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Heroes Uses Loophole to Supe Up Premiere Ratings

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."

Matt Mitovich

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."