I haven't yet seen any of this and I don't get BBC3 so I don't know when I will but from the sketchy details from the BBC trailer I immediately thought "Wild Cards". In Heroes some people wake up one morning with lots of different powers. In Wild Cards, an alien virus is accidentally released into Earth's atmosphere and lots of people wake up with new superhero powers (aces), while others wake up with useless powers (deuces) while others have hideous deformities (jokers).
The interesting thing about Wild Cards is that not everyone good got to be an Ace and vice versa. It was totally random.
I'd be interested to know just how Heroes differs from the Wild Cards set-up, or whether it's a rip-off, when someone here gets to see it.
I highly recommend the first few Wild Card books for anyone interested in this sort of thing.