Is it Ali Larter or Hayden Panettiere?

Michael Ausiello of EW.com has confirmed an earlier report that one of the two actresses asked out of her contract with NBC.

TV.com goes on to speculate about who it might be.

The actress’ discontent allegedly stems from a lack of camera time, and writers have acquiesced and written in a death scene for the actor’s character should she fly the coop. However, if negotiations don’t work and the actor is retained, writers also have a plan to easily bring back the actress through one of Heroes’ death loopholes (in this case, Claire Bennett’s regeneration abilities and Tracy Strauss’ wonder twin powers).

One would assume that the actress in question would be Larter, who has seen her character be little more than a throw-in this season (ice powers? Boooooring!). On the other hand, red-hot Hayden would stand to gain the most from moving on given her popularity.

My money is on Panettiere. Larter is 32 and has been around the block a few times, at least enough to know that steady, high-profile gigs like “Heroes” don’t grow on trees. Panettiere is just 19 and probably thinks that she’s destined to be the next Reese Witherspoon. TV.com speculated that it might be Larter because she hasn’t gotten very much screen time lately, but the cheerleader’s screen time is down as well from the first two seasons as the show has added more characters and delved into many different storylines. The show is no longer “save the cheerleader, save the world,” is it?

And given the way she treated fellow Premium Hollywood writer Will Harris at a press event, it wouldn’t be any surprise that she’d be acting like a diva.

What I want to know is why is Ausiello playing coy? Why doesn’t he just break the news?

Hmm…maybe he doesn’t know.