Celebrity Then And Now
Publication: Albany Daily News. Posted by Lexi Schwartz
Celebrity Then And Now
Posted by Lexi Schwartz
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There are certain shows that capture your attention and become must-see television before they even air the first episode. In 2004, “Lost” was definitely one of those shows as the advertising campaign became the stuff of television legend. It started the year before when the head of ABC (Lloyd Braun) got the idea for a show that would be a mix of “”Cast Away”, “Survivor” and “Gilligan’s Island” with a “Lord of the Flies” element.” Though most of the executives at ABC were not too keen on the idea, Senior Vice President Thom Sherman gave the project a green light.
The smartest thing that the ABC executives did was contact a man that could turn the series into a success despite such an odd idea, and they tabbed J.J. Abrams to develop the storyline. Abrams came aboard on the condition that he would get another writer to help him, and that they could add supernatural story ideas to the show.
On September 22, 2004, “Lost” debuted with one of the most talked about pilots of all-time as you immediately see a group of survivors after a plane crashed on an island in the Pacific Ocean. 18.65 million people tuned in, but that apparently was not good enough for the executives at ABC. That is definitely a high number of viewers, and it was the most that ABC had gotten since “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?” four years earlier.
Most pilot episodes for a new series on network television cost about $4 million, but the producers of “Lost” went way above budget. All in all, it’s estimated that the budget for the first episode of “Lost” was finalized as $14 million. Part of the reason that the budget for “Lost” was so high was because of the shooting locations in Hawaii and the elaborate sets. Most of the actors that they used were relatively unknown at the time, but a cast of that size adds up pretty quickly in the budget.
Members of the board at ABC were furious that Braun would ever develop a project that cost so much, and were generally upset about their lack of ratings in the years leading up to the show’s debut. Before the series could even make it to air, Disney (who owns ABC) actually fired Braun for these reasons, as well as handing over most of the creative control on the series. Perhaps the firing of Braun was a bit too early, as “Lost” debuted in the same season as other ABC shows “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Desperate Housewives”. The three shows would end up being mainstays for ABC, and they all got the green light from the man that was fired before their debuts.
Unlike most shows, “Lost” didn’t really have much of a thought out storyline after the first seasons. Thanks to the multiple flashbacks and flash forwards, the story of “Lost” got very convoluted (to the point where it turned some viewers off). Writers and producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse admitted that they asked “How do we do this?” when it came to writing future episodes.
The producers also did not let the actors know how the show was going to end once they developed that storyline. Some of the actors would be told that their characters were eventually going to die, but didn’t say when or if it would play a part in the final story. In “The End” (which was the name of the final episode), we all ended up with more questions than answers. Between smoke monsters, polar bears and attempting to destroy the island, it was all pretty confusing as to what really happened. About 15.3 million people watched the finale, which was a bit of a disappointment for ABC after so many had watched the premiere.