Tim Kring, creator of Heroes, caused a bit of a stir last week when he blamed Heroes’ ratings problems on DVR, DVD and online viewing—which, he said, left the show’s live ratings dependent on “saps and dips__ts” who didn’t know how to use technology.
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.) … 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 bad about our audience.
In a way, the “saps and dips__ts” line was the most defensible part of Kring’s statement. After all, you could argue that he was insulting the people who tuned in live to watch Heroes, but the larger group of people who watch something else instead. (Or at least, that Heroes’ viewers are the smartest saps and dips___ts in sap-and-dips__t land!)
The bigger question is whether Kring realizes that his major problem is not technology—which has probably done much to build Heroes’ audience over the years, just as it has for Lost and even The Office—but the quality of the show. We have the memo from Kring, and it’s a gracious one. But hopefully he got the memo about his show’s problems too.