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Confirmed: Lost Is Baked

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A valuable lesson for writers; don't start what you can't finish.
I know there are a lot of Lost fans out there, some of my extended family is amongst them, but it just never grabbed me the way it seemed to everyone else. I love a good mystery second only to how much I love a good payoff, but Lost only ever seemed to deliver on the first part of the deal.

People have groaned about this more and more, yet still defend the show vehemently even as it became clear viewers were tuning out in droves. The once dominant drama has lost half its audience between the second season premier and today. With Grey's Anatomy taking over as ABC's biggest show and a spinoff in the works, it has finally come time to pay the piper for the advertising dollars the expensive production is costing ABC.

There was a solid rumor going around the industry on Friday that the decision to cancel Lost in two years had already been made, and would be announced over the weekend. Comes news that the rumor was true.

ABC has set the end date for the show three years from now, and drastically cut back on its production. Whereas a normal season would be comprised of 22 or 23 episodes for a total of 66 over three years, Lost will be cut down to 16 per season for a total of 48 more episodes. 48 is just about what you'd get if you had two full normal seasons.

These actions make increasingly clear that ABC has lost all confidence in Lost, that it is no longer the tent pole property it used to be, and has become too costly and fallen too far in the ratings to warrant full seasons.

It is commendable on ABC's part to try to allow the showrunner time to wrap up all of the storylines his writing staff began, but were too inept or constrained to payoff. Had they had been more disciplined to start off with, the show may not be struggling so badly in the ratings as it is today.

Still, this is no guarantee that Lost will actually make it three more years. As the number of episodes next year declines to just 4 more than half a season, increasing the wait time between seasons significantly (nearly 67% of the year will go by while you wait) I can guarantee you that while the ratings may get a bump from the foreknowledge that answers will be coming, in the long rung it will only result in more lost viewers as people get lost in the TV guide searching for Lost on the airwaves.

Several producers have expressed a wish for the show to end in recent years, and probably aren't looking forward to having J.J. Abrams drag this out unnecessarily.

  • Paris Hilton fired her publicist, whom she blames for forcing her drive drunk at the barrel of a gun, then violating her probation by driving without a license with a knife to her throat. Only not so much.

  • Stana Katic (Heroes) has a new crime flick with an ubercast of supporters like Michael Biehn and Dominique Swain.

  • DreamWorks is looking for fresh talent to direct the freshly written Shrek 4.

  • NBCU is joining Viacom's fight with Google's YouTube. Hate to say it, but Google is going to lose this one, and lose badly.

  • Another Rambo is in the works, because played-out franchise film sequels are exactly what audiences have been demanding.

  • Movement on the front to remake/sequelize Wallstreet. Get Oliver Stone, or don't even bother.

  • First we had Snakes on a Plane, now we've got Zombies on a plane. Well, I guess having your entire film shot on a plane makes for great budgets. (trailer)

  • Director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo had to learn English (English english) to get the feel right for shooting 28 Weeks Later in London.

  • TV Squad is taking a look at their readers negative reactions to the Grey's Anatomy spinoff coverage. Not really the coverage itself, so much as the idea of the spinoff.

  • A guy with a girls first name is the guy to host the Guy's Choice Awards on Spike TV. Oops.
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The text of this article is Copyright © 2006,2007 Paul William Tenny. All rights reserved. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License. Attribution by: full name and original URL. Comments are copyrighted by their authors and are not subject to the Creative Commons license of the article itself.