Tim Kring, creator of NBC's Heroes has found the culprit for the super-mutant soap opera's problems — its most loyal viewers. In an interview, Kring called viewers who watch the show live "saps" and "dipshits." Strong (and sort of weird-uncle-ish) words, but Kring was grappling to explain a change in viewing habits that could sink science fiction shows in future. Will his latest mistake hurt his already-struggling show?In an interview with IGN Kring struggled to describe why so many people may prefer watching a story-rich show like Heroes via TiVo or online, hurting the show's ratings:
[Serialized storytelling] is a very flawed way of telling stories on network television right now, because of the advent of the DVR and online streaming. The engine that drove [serialized TV] was you had to be in front of the TV [when it aired]. Now you can watch it when you want, where you want, how you want to watch it, and almost all of those ways are superior to watching it on air. So [watching it] on air is related to the saps and the dips**ts who can't figure out how to watch it in a superior way.
Time and The Onion AV Club were quick to point out the silliness of Kring's argument, even aside from the inflammatory way he worded it. DVR and Internet streaming are hurting viewership across the board, and Heroes' problems run a lot deeper than just a sudden rise in the number of people who've figured out the DVR remote. (Like, every character doing a sudden 180 degree change, and tons of confusing new characters. Just watch season two — on your computer, of course.) The Onion AV Club also argues that DVRs and online streaming have been a boon to shows like Heroes, where you can't miss an episode without being totally lost. On the other hand, it's true that geek-friendly shows like Heroes have the highest DVR viewing figures and have therefore been hit the hardest. Kring rushed to apologize, and in his defense he seems genuinely sorry. It's gotta be hard to be the Heroes guy these days.
I need to strongly apologize for the slightly mangled quote of mine that is making it’s way around the internet. It was made while trying to explain the rise in DVR and online audience for the show. I was making the point that these platforms now offer a superior way to watch the show (without commercials, with extra content, commentary, at the audience’s convenience, etc.) And went on to say how it’s getting to the point where “watching the show on the air is relegated to the poor saps and dip****s who can’t figure out how to program their DVR’s”. (Or something close to that) It was a boneheaded attempt at being “cute” and making a point. Instead, it turned out to be just plain insulting and stupid. I know now how it sounded, but I truly never meant to suggest anything negative about our audience. No one cares more about the fans than we do at Heroes, and no one appreciates them more than me. We are grateful for whatever way people are finding our show. Now more than ever. I want to take this opportunity to say that I’m very sorry for this careless, lame remark. The best way to make it up to you is to live up to my promise that the upcoming episodes of the show are fantastic. I think you’ll agree we’re really on a roll and we couldn’t be more excited about the last four episodes of “Villains” and the upcoming volume, “Fugitives”, which we feel will be a huge hit with the audience. Thank you for hearing me out. Humbly Tim Kring