Stage set for Cuse

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He was a fixture on the picket lines and at strike rallies, often with his bike in tow.

Then on Saturday night, "Lost" executive producer/co-showrunner Carlton Cuse was onstage at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles as a member of the team briefing fellow writers on the tentative agreement struck with the producers. That is the same stage where 2 1/2 years ago, Cuse stood up to accept a best series Emmy as a member of the producing team of the hit drama "Lost."

"It was incredible," Cuse said of his experience Saturday night. "It was so gratifying to see that at the end of the strike, we were still united as a guild despite all the talk that writers are hellbent ideologues who can't understand a complex deal."

What is even more incredible is that unity was preserved by the very issue that divided the writers and studios and led to the strike -- new media -- through sites like UnitedHollywood.com.

"The Internet became a tool for a really complex communication with the writers," Cuse said. "Because of that level of communication, writers understood the details in the negotiations, felt very participatory, and that level of involvement and understanding was key to maintaining the unity of the guild."

Cuse said he's happy with the outcome of the strike and can't wait to go back to his day job on "Lost."

"We're going to have to hit the ground running, go from zero to 100 mph in a matter of days to make as many episodes as possible," he said.

The goal for Cuse and co-showrunner Damon Lindelof is to produce five more episodes this season, a tall order given the time constraints and the scope of storytelling and production on "Lost." Even with five additional hours, Cuse and Lindelof will be three episodes short of the premapped fourth season.

"We will have to condense some stories," Cuse said.
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