Sky One: Let's get 'Lost'

$75 mil bid steals show from Ch. 4

Sky One programming chief Richard Woolfe has made his biggest series acquisition, inking an estimated £40 million ($75.1 million) deal with Buena Vista International Television to bring "Lost" to the satellite broadcaster.

BSkyB has poached the ABC drama from Channel 4 after the terrestrial broadcaster balked at paying about £1 million ($1.9 million) an episode for the third and fourth seasons of the disaster drama, sources close to the deal said.

Sky beat off competition from ITV, Five and Channel 4 to take exclusive U.K. rights to the show and will take mobile and video-on-demand rights as well. The show will not air to terrestrial audiences here.

Woolfe said the pay TV broadcaster will spread "Lost" across multiple platforms.

"The series has defined TV drama over the last two years and has been the envy of every network," Woolfe said.

"Today's audiences demand more quality and flexibility than ever before, so we are intending to use various digital media platforms to make 'Lost' available to our customers when they want and how they want," Wolfe added.

Though ratings for the show in the U.S. have been strong, average ratings for Season 2 on Channel 4 have slipped to 2.8 million (a 16% share) from 4.1 million (a 21% share) in its first season. The network has "Ugly Betty" lined up to fill the slot previously occupied by "Lost."

Channel 4 declined comment on the deal, which was negotiated by David Smyth, head of acquisitions for Sky One, Two and Three, and BVITV's Catherine Powell, executive director of sales, U.K. and Ireland.