STRUCK DUMB: LET’S GET LOST: Mid-season premieres and replacements have taken on enhanced importance in the looming shadow of the Hollywood writers’ strike, and with Idol’s leviathan bulk looming over the horizon, competing networks are doing their best to get out of the way of Fox’s reality TV juggernaut.
And so Lost, which returns to ABC this January, is undergoing a shift from Wednesday night to Thursday, to keep it out of Idol’s churning wake, which grinds up even top-rated shows like a canoe under a car ferry. The show’s fourth season will move into the Grey’s Anatomy’s Thursday night time slot, and show creator Damon Lindelof couldn’t be more excited, according to the Los Angeles Times.
“I think it’s awesome,” Lindelof said. “If they had told us last year we were going to get the Grey’s Anatomy time slot, I would have been thrilled, especially since there’s no new CSI to go against,” he said. “But the time slot is completely colored by the fact that we’re still engaged in this writers strike. It’s bad for the entire town. The only show you don’t want to be up against in January is American Idol, and there were very few time slots that would afford us to not compete with Idol. It’s great to not be up against Idol but (it’s a shame) that we’re not up against Idol because there’s a writers strike.”
Unfortunately, only 8 episodes of Lost were completed before the writers’ strike began, and ABC is being forced to make the same mistake it made last year, when it aired season three in two parts with a break that saw a 14 per cent drop in ratings, which created a new consensus that split seasons were an idea almost as bad as marrying off characters whose simmering, frustrated romance was the only dramatic tension left in an aging show.
“This is a very tough dilemma,” said Lost executive producer Carlton Cuse. “The lesson last year was six episodes was an exercise in frustration. I think eight episodes would only be slightly less so. We hope that when the show airs, all 16 would air consecutively. That’s the way we’ve designed our season and that is our hope.”
Lindelof and Cuse had also better hope that their cast is either still alive or out of jail by the time they get back into production — a problem peculiar to Lost, it seems — and that viewers still remember that there are shows down there on the low end of the dial.