With less than three months left before the Season 3 premiere of HEROES, America is getting ready to bring Hayden Panettiere, the young star of the NBC hit phenom, back to the forefront of its consciousness. Filming has already begun for the next season of the hit series and according to Tim Kring, the show’s creator, everybody involved is excited to have Panettiere (and to a lesser extent, the show itself) regularly grace the covers of sci-fi magazines, Entertainment Weekly, the weekend pop culture section of local newspapers, and the LIFE section of USA TODAY. “It’s been a dry six months for Hayden,” Kring said in a conference call to any and all reporters and fans who would listen. “But she is ready to be back in the last story of the early evening local news broadcast.”
The last time more than 2 million people were even aware of Penetierre at one single moment was during the HEROES season finale, which aired on December 3, 2007. All data collected since then indicates that no more than eight dozen people at one time have thought about, researched, Google-searched, or fantasized about Panettiere since December 4, 2007 at approximately 2:30pm EST.
“Sure, there were some press releases and human interest stories about Hayden’s charitable efforts to save dolphins or something earlier this year,” Kring said. But those stories failed to capture the hearts of Americans who would much rather hear about Panettiere’s work on HEROES, and her previous work on GUIDING LIGHT and ALLY MCBEAL. There was a slight buzz when one of the press release headlines read “HEROES Star Leads Cheer to Save Dolphins,” and it included a publicity photo of Panettiere dressed as her Cheerleader character from the first season, but that quickly faded as the release only mentioned that she is cast member on HEROES and neglects say anything about the new season.
“I can’t believe that cute little Hayden has grown up into this beautiful young star in Hollywood,” says one fan. “It’s almost like she is an indestructible force, much like her character Claire on NBC’s hit show HEROES. I just wish the media would remind me of that every week before and after the show comes back on the air. I’d also like to know which superpower she would most like to have, whether it’s a power that’s been featured on the show or something else entirely.”
“Masi [Oka, who plays Hiro Nakamura on the hit show HEROES] is also excited to talk to entertainment reporters and news magazines this fall,” Kring told reporters. “From what I understand, his agent has not heard from anyone since the week before last Christmas,” where a young researcher from Entertainment Weekly called to see if the star knew how Panettiere might be spending her time during the holidays. The story was bumped from the issue for a 65-word ‘Quick Hit’ piece on Seth McFarlane, creator of FOX’s FAMILY GUY. Masi Oka usually enjoys a nice boost in media coverage while the show is on the air and he regularly fields questions about playing endearing hero Hiro, who helps his fellow heroes – inlcuding Panettiere’s Claire – on HEROES with his time-controlling abilities. “America is just about ready to talk about Oka’s command of the English language and his heritage again,” Kring said. “The country needs to be reminded that while Oka is Japanese-born, he has lived in the U.S. since he was six years old and speaks English and Japanese fluently.”
Come August, there will be a massive demand for new information on Panettiere and HEROES, and the media is prepared to ask the hard questions like, “We’ve been hearing ‘save the cheerleader, save the world,’ for quite a awhile, and while Claire was saved in the first season, does that means the world is safe?” And Kring says he will let the hints fly at the end of the summer, but right now he wants to get the first half of the season complete. “Hayden will be available to answer that question and many more once we have episodes in the can,” Kring promises.
The third season of HEROES, starring Hayden Panettiere, premieres on NBC on September 22 at 9/8c.