E Kelley,” an insider tells me. “Heroes doesn’t fit in with that. But Heroes is a big brand by itself.” If no decision is made tomorrow, then it’s possible NBC may wait to decide the show’s future after upfronts.
5 PM: I’m hearing that NBC might give Heroes a short order of 6 to just finish up the storyline of the series next fall. Or else it’s a goner. (My sources are betting on the latter.) In any case, there’s zero chance of a 22-episode pickup.