How to Exploit a Hit

Last week, I babbled on about ways to retain audiences when you only have twenty-two episodes of a series to spread across a season measured by thirty-nine weeks. Yesterday, NBC was the first network to make their announcements and they came up with something novel for their smash hit Heroes.

For those who missed the news, a six-part series called Heroes: Origins was announced. The miniseries, promised to run on consecutive weeks, will introduce viewers to a half-dozen new potential heroes. Viewers would then be able to vote for the one they like best who would then be featured on the main series’ third season.

What’s neat is that this pod of shows can be dropped in between storylines as a breather or run at either end of the season. Regardless, whenever the main show needs a break, NBC can then schedule this series so viewers for thirty of the thirty-nine week season will have a show called Heroes on Monday nights. Pretty nifty if you ask me.

Regulars from the main series have been hinted as making cameo appearances on some of the Origins episodes so viewers don’t feel totally alienated from new people and settings.

In addition, to keep people interested between seasons (and Mondays), NBC Digital Entertainment has announced Inside Heroes which will be an eight-part web-only miniseries that goes behind-the-scenes and shows what it takes to make each episode. This begins next Monday, timed to the season finale’s airing, and new chapters will turn up throughout the summer.

On the same day, the website will also offer up Heroes Character Profiles which should help explain the background of each principal participant in linear fashion. Peter Petrelli gets the first slot and others promised include Claire Bennet, Hiro Nakamura, Nathan Petrelli, Niki/Jessica Sanders, Matt Parkman and Mohinder Suresh.

The online only graphic stories will also continue and if you haven’t been following these, you’re missing some neat stories and artwork. In some cases, we get introduced to characters before they show up on air, and other bits of business get explored. Talent announced for the new summer chapters include Joe Kelly, Duncan Rouleau, Steven T. Seagle and Joe Casey.

And, the DVD box set for Season One was announced for August 28.

This will no doubt become the model for maximizing exposure of a hit series, extending the brand and retaining control of the content. ABC, for example, was slow to exploit Lost and missed a bet when someone else launched the Lost-pedia.

4 comments

  • They were talking about NBC’s fall lineup this morning on HFS 105.7, and I was surprised it took NBC so long to announce that the show was renewed. I haven’t seen much of the show, mostly due to work and school schedules, but I’ll Netflix it when its released.

  • There’s actually a pretty good Heroes wiki that’s been around for a while, at http://www.heroeswiki.com.

  • Susan O.

    Am I the only one old enough (eek!) to remember when a season was made of 26 episodes? And you looked forward to a predictable re-run season to catch that episode you missed, without worrying about whether your machine caught it for you. You didn’t have to worry about keeping interest between seasons, because no one would dare miss a season finale or a season opener. TV shouldn’t be this complicated.

  • hi bob:

    just to touch on the point that ABC was “too slow to exploit Lost”…

    i thought some of the issues with the show earlier in this season (season 2) were because they exploited it -too- much and failed to concentrate on the main product (the show itself).

    there were podcasts, there was the “Lost Experience” (which i didn’t partake in but was apparently some interactive online experience), there was even a book being sold that was “authored” by one of the passengers of Oceanic Flight 815 (not one of the ones that survived, apparently). Look up “Bad Twin” on Amazon.

    i do think the show has regained its footing since after its most recent hiatus. but earlier this season, i was close to being ready to give up and walk away. and i do think it had a -lot- to do with the creative powers being spread too thin (with the over-exploitation of the show).

    just sayin’ 🙂