Hayden Panettiere, Robert Forster and Masi Oka Hayden Panettiere, Robert Forster and Masi Oka

Heroes will go back to its roots in its midseason return, trying to win new viewers and recapture those turned off by too many characters and plotlines.

"This volume starts us pretty much from scratch," creator Tim Kring said in a statement Thursday. "There is almost nothing that the audience needs to know from the previous volume in order to follow the storyline."

The reboot may be arriving just in time to save the show, which has faltered in ratings and irritated many fans since it's successful debut season.

Angela Bromstad, NBC's president of primetime entertainment, said Thursday that the show was "very secure" — but she didn't go so far as to announce its renewal, as she did for The Office, 30 Rock, and The Biggest Loser.

Bromstad said she's talked with Kring about whether the show has strayed too far from it's original focus: ordinary people dealing with extraordinary powers.

"They may have taken on too much in terms of characters and multiple storylines," she said.

The fourth volume of the show, airing Feb. 2 and entitled "Fugitives," features the heroes trying to lead normal lives — until Claire (Hayden Panettiere) discovers a plot to hunt down and capture those with powers, orchestated by Nathan (Adrian Pasdar).

Damages actor Zeljko Ivanek will play a character called The Hunter.

Finally, in a long-awaited development, Sylar (Zachary Quinto) will begin the search for his real parents.