LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - 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.
Lindelof said having the end point in sight was “incredibly liberating. 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.
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.
While the show’s ratings have softened this season -- it is averaging 15.1 million viewers to date -- 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.