"Heroes" spin-off shelved; "Samantha Who?" picked up for full season

– NBC has shelved plans to launch a spin-off of the TV series Heroes indefinitely. The move comes as a looming writers’ strike plans to wreak havoc with the networks’ schedules.

The toast of the 2006-07 season, both Heroes and Ugly Betty are not having great sophomore seasons, with both programs down in the ratings from last year and both are coming under fire from fans and critics for lackluster creative direction (This just in: Mo Ryan from the Trib has joined the anti-Heroes bandwagon.)

In other words, both shows are like the Chicago Bears – and all three have been painful to watch this season. With the strike coming, both scripted shows will run out of episodes soon, and when they do, both are unlikely to be missed. Too bad the Bears aren’t members of the Writer’s Guild.

– It looks like we have found the next Seinfeld: Samantha Who?, which has beaten Heroes in the ratings in its first few episodes, has been picked up for a full season by ABC. The program moves into the 8 p.m. (CT) time slot beginning on November 26. Samantha’s big test now is up against CBS’ popular Two and a Half Men.

Samantha has been a critical and ratings hit, holding its numbers week-to-week in total viewers and key demos. Many believe this program filled the void left by sitcoms such as Seinfeld, Malcolm in the Middle, and Everybody Loves Raymond – the last ones to be christened both critical and ratings hits.

Congratulations to ABC on finding a hit sitcom. Now don’t screw it up like you did with Mork & Mindy.

updated at 8:06 p.m. on 2007-11-01