'Lost' forever: End is near


ABC has set an end date for "Lost."

The Emmy-winning adventure series will run for 48 more episodes over three seasons. Each season will consist of 16 episodes, which will air uninterrupted.

"Lost" executive producers/ showrunners Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse, who have been vocal about setting up an endgame for the show, have signed on to stay for the remainder of the series' run. Their separate new eight-figure deals with "Lost" producer ABC TV Studio include their services on the show as well as multiyear development pacts set to kick in when "Lost" bows out during the 2009-10 season.

"Due to the unique nature of 'Lost,' we knew it would require an end date to keep the integrity and strength of the show consistent throughout and to give the audience the payoff they deserve," ABC Entertainment president Stephen McPherson said. "Having Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse signed on to complete the journey of this show was critical to me and the network. Damon and Carlton have tremendous talent, and we're thrilled that they'll be with the show throughout its run."

Lindelof and Cuse praised McPherson and ABC TV Studio president Mark Pedowitz for "their bold leadership and vision in making this groundbreaking decision."

Having the end point in sight is "incredibly liberating," Lindelof said. "Like we've been running a marathon and we actually know where the finish line is for the first time."

Lindelof and Cuse said they've had "a road map for the series with all the major mythological milestones and the ending in place" for a while.

"What we didn't know was how long we had to play the story out," Cuse said. "By defining the endpoint we can now really map out the rest of the series in confidence."

There will be some puzzle play, too.

"We sort of view 'Lost' as a mosaic," Cuse said. "Now there are only 48 more tiles that go into that mosaic, and we're figuring out, along with all the other writers, exactly where they all go."

In January, Lindelof and Cuse said that they envisioned the endpoint for "Lost" around episode 100. The agreement with ABC will bring the total number of episodes to 120.

"Together on 'Lost,' Damon and Carlton have made some of the most innovative episodes of television ever written," Pedowitz said. "With its sprawling characters and complex storytelling, 'Lost' has become a cultural phenomenon, and we wanted to make sure we had the team responsible for its success in place for not only the run of the show but so that each of their future series creations have a home at the studio after 'Lost.' "

Lindelof wrote the pilot for "Lost" with fellow executive producer J.J. Abrams, and Cuse joined the series in October 2004 shortly after the show debuted to big numbers.

In addition to its instant commercial success and large following, "Lost" has enjoyed strong critical acclaim, capped by a best drama series Emmy in 2005 and best drama series Golden Globe in 2006.

Lindelof, Cuse and Abrams are executive producing "Lost" with Bryan Burk, Jack Bender and Jeff Pinkner.

"Lost" has consistently been the No. 1 show among adults 18-49 in its time period. And while the show's ratings have softened this season, it is the most recorded show on TV, gaining 18% more viewers through DVR viewing. It is also a popular draw for streaming replays on ABC.com, iTunes downloads and DVDs.

Lindelof is repped by CAA and attorney Bob Myman. Cuse is repped by WMA and attorneys Ernie Del and Jeffrey Finkelstein.