"LOST" Gets 5 Extra Post-Strike Episodes (UPDATED)
ABC's hit mystery drama "Lost" which has bounced back in the ratings this winter averaging over 15 million viewers on Thursdays at 9/8c could get as many as 5 extra episodes this spring, in addition to the 8 already produced. UPDATE: Scroll down to the bottom of the post for the latest developments.
According to a groundbreaking agreement between the network and the producers from 2007, the show was set to end in 2010 after 3 abbreviated seasons of 16 episodes which were all scheduled to run from February through May of each year.
But the writers' strike hampered those plans shutting down the Hawaii-based production after only 8 episodes. The network went ahead with the airplay schedule despite the shutdown with the last of the 8 episodes scheduled for March 20.
According to executive producer Carlton Cuse, the cast and crew will try to make five more episodes. Cuse says writers will "accelerate our storytelling" to get to the end point they had already mapped out for this season.
"It's a little bit like driving cross country to Boston. If the goal is to get there two days earlier, we will have to take more interstates and fewer rural byways," Cuse says to USA Today.
The remaining 3 episodes are then expected to be rolled into the next season.
It is however not yet clear how these episodes will be scheduled. The first concern is whether the first of them would be ready for March 27 to ensure the season progresses uninterrupted.
The second concern is whether the show would remain in the timeslot which belongs to ABC's second highest rated drama "Grey's Anatomy." The medical series is expected to be back with 4-7 new episodes this spring.
There are only 9 Thursdays left till the end of the season beyond March 20. Would "Lost" and "Grey's Anatomy" share the timeslot, with the former getting 5 and the latter just 4 new episodes?
Will "Lost" move to 10:00pm to make way for more than 4 new episodes of "Grey's Anatomy"? Or would ABC even extend the season into June to get all of these episodes on the air in the same timeslot?
Just some of the questions for ABC management to ponder as TV production gets back into high gear.
UPDATE: Carlton Cuse has just revealed to TV Guide the 5 extra episodes will not be ready for March 27. In fact, there will be at least a month-long gap between them.
"Lost" is too complex and elaborate of a production to simply churn out 5 new episodes from scratch by early April.
Some of the guest stars may also not be available at this time. The producers are currently trying to figure out how to get out of the mess created by the strike.
As for the 3 episodes, they may air next season or later in the series, but a total of 40 additional episodes beyond the 8 filmed before the strike will definitely air.