Lost Wraps in Three Years

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ABC’s Lost will end in 2010. The television company has reached an agreement with writer Damon Lindelof and executive producer Carlton Cuse to set a firm end date for the hit series, which will now see its final episode go on air during the 2009-10 season, the show’s sixth.

Following the Season 3 conclusion later this month, the following three seasons will be shortened to 16 episodes each, putting the total number of episodes at 119. The decision to put a clear end date on the calendar and to produce only 48 more episodes over the next three years is a compromise between ABC and the show’s top creators.

Comic book fans will remember that Lindelof and Cuse had always been very leery of the network forcing them to keep the show going, having expressed resentment over the idea that Lost’s story would be stretched out until it would lose interest dramatically at last year’s San Diego Comic-Con International.

The two released a joint statement, in which they thanked ABC for making the though decision, pointing out it was critical for the show’s continued success not to drag things out for too long. Cuse stated, "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."

The new deal means ABC gets an extra season out of the show, while Cuse and Lindelof—who wanted to end the show with Season 5—only produce the same number of episodes they created over the series’ first two seasons. Cuse added that “In making this deal, Damon and I had two priorities: defining an end point for the show and keeping the quality bar high. To do that we are both fully committed to the day-to-day running of the show right up until the very end. It's also why the 16 episodes per year was key for us. 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."

ABC Entertainment president Steve McPherson acknowledged that putting a fixed end date out there was critical to ensure Cuse and Lindelof’s continued involvement, and keeping the door for producing their post-Lost projects at the network.

With the ending now on the calendar, Lindelof said everyone should forget about the idea of seeing (part of) Lost’s storyline continue in one form or another. “There will be no extensions or enhancements. That number [of 48 more episodes] is absolute. Once you begin to see where we're going, I think the idea of sequels and spinoffs will completely go away."

While details of the Season 3’s finale are a closely guarded secret, it is said to shake things up severely. “Through The Looking Glass”, the finale’s title, will kick off Wednesday, May 23.

As for when Season 4 will launch, nothing’s official yet, though ABC has hinted it won’t start airing before January or February 2008.

Read more about this story at Variety.

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