Responding to fan complaints, ABC will avoid repeating episodes of the hit serialized drama, airing the show instead in two originals-only chunks.
ABC is scheduling its desert-island thriller, Lost, in two originals-only chunks for the show’s third season, said ABC Entertainment president Stephen McPherson at the TV Critics tour in Pasadena, Calif., on Tuesday.
The network is responding to fan complaints that the show was too frequently in repeats last season.
“If we could run 22 episodes straight starting in the fall we probably would, but we can’t get that many done that quickly,ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â McPherson said. “We’re really listening to the viewers and then dealing with the reality of the production schedule.ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â
The show will premiere on Wednesday, Oct.. 4 in its regular time slot at 9 p.m. ET, and then ABC will run six or seven original episodes in a row, likely taking the show through the November sweeps.
Lost will then go on hiatus, stepping aside for thirteen weeks while ABC airs Daybreak, a drama featuring Taye Diggs as a detective who is living a Groundhog Day-like nightmare. Lost will then return in the spring to play out its final 15 or 16 episodes through the end of the season.
In the interim, fans can stay connected to the show through on-line tie-ins. “We won’t have broadband episodes separately. People can keep up with it and have additive experiences in betwee the run,ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â McPherson said.ABC also plans to market the show heavily both at the beginning of the season and when it returns in the spring.
ABC will roll out its fall schedule slowly, with Dancing with the Stars returning for its third season with a two-hour premiere on Tuesday, Sept. 12, and a results show on Wednesday, Sept. 13 the next night.
The network’s real launch comes on Thursday, Sept. 21, when Grey’s Anatomy and Six Degrees premiere at 9 and 10 p.m. ET.
Asked how he thinks Grey’s will do on Thursdays against CBS’s CSI, McPherson said: “CBS and CSI have dominated that night. We’re coming on with a strong competitor and hope to do some business there.ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â
On Saturday, CBS Entertainment President Nina Tassler said she expected to lose a bit of ground to ABC’s hit hospital drama. CBS has a history of trying to set low expectations for the performances of its shows in big time-period battles. CBS CEO Leslie Moonves said the same thing when NBC pitted Law & Order against CSI: New York.
Overall, McPherson said that he thinks the battle for adults 18-49 will again be a “three-way horse race,ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â between ABC, CBS and Fox, with Fox’s American Idol still giving it the edge.
“It’s frankly a horse race that doesn’t matter. Really, it’s just an ego-measuring contest, but that’s not about business. We don’t sell first, second, third or fourth. We sell demos, and time periods. When we have parity like we have, what place you are in doesn’t have a lot of relevance.ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â