Tim Kring refocuses ‘Heroes’

The catchphrase from the first season of "Heroes" was "save the cheerleader." This season, it could be "save the scripts."

With the NBC fantasy-drama taking a hit in the ratings and falling short creatively in the eyes of many fans and crix, series creator-exec producer Tim Kring has been under pressure to make some changes. There's been a feeling that he's delegated too much responsibility for writing and story development to his top writing lieutenants, co-exec producers Jesse Alexander and Jeph Loeb.


On Sunday, at the prodding of NBC execs, Kring made the tough call to let Alexander and Loeb go from the show that the duo had helped shepherd since season one. Kring has assured NBC and Universal Media Studios brass that he intends to focus on simplifying what's been criticized, even by ardent fans, as an overly complex storytelling structure to get back to the show's comicbookish good vs. evil themes and to emphasize character development more than plot twists.

Insiders close to the situation emphasize that Kring has been a hands-on and diligent showrunner. The big problem is that the show's large ensemble cast and intense f/x and post-production requirements suck up a lot of his time. And "Heroes," already one of primetime's priciest hours at $4 million-plus per seg, has been grappling with budget overruns.


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