Forget invisibility and super-healing. NBC has discovered the power to inflate the ratings for
Heroes' season premiere, seizing a new Nielsen rule that allows a network to add in the audience for any same-week rebroadcast. NBC will re-air the
Heroes episode this Saturday night, and as long as the hour features the
exact same commercial content - an easy requirement in this case, as Nissan was the eppy's sole sponsor - its numbers can be bundled into the 14.12 mil recorded on Monday.
But pay attention: Not only does the Peacock get to puff up Heroes' tally, it also won't get dinged for the typically lousy Saturday hour that normally would have sucked up prime-time space. "Theoretically, [NBC is] doing nothing wrong," ABC's research chief tells Variety. "But morally, they're playing with the weekly averages. You could see where this could lead to abuse."