ABC Announces End Date for "LOST"
MAY 7, 2007: ABC has made its final decision and announced "LOST" will end in 2010 after 3 shorter seasons of 16 episodes.
Contrary to traditional scheduling of TV shows in America that entails keeping a program on the air until the ratings fizzle out, the ABC television network has agreed, in an unprecedented move, to let Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof, the producers of its hit drama "LOST," end the series at a set future date.
Earlier this year the producers publicly expressed their wish to agree with the network an end date and conclude the show gracefully, once its storylines run their course, unlike virtually all TV shows on American TV which for business reasons are kept on air beyond that point and eventually turn into a parody of themselves.
The producers envisioned ending the show after 2 seasons of 24 episodes (ABC produced 25, 24 and 23 hours of LOST in its first three seasons respectively).
According to the new deal the producers would still get their wish - there will be 48 additional episodes, but as a compromise, ABC asked that they be divided into three seasons of 16 episodes, to keep the show on the air a year longer.
ABC believes it can market such shorter seasons as events as they will be run non-stop similar to this year's second part of the third season which also included 16 episodes (albeit the final episode is a 2-hour event.)
The network has yet to announce the exact starting date of the 4th season, but there is now almost no doubt that it will run similar to this year's 16-episode batch February through May.
That means after this May's spectacular 2-hour season finale which airs on May 23, the viewers will have to wait over 8 months to see the next episode. The question remains - will such a long hiatus hurt the show's already deflated ratings further?
Despite the drop, the show remains a top-10 hit among adults 18-49 and brings in as many young viewers as NBC's red-hot hit "Heroes." Also there are over 2 million people who watch the show via DVR or downloads.
J.J. Abrams who originally created the series said to Daily Variety: "It is the right choice for the series and its viewers; it takes real foresight and guts to make a call like this. I applaud ABC and Touchstone for making this happen."
Cuse and Lindelof who are currently overseeing the production of the season finale episode said this was "a bold and unprecedented move for ABC" and they thanked ABC President Steven McPherson for making that decision.
Cuse added: "I think for story-based shows like 'Lost,' as opposed to franchise-based shows like 'ER' or 'CSI,' the audience wants to know when the story is going to be over."
"When J.K. Rowling announced that there would be seven 'Harry Potter' books, it gave the readers a clear sense of exactly what their investment would be. We want our audience to do the same."
It is believed the producers would have abandoned the show after its 5th season unless ABC agreed to an end date. They also welcomed the 16-episode order because it will give them more time to write the remaining stories:
"Because our show is so mythological, and because, unlike '24,' we can't reset each season, we need the extra time fewer episodes affords us to really plan out the specifics of our storytelling."
According to people on the set of "LOST" the shocking 2-hour 3rd season finale which airs on May 23 will completely shake up the plot and "change everything."
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