Heroes' Season Finale Beats Jay Leno's Ratings... Barely.

Heroes "failed to see a bounce" for its story's climax, says Variety. The show got 4.4 million viewers, barely beating the 4.3 million who tuned into Jay Leno's almost-final 10 PM show. But Heroes still might get a fifth season.

Various TV blogs are pointing out that the show does well overseas, and sells a lot of DVDs. Plus there's a crucial factor: The show now has 77 episodes, and one more season would bring it up to the magic number of 100 episodes, allowing it to run in syndication forever. (Although the counter-argument is that Heroes is so serialized that it won't work all that well in syndication, which depends on people being able to pick up a random episode and understand what's going on.)

Also, NBC President of Primetime Entertainment Angela Bromstad told reporters at the Television Critics Association press tour that "Heroes is a show that we obviously really love," and it was doing well in the 8 PM slot. (It moved to 9 PM after Chuck came back.) She added that the network would make its decisions after seeing new pilots. Also, when Comcast announced it was buying NBC/Universal, CEO Brian Roberts "gave a verbal shout-out" to Heroes on the investor conference call.

TV By The Numbers, a couple weeks ago, was a bit more gloomy:

Heroes has had its ratings ups and downs this season, but lately, they've been all down. Since the new year it's had adults 18-49 ratings of 2.2, 2.1, 1.8 and 1.9 (prelim). It's going to take some really super powers to get its ratings back enough to save it from being canceled, and its only got a few episodes left this season to do it.

Suffice to say, the show's ratings (2.0 for the last episode) didn't really pick up.