Goodbye to Lost: How the Final Episode of Lost is Turning into a Huge Event
By now, many people are aware that the immensely popular ABC drama LOST is ending its six year run on May 23. This finale is an event that has been in the process since before the show began its fourth season in January of 2008. On May 7, 2007, before the third season finale even aired, the producers decided that they wanted to set an end date for serialized drama. The worked out a deal with network ABC where they would do three more seasons of the show. What did the show and the network stand to benefit from this move?
When a show announces that it is ending at certain time, the final season turns into an event. Knowing that they may never see their favorite shows in their original airing again, the final season becomes appointment viewing. NBC had this happen several times to some of its Must-See TV Thursday sitcoms in the 90’s and early 2000’s. Cheers, Seinfeld, and Friends were three hugely popular series that went into their series knowing it was their last. The finale of all these shows were huge events for the time, drawing in huge ratings. One of the best examples of a series’ finale becoming a huge event was in the summer of 1967 when The Fugitive aired its final episode. The finale was watched by more than 30 million people (45.9 % of the American viewing audience) and became the most watched television episode of all time. It was also the most watched series finale of all time until M*A*S*H beat that record when more than 105 million people watched its final episode on February 28, 1983. These records show that when a show that’s beloved by fans announces it is ending its run, viewers will tune in.
So going into its final episodes, it appears that the series finale of Lost is going to be a big one. ABC recently expanded the episode from two hours to two and a half hours. The show will be airing from 9:00 pm until 11:30, and that’s after ABC shows the two hour retrospective clip show featuring scenes from all six seasons from 7:00 until 9:00. And don’t forget the Jimmy Kimmel Live!: Aloha to Lost special that is airing at 12:05 am after the local news. By turning the final episode of this groundbreaking series into this major event, ABC is likely to generate huge ratings.