NBC halts production on ‘Heroes’

NBC has pulled the plug on the ill-fated NBC midseason series “Local Heroes,” starring David Keith and Bill Nunn, after producing just five of the initially ordered 13 episodes.

The network confirmed that production has ceased and said thestatus of the five completed episodes is undetermined, but the decision reportedly spells the end for the Paramount Network TV series, which has been plagued by a variety of problems without airing a single episode.

The most recent setback came when exec producers Norm Gunzenhauser and Tom Seeley left the show due to creative differences with Paramount (Daily Variety, Oct. 23).

The difficulties started last May, after NBC designated the show for its fall lineup, to air at 8 p.m. Fridays paired with “The Powers That Be.” However, CBS then set its own plans for a Friday comedy block, with “Golden Palace” and “Major Dad” from 8-9 p.m., and NBC ultimately decided to go with reality series in that hour and hold the two comedies in reserve.

“Local Heroes” grew out of the short-lived 1991 sitcom “Flesh ‘n’ Blood,” which starred Keith and was bought without a pilot from Paramount and the “Cheers” team of Charles-Burrows-Charles. Although the show proved a ratings failure, NBC and Par decided to try and fashion a new series around Keith.

The new show, about two past-their-prime high school football stars, was created by Kenneth Estin, who left the project, which was subsequently assigned to Gunzenhauser and Seeley, former producers on “Murphy Brown.”

On top of the other problems, NBC has also struggled with a name for the series. Initially called “Buck and Barry,” the show was at various times titled “In the Loop” and “Glory Boys” before the web settled on its current moniker.

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