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Master of Sci-Fi: Tim Kring

Looking at Tim Kring’s resume during the 1990s and early 2000s, you’d be hard-pressed to imagine that he’d go on to create “Heroes,” one of the biggest sci-fi hits in years.

He worked on shows such as “Chicago Hope” and “Providence.” He created the “Quincy, M.E.”-like crime drama “Crossing Jordan.” There was the 1999 drama “Strange World,” about freaky medical and scientific discoveries, but it lasted just three weeks on ABC.

Escapism Artists

“I had had enough of a varied career as a writer that I wasn’t easily pigeonholed,” Mr. Kring said.

He created “Heroes” as a means of exploring the idea of the world facing grave dangers and peril, and needing to be saved.

“The normal avenues of a cop or medical drama wouldn’t be able to contain the scope of the stories I wanted to tell,” he said. “It led me into superhero protagonists.”

And into no less than the biggest hit of the 2006-07 season. “Heroes” was one of the few out-of-the-box hits to launch on network TV in recent years, and while its ratings slipped last year, it remains one of TV’s most popular shows—and a hugely important franchise for NBC.

Interestingly, “Crossing Jordan” turns out to have been a sci-fi breeding ground. “Lost” co-creator Damon Lindelof worked for Mr. Kring on “Jordan”—and Mr. Kring said Mr. Lindelof advised him often during the development of “Heroes.”

“‘Heroes’ really did stand on the shoulders of ‘Lost,’” he said.

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